I Need This Baby Off My Boob By Spring

martyrI have no real stake in the bottle vs. breastfeeding game that the internet tries to stir up every 12.2 seconds. I unapologetically formula fed my first daughter, and then attempted, but ultimately stopped, breastfeeding my second child after a painful colic and reflux filled three months. Four years passed between that time and when I would find myself pregnant again. In that time, I moved out of the intense “Oh my God, everything I do is so important and so life altering and so full of pressure” baby years, and into the wild world of elementary school kids.  I learned that formula fed kids can still end up smarter than their parents, and that breastfed kids can still bring home various strains of every illness known to man after playing in the “Bounce and Play” gym.  Teachers group kids by every skill and interest available, but as far as I know “Boobs vs. Bottles” has never made the cut. And while I have noticed an undercurrent of “So what preschool did you send her to?” when discussing kindergarten progress with other moms, I have not noticed my “liquid gold” come up in casual conversation since my middle child was two.

So when my son was born, I did my best to give myself some slack. I wanted to try breastfeeding once more, but without a timeline or goal past “How’s it going today?” I knew the challenges to expect, and I knew that life would go on should I default to formula.  So it came as somewhat of a surprise that my son was a bit of a natural.  Like clockwork he would latch every three hours, and he jumped from seven pounds to 15 pounds in record time.  Six weeks turned to six months and now, a year.  While I enjoyed a lot of the experience, I assumed twelve months would be it.  In my research, Dr. Google and the subsequent articles on weaning at a year indicated that my goal here was to come to a “mutual decision” that our breastfeeding relationship was coming to a close.

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  • aCongaLine

    in the end, you gotta do right by you, as well. Rock on. I FF my first, and, while I was able to BF my second, I found that it was just too much for my toddler to handle- and gave it up after 3 months. Both kids are happy and healthy. There’s no single right way to do it- and as long as everyone is happy and healthy, it’s good :)

    • Givemebackmyboob

      So hard. My guy nursed until his second bday. At the end it was just before bed but in the run-up he would scream if no boob. We talked it up and I said ok are you ready and put him in crib and shut the door. He’s 5 and still fascinated by breasts but never having a break or someone else do bedtime for 2 years was super hard…

      When I was pregnant I eavesdropped (don’t judge me) on a woman talking about how her son wouldn’t wean. She said she put mustard on her nipples before he tried to feed and he never wanted breast again.

      The thought was tempting. It really was

    • Jessica

      All of my kids love mustard. damn. ;-)

    • aCongaLine

      oh man, mustard! :)

      At first I was heartbroken… but I made my peace with it. kids are healthy, I have my sanity, all is good :) It was really really difficult to balance the nursing baby and the needy toddler.. I caved, and it was for the best.

    • Janok Place

      Omg mustard… in my world it’s akin to toxic waste. Ah, the evil brilliance of motherly desperation. I’m totally taking note of this for future reference.

    • noelle 02

      If I only would have read this eighteen months ago… My boy was nearly three and I had determined that I was absolutely without a doubt NOT nursing a three year old. Anyone who says that moms who do extended breastfeeding are doing for their benefit and are forcing the kids to nurse are insane. I weaned my first at 23 months, my second at 28 months, and my third at 35 months. Not a one let go of “moo-moo’s” without a fight!

  • Bethany Ramos

    I have perfectionist guilt, which may be the worst kind of mom guilt. Anyway, I was set on feeding baby #2 to 8 mo, just because that’s what I did with my first son. I was bitching about pumping and how I was starting to hate it on Christmas, and my mom was like, just stop!!! It was a month before my goal. I did stop, and it was the best Christmas present to myself ever. :)

    • Jessica

      How did you stop? I think I need some hardcore advice here, because he is not having it. I feed him, give him snacks, etc. to try to make more space between the feedings, but he just launches himself at my boobs… which at 22 pounds, is not very comfortable…

    • Bethany Ramos

      I’m probably not the right person to ask because I was exclusively pumping the majority of the time with the second baby because it was easier. So he was never the wiser ha ha. But GL!! Get some sleep ;)

  • LadyClodia

    My oldest stopped nursing on his own at 14 months, which was good for me because I was sort of over it at that point, but we’d had a rough go of breastfeeding, so I felt guilty about weaning him. I weaned my youngest at about 13 1/2 months. By that point, though, he was only nursing before bed, so it was pretty easy to wean him. He had never had a bottle. I love him absolutely, but he was a breastfeeding jerk. It was never a bonding experience for him even as an infant, and towards the end he was getting downright nasty when he nursed; constantly pinching and scratching me. I was definitely relieved when I weaned him, and he didn’t seem to care, but I wonder how long he would have gone on if I had let him self wean.

    • Bethany Ramos

      Omg I still get so much pinching, even with a bottle! Jerk!

    • Jessica

      My son pinches my stomach and giggles, which is just rude!

