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It seems that all you have to do to get the weaning process really going is to blog about how you’re having trouble getting your toddler to wean. After my last, VERY LONG blog post about my breastfeeding journey, we started trying a bit harder to get breastfeeding out of our daughter’s routine. The biggest change was getting up with her when she got up (if it was a reasonable hour in the morning). In the past, if she woke up and didn’t want to go back to sleep, but it was still slightly too early to get up, I’d just bring her into our bed and I’d nurse her to sleep (and I’d probably doze off a little bit, too). But now, we started just getting up with her and heading downstairs to eat some “real” food. Give her some breakfast and her sippy cup of milk. The evenings were similar, in that we’d just make sure her cup was around, and that we were playing or keeping busy after dinner until bedtime.
We did have a few times where we slipped back into the old routine (a few weekend mornings when we were just NOT ready to get up, or an evening where she was incredibly upset). But after June 18th she hasn’t nursed at all! She did “ask” to nurse a few times the week after, when she was especially cranky and tired, but I distracted her away from it. So she was fully weaned before 17 months.
It’s bittersweet (I loved the cuddling she and I did while she nursed) but she’s still giving some great hugs, and she’s really growing up (as much as a 17 month old is “grown up”). Lots of personality, lots of babbling, a some recognizable words!
I also wanted to share some feedback/advice that I got from some friends after I posted my last blog post. Some helpful hints and some insights from my friends (especially about pumping):
- “Outsource” the cleaning of pump parts, i.e. have your spouse/partner take apart the pump parts and clean them for you. It means one less thing you have to deal with on top of everything else!
- Besides replacing the membranes on your pump (like I mentioned in my post), also keep an eye on your tubing as well, and trim it if it gets too worn.
- Have extras of as many things as possible: If you can, get a second pump that stays at work so you have one less thing you have to schlep back and forth. Also, have more than one set of pump parts, so you can pre-pack your pump parts for the next day while the current set dries (I was almost able to fully do that, for some reason, I had almost 2 full sets but was missing one of the flanges). This same friend also suggested having some Microwave Sterilizer Bags for a quick clean, especially at work. And that you should make sure you get the flanges that fit properly, even if it means buying more to find the right fit. Also, consider getting a hand pump as another pumping option.
- A bunch of my friends were able to wean after a few days away from their child (after a business trip). Taking yourself out of the baby’s life for a few days (if possible or necessary) is apparently enough to get them used to not needing to nurse, in some cases.
- I had friends who did pretty much every variety of feeding their babies: Exclusively breast feed, exclusively pump, exclusively formula feed, and a combination of any of these (supplement breast milk with formula, wean early and switch to formula). Some stopped nursing early on, some breastfed even longer than I did!
So glad to get all this feedback and advice from my friends! I encourage you all to comment on this or my previous post about your feeding experiences, and what advice or resources you’d like to share.
On to the next set of adventures with our little one!