I have been lactating for 5 years. 2 kids and 5 freaking years (5 years and 8 months to be exact)! I just have to give myself a pat on the back for that. My first child Joachim, weaned when he was just a little past 3 years old. I had a newborn then and while I dreamed of tandem nursing, the nursing aversion which I had whilst pregnant with number two, didn’t go away. I was jealous of the mothers who were tandem nursing. In the breastfeeding community that I was in, tandem nursing or even “triandem” nursing 3 kids!) nursing was just GOALS!
I was able to tandem nurse for just about 3 months. It didn’t work out with us because the aversion was just making it hard for me. So I had to wean my first child, Joachim. It wasn’t the first attempt though because when I was pregnant with baby number two, Lucas, I experienced Nursing Aversion that became unbearable during the third trimester. During that time, I had to push Joachim who was 2 years old then, away from nursing from me. Aversion plus guilt plus toddler meltdowns plus pregnancy hormones are one combo that mom and child should never have to experience. But sadly, sometimes, this is what happens to mom and child in their breastfeeding journey, especially when the mother is pregnant.
With Lucas, we made it to three years. When he was a baby, I brought him with me to work every day until he was 1 year and 6 months. When I finally left him at home, I started to pump at work and leave my expressed milk for him to consume during the day. However, after just two days, he stopped drinking the expressed milk and would just wait for me to come home to nurse. I wasn’t worried at all because he was eating food well. So I stopped expressing at work. When he was 2 years and 6 months, I have noticed that my breasts were getting flatter by the day. And I don’t hear my son swallowing anymore. So I figured that my supply was almost gone and he was just comfort nursing.
When he turned 3, I knew that it was time for him to wean from nursing. After two to three times of declining his demands and by firmly but calmly refusing, he finally accepted the fact that mommy is done. He wasn’t happy about it so I made sure to make it up to him by giving him extra cuddles, hugs, kisses and carried him every time he asks.
So, Lucas was finally weaned! And here are a few things I’ve reclaimed since my little sport weaned from nursing.
1. Freedom to travel
If I have to stay overnight out of town, I was always worried. The first time I went out of town away from Lucas, my husband called me in the middle of the night because Lucas was crying and inconsolable. It broke my heart to hear my son crying for “Mommy” for almost an hour on the phone.
Lucas would nurse repeatedly throughout the night. When he finally weaned and slept through the night, I was so happy! For the first time in almost 6 years, I received the gift of sleep again. So grateful for it, I could cry.
3. My Sex Drive
I’d never thought I’ll get it back! If you ask me five months ago what I would prefer, sex or sleep? I would say “sleep” in a beat. I had zero desire in making love with my husband and we had occasional rifts because of that. But now? Let’s just say me and the hubby are on our second honeymoon. Wink wink.
4. Some Pounds
Breastfeeding is a calorie buster. Since I’m not making milk anymore, the calories have decided to camp in my tummy. Yes, they have grown bigger.
5. Flatter Chest
And while my tummy went bigger, sadly, my breasts returned to their normal state of puniness. When I got pregnant, I was delighted when my breasts grew bigger. And you can just imagine how I felt when my breasts are engorged. It was a bittersweet moment. Bitter because of the discomfort. Sweet because they looked lovely! Lol!
6. More Freedom
I have been drinking more coffee, not worried about too much caffeine in my system. I have been able to travel, knowing that my son will not be waking up in the middle of the night crying out for me. I have been indulging in my sport, Ultimate, pushing my body to the limits, knowing that even if my body is tired, I won’t be worrying about my supply going down.
I’ve read a lot of breastfeeding mothers being sad when their nurslings weaned. Although our weaning was mom-led, my child was able to wean after three to five instances of meltdowns with me by his side, explaining calmly and firmly, that it is time to stop.
And I’ve never been happier. My son may not have wanted it to end yet, but it was time for mom.
Here’s what’s interesting, because we have stopped nursing, there has been more cuddles, more stories, more playing and more talking. When he was still nursing, when I come home from work, he would immediately pounce on me so he could nurse. We couldn’t do any other activity aside from his constant nursing. And to be honest, I felt tied and bored which later turned into annoyance.
Yep, he’s weaned alright. But, there is a BUT. He still holds my nipples from time to time, especially when he goes to sleep or when we cuddle in bed. And squeals and giggles when he sees my breasts. LOL! So much for weaning! My two nurslings both have the same reaction. Maybe they are reminded that when they were new earthlings, they clung to their mother and her breasts to survive their early years in this world. Nothing can take that memory away from them.
And in other news in the struggle to normalize breastfeeding: Finally! There is now a breastfeeding emoji on Facebook! This certainly made my day! Thank you, Mark Zuckerberg! Do check it out and use it, it is so cool!
How about you mommies? How was your experience when your child was weaned from nursing? Was it child led or mom led? Share your stories in the comments. I would love to hear them!
The Promdi Mommy