    • pineapplegrasss

      try having a nipple tweaker, no joke. I’m lol at myself for even admitting that

    • LadyClodia

      The scratching was the worst for me. I tried to keep his nails trimmed, but he knew, and he wouldn’t bother to try to scratch me right after I had cut his nails. He’d wait a couple of days until he could draw blood. I had scratches all over my upper chest and boobs. It looked terrible.

    • http://wtfihaveakid.blogspot.ca/ jendra_berri

      My bottle-fed son slaps me, grabs my hair, and pinches while eating. I cannot get him to stop. I am not enchanted by this behaviour.

  • http://twitter.com/mariaguido Maria Guido

    I so feel you here. I’m also trying to wean and not really sure how I am going to totally accomplish this – she really loves the boob.

  • Kay_Sue

    At the end, it’s about what’s right for you and for him. I breastfed my first for just a few months. We hit a growth spurt, and I wound up in tears on the phone with my mother because he was going more than an hour between sessions. She said, ‘You were formula fed, and you’re alright. Why don’t I grab some on the way home, and we’ll see if we can keep you sane a little longer?” I agreed, and I don’t regret it–he’s smart, and has still never had an ear infection. ;)

    My second I nursed for a lot longer, but eventually stopped because my work place was difficult to pump in, and I didn’t have a choice not to work. I actually hated stopping, because it was a real bonding experience to come home after working all day, and have him snuggle right up to nurse. He also latched much easier (aside from having an extended frenulum at birth that made the first weekend hell), which made the whole thing a much more pleasant experience than the fighting to latch and painful nipples that I associated with the first time around.

    We matter too in these decisions! Sometimes, it’s just not right for us anymore. And that should be okay! :)

  • singmolly

    Ok, I had the same problem. My daughter REFUSED to take a bottle. Wanted only me. In fact, if I was around, she wouldn’t even let her dad hold her till she was 8 months old – but that’s another story. She would hold out for the boob. When she was almost 5 months old I went away for about 8 hours and left her with my mom, figuring she’s gotta eat sometime right? Nope. Screamed. My mom told me she knew she was hungry and didn’t know what else to do, so she fed her a banana and avocado. Kid ate a ton apparently, and then! She took breastmilk from a real cup! (an expresso cup to be exact, but whatever).
    So, she never took a bottle and sippy cups actually came much later, but we could always get her to drink from a real cup. When I weaned her at 12 months, I went nearly cold turkey. I left her with my mom for two days straight and took my eldest on day excursions. We nursed before bed for a couple weeks and then I stopped that. Total relief. And it was weird, I thought it would be insanely difficult and it turned out to be pretty easy.
    So, in short, try a cup.

    • Jessica

      Maybe a real cup is key here, because sippy cups have also been a problem. Thanks!

    • Drstephaniedvm

      Avent makes a no spill real cup that I really like. I think it’s called a magic cup?

  • Janok Place

    Weird question… will he drink from a cup? As in, with assistance. By that age DD was stubborn as all hell, but quite capable of reason and had a good appetite. If she was thirsty, she’d drink. Might be a long shot but if you could convince him to sip out of a cup (with assistance) you may be able to start having someone else tackle a feeding here and there. Once she was solid with the solids (HA!) I felt way less guilt over her “hunger strikes” because eventually, she’d eat. She thought the “big girl” cup thing was hilarious. Still does, at 18 months old… Pas de boob. She also transitioned well to those sippies with no nipple. Waking up at night SUCKS and you are my super hero. My kid is a freak and started sleeping right through around a month old, I think it was a sense of self preservation. I cannot do what you do, you are awesome super-mom.

    • Jessica

      Thank you! :-) He has a sippy cut that he sips out of, and then opens his mouth and lets all of the liquid pour out… I think he’s on to me and what the cup represents! I might try a regular cup with assistance. We did try a straw, and that got messy real quick! He is pretty “solid with solids”. I wonder if I could make my husband walk in at 3 am with some avocado….

    • Janok Place

      I’d do it. You gotta look after momma too! Of course if he’s eating other things, and he understands how to get liquid into his mouth he would certainly survive without breast milk. It might be ugly, he might get hungry, but he would learn some independence and you’d be given a much needed break! They’re smart man… they’re always onto us… My kid loved the spit and dribble game too! I started taking it away 30 minutes every time I saw her go for the dribble. Jeez I sound like a mean mommy….

  • CW

    The biggest health benefits to BF come in the first few months, and while it’s perfectly fine to continue to BF a toddler or preschooler if the mom wants to, it actually doesn’t make much of a difference in terms of outcomes. At least that was the case when my kids (now 8 and 5) were toddlers. One went on a nursing strike at 11 mos. and I decided to wean him then. The other I weaned when we moved to a new house 2 weeks before her 1st birthday. I’m willing to do it for a year, but after that I want my body back.

  • rrlo

    I breastfed my kid for 2 years and was terrified that it would be a disaster when we stopped. Yours is still bit more of a baby – so might be harder (or easier). Surprisingly, it was a breeze. There was very little crying and it was mutually satisfying.

    Below was the plan of attack that I employed with my kid – I don’t know if it worked or I was just lucky. Feel free to use it – if you want a smoother transition:

    Step 1: Pick a date in the future for when you want to stop. Give yourself + or – a week just to be reasonable.

