Hey friends! How is everyone doing? Hopefully some of you out there are getting to experience some fall weather. It’s still pretty hot here in Tennessee. It is officially October though so bring on all things fall! My daughter just turned 21-months old on September 30/October 1 (her birthday falls on a 31st, so months without 31 days become tricky) and this last month has come with some big changes as I’m sure you all can see from the title. So today I want to talk about where my daughter and I are in our breastfeeding journey, how I am handling these changes, and where we go from here.
First lets take a look back at her 20th month of life. This past month of September has come with changes that this mamma wasn’t prepared for. We started out the month with changes in our nursing “schedule” (for lack of a better word: she nurses on demand, but there are patterns for sure). Penelope had pretty much gone down to really only nursing at morning after waking up and at night before bed. She would some times nurse once in the middle of the day before nap if it was a day where I was off work, but that was hit or miss. So this was our new routine and honestly I was so happy with it.
I think at some point around my 31st week of pregnancy my milk began to change and go back to colostrum as it prepared for the new baby that I’m about to give birth to. I think this change in the milk and the taste of it had a major effect on mine and Penelope’s nursing. She began to not nurse for very long and then at some point in the middle of September she even started to say no when I would ask her if she wanted to nurse. This quickly also became a time where she hit a daddy phase. So not only did she not was to nurse and was actually telling me no, she was also asking for her dad and didn’t even want to cuddle with me. Someone cue the glass breaking sound because my heart was shattered.
How do you even begin to handle this? I have always been a very big believer in baby led things as much as possible. So I spent much of September being so conflicted. On one hand I was so proud and so happy to realize that if this is the end of our journey, then I wouldn’t want it any other way. This would be her choice and honestly the most gentle way to go about the weaning process. There wouldn’t be a moment of me telling her no or trying to redirect her attention. There wouldn’t be any weaning involved really. On the other hand, my heart is broken. I so desperately wanted to make it to 24 months with nursing and because I had that in my mind, I wasn’t ready when she decided to stop. I was really caught off guard. It was too sudden. Her stopping it and only wanting dad left me crying in my room many nights as I listened to her and Phillip build their bond in the next room. I thought “how in the world are we going to bond now?”
So where do I go from here? Honestly I have no idea. I am still currently offering but most of the time she says no and I honor that. Every now and then she will nurse, but it’s usually maybe twice a week and not for very long. I do still have a ton of breast milk stored up from my first year of pumping with her and she loves her cups of mamma milk. So that is what I give her now. I’m thankful she is still able to get breast milk until close to 24-months and know that she is going to be perfectly OK. I don’t know where to go from here other then to honor her wishes to the best of my ability. I think I am going to start offering her a cup of the breast milk at night before bed while we cuddle to fill in that space when we used to nurse.
At the end of the day I am so incredibly proud of my daughter and who she is. She has always self transitioned in every phase of her life thus far. We haven’t had to initiate any phase for her. She is truly the definition of baby led anything. This makes me so proud of her and of us for listening to her. Of course my mamma heart is broken at the realization that my baby isn’t a baby anymore and that this chapter with her is coming to an end. My body still longs for those bonding moments and I’m crying now just thinking about not having those. I will miss those bonding moments so much, but I know we will create them in a new way now. Does that longing ever go away though?
I know I may get asked my thoughts on what we might do if she wants to start nursing again after baby comes and my milk goes back to normal. The answer to that is if she wants to then I am on board to tandem nurse and would be so happy to do so. My opinion knowing my daughter though is that once she has made up her mind about weaning, she won’t go back. My mamma heart would love to tandem nurse, but I am OK with whatever she chooses.
When did your babies wean and what was that process like for you? How did you handle it? What did you do to fill the time with your child that you use to nurse in? What were some of your new ways of bonding with them after weaning happened? I would love to hear your experience. This is my first time going through this and I welcome all thoughts on the matter. Thank you all for being here!
Baby Dust To All,