I weaned twice. I have no problem nursing babies, but as they get older I get a really negative hormonal reaction to nursing, where it feels really negative, like nails on a chalkboard, and I get angry feelings. I committed myself both times to nursing two years, and once I made it to about two and a half before it bothered me to the point where I felt the need to wean, but both times I did wean.
Even though I was disliking nursing at that point, I was still careful to wean very gently. For me, what worked best was to figure out which were the favorite nursing times, and which were the least favorite, and then take out one of the least favorite times by distracting, until they got used to not nursing at that time anyway. Eventually we were down to the favorites, which were just upon waking up in the morning, going down to nap, and going to sleep at night. I'd do the same thing, gently trying to distract, but if they really wanted to nurse I'd nurse them. The last one they both held onto was when they went to sleep at night. With the one that nursed an extra six months, it was really just that one time she was nursing by then, but she just wasn't ready to stop, and I decided if it was that important to her to nurse down to sleep at night, I could grin and bear it for a while until it would be easier. It took her the six months before she was OK with giving it up completely. The other one gave up nursing more easily and didn't hold onto that last nursing session each day. The whole weaning thing from start to finish was just a few weeks with that one.
I was lucky that I didn't HAVE to wean by a certain date due to one reason or another. Has anyone had that experience?
What have other people done?
I'm also curious because it looks like I'll be visiting Haiti this summer to volunteer in a clinic, but going alone. I'm curious about ways to reduce my milk supply early in the summer without completely weaning ds until I leave.
Midwife (CPM, LDM) and homeschooling mama to:
13yo ds 10yo dd 8yo ds and 6yo ds and 1yo ds
I've also had a lot of success with gently weaning my second child. I was just thinking of posting some of the things that work well for us! For me a large part of wanting to wean, in addition to planning a trip away from my children in a couple of months, was that neither of my kids slept well (even for AP kids). When let go to the extreme both of my nurslings would easily nurse 25x/night.
I cut out a few night nursing sessions a few months ago, which was a good starting point - the idea that you don't have to nurse every time you wake up. To do that we just got up in the night and read, ate, walked around looked at pictures and etc. It was easy enough on the baby....hard on mama but it didn't take too long (maybe 5 hard nights). Still, that didn't give much relief but it was better than nothing, that's for sure.
After that I had the most wonderful revelation, which was to stop nursing to sleep. HOW? I decided that I would nurse downstairs in the evening and then we would kiss the breasts night-night along with kissing dad and sister. An absolutely amazing result! A couple weeks into that and I am even putting DC to sleep in her own bed, which is not for me at all (I love co-sleeping) but because I think DC sleeps better alone for part of the night.
Another revelation was that DC can not fall asleep on a "no" note. Everything must be phrased in the positive. When she's super tired a "no" is just too hard to deal with. Sometimes I just say, "Ok, I'll go get you two apples..." When I come back she's sound asleep. Last night I even said I would go get something and stayed right there in bed and she went to sleep. It's a funny little quirk.
This looks funny at bed time where DC sometimes struggles with falling asleep in her bed. I do not think she needs to nurse or snuggle to sleep but she's young and not able to understand just relaxing in bed. The result is she has to be in a very sweet spot to go to bed (just tired enough but not over tired). We do this thing where I go up with DC and sit in the chair by her bed. She is allowed to go down to daddy or sister however many times she wants but when she comes up to bed she has to lay down and listen to a story or just go to sleep. It's working very well to both ease her transition to falling alseep alone and also to involve the rest of the family in bed-time.
Last night I did not nurse at all, which was just a little rough but fine all around. DC has only nursed twice today so far....
Not that it goes that smoothly for everyone, really depends on your child for sure!
Katie - Married to Mike 06/02/01, Mom to Sydney Anne born 11/21/09 and Alice Maeryn & Oliver Thomas born 04/24/13
I ended up weaning my 26 month old by putting bandaids on my nipples and telling him that my breasts had "yayas" (his word for booboos or owies.) It worked like a charm! We were able to cut down to only a few nursing sessions a day. Night nursing ended up being a cold-turkey situation-- which was hard on both of us, but relatively quick.
We're still on this road but I'm constantly amazed at how wonderfully things are going with our second child. She has the temperament for parent-lead weaning, that's for sure. We've done a lot of what has been suggested but a few nights in the past two weeks I've been a little fed up with the bed time routine. I've put myself to bed before DC and she's gone to bed just fine with her dad - all the while he's sending me pictures. Gotta love modern technology, ha?