    Step 2: Get him on a nursing schedule so you know that you’re making progress when you start to drop the feeding (like four times a day – morning, afternoon, evening, bed-time).

    Step 3: Pick one or a few locations where you will nurse him and nurse him no where else (so – sofa, chair and bed).

    Step 4: Drop one feeding at a time. Start with the easiest one – like the afternoon. Take him for a walk. Distract him with a video whatever it takes for the moment to pass. And keep him away from your designated nursing locations.

    Step 5: This is to be done in parallel. Pick a word to say goodbye. I used “bye bye” – and to this day when my son finishes a drink he says “bye bye water” or “bye bye juice”. And use that word to end your nursing session.

    Step 6: Start dropping the feedings and simultaneously shortening them with the help of the goodbye word. The idea is you have to take back control of when he nurses – not the other way around.

    Step 7: Starting on the day you picked in step 1 – see how he reacts to not being fed at all. If it goes really well – keep going. If not, slide back a bit and continue moving forward. By now he should be pretty close to being weaned.

    OR you can go more cold turkey. Whatever works :).

    • Jessica

      I like this!! Thanks!!

    • pineapplegrasss

      this is really good weaning advice

  • Alexandra

    “And then my husband is snoring, my dog is licking himself super loudly (it’s insane), I need a drink of water and suddenly I have been up for an hour. The next day, I can’t remember dates, names, or what street the library is on. I am sure I owe them some fines.”

    Just spit out my tea. LMFAO!!!!

  • http://wtfihaveakid.blogspot.ca/ jendra_berri

    Oh man, I wish I had some words of wisdom for you, but I don’t :(
    I wish you good luck!

  • Yo yo ma

    You may think I’m mean or that I possible abuse my kids, but that biting, pinching and scratching nonsense didn’t fly with me. After I knew that he knew what he was doing, he got a little hand smack (more attention-getting than painful…calm down) and it was taken away. He learned…quickly.

  • Rochelle

    A question; If you aren’t around is he fine without being nursed? I understand that he doesn’t take a bottle, but at his age he doesn’t need breast milk or formula anyways. I know many people don’t like juice, but my daughter isn’t a big drinker, so when it’s very hot or if she is sick, I offer her diluted juice as incentive.

    That might get him more used to accepting liquids that don’t come out of your boob. Then, you could leave for increasingly longer periods of time, until hopefully, he’s good without you for a night or two. Anyways, good luck with that, It sounds lie you have a very determined little nurser on your hands!

  • Joanie

    About your race trip: Back in colonial times women would often take “weaning trips” when it was time for the baby to go off the boob. I know that stopping that weekend isn’t ideal, but can you manage another weekend before then to try and make the break? Go see a friend or stay with a relative if you can’t afford a weekend in a hotel just for this. It may be the kickstart you need. Either way, good luck! :)

  • Kresaera

    I have no advice about breastfeeding, both my kids were formula kids BUT! I do want to say that my dog licking herself is like nails on a chalkboard to me and she does it ALL THE TIME! UGH it drives me absolutely insane!

    • Jessica

      Thank you!!! I know it sounds nuts to some people but it drives me crazy!

    • ChillMama

      Mine scratches his ears…and snores. Most people think a dog snoring is cute. They have not tried to sleep around my dog :)

    • ElleJai

      I tell my dog to knock it off. It’s not so bad during the day, but we do not groom ourselves when I’m tryingto sleep!!

  • ElleJai

    With my son, he latched perfectly but my milk never came in, despite every intervention known to womankind. I cried for days before my mum hauled my old maternal and child health nurse out of retirement to come and tell me to stop being ridiculous and that formula wasn’t going to kill him.

    After finding milk that he could actually drink (although we discovered after weeks of screaming he’s lactose intolerant so a formula switch helped) he refused any attempts for me to breast feed. I finally gave up trying to bf at all around 3 months.

    One year is a pretty solid effort, and if you need to wean, best of luck for you both as you transition to a new stage together :)

  • darras

    I’m terrified of weaning :( And my son is only six months old. I have a bit of an oversupply problem, so I have this irrational fear that he’ll just randomly stop one day and my boobs will explode O.o

  • Carolina

    I think the baby-led weaning thing is a wicked farce. I gradually cut back my daughter’s feedings after she turned one. She took a bottle very easily as an infant (not from me though) and graduated to a sippy cup with ease. However, she loved her night/morning nursing sessions and did not give up until I forced her to at age 3. THREE. It was not pleasant, but she was in school and speaking in paragraphs. It was time for me to have my body back.

  • pineapplegrasss

    I had a hard weaner. He’s 2.5now. He would take a bottle tho, and unfortunately I weaned him from breast to bottle at 1.5 which was very dumb bc I had to take the bottle cold turkey at a little over 2. Sadly, I miss nursing him. I hold that little guy in my arms and still instinctively, almost like a reflex, want to nurse him, even though I know I don’t really want to.