Welcome to the Carnival of Weaning: Weaning – Your Stories
This post was written for inclusion in the Carnival of Weaning hosted by Code Name: Mama and Aha! Parenting. Our participants have shared stories, tips, and struggles about the end of the breastfeeding relationship.
Before I had my first child, the word weaning was not one I was familiar with. Actually, my confusion about its meaning, if I had considered it enough to be confused, was natural – on my native side of the Atlantic, they use “weaning” to mean the process of starting solids. In the US, it means the process of stopping breastfeeding.
Of course, my pre-child self would say, because those two things are the same. The baby starts eating food, so it stops breastfeeding. A simple, gradual process that will come about of its own accord.
This totally fails to take into account all the other things that breastfeeding provides for a baby, a toddler, a pre-schooler, even, that they may be unwilling to give up even when they’re happily chowing down on three-course dinners. Comfort, familiarity, a sure route to sleep, relief from bumps and scrapes and imminent tantrums.
I had my baby, and I hoped to breastfeed him for at least, I said, the first three months; hopefully six. My midwife said something about a year, but I thought she was getting way ahead of herself. I couldn’t imagine lending my breasts to someone else for a whole year. I need them back, I thought. At some point in the foreseeable future.
Well, after a painful start we were off and running, and by the time we got to three months everything was just starting to go really well. Why would I stop and mess around with formula now? Clearly, the six month marker was ahead.
At six months, he was starting solids, sure, but that didn’t make any difference to our nursing. Solids were for playing with, for finding out about textures and gravity and motor skills. Anything that made it into his stomach was merely collateral damage. On we went.
Coming up to twelve months I began to wonder how the stopping would work. I couldn’t really imagine not nursing him, because he still wasn’t very much of an eater – I met a friend who told me her nine-month-old ate three meals a day now; I looked at him in wonder to hear of such a thing – and he still woke and needed to nurse back to sleep several times a night. After some thought, I gave up on the 12-month notion.
At 21 months I decided that something had to be done, as I wanted to get pregnant again. I cut back the on-demand feeding and got us down to three times a day, then just morning and evening. He started sleeping through the night so I no longer had to nurse him back to sleep at 3am. But this kid is a breast man – he didn’t take any of these changes lightly, and as my pregnancy progressed – yes, it worked! – I’d give in to his pestering for some “side,” just so I could have a little more lazing-on-the-sofa time.
When his sister was born, we were in tandem nursing territory – another thing I’d always said I’d never do – for a while. Every time the baby latched on, her brother wanted to get in on the action, and afraid of making him resent her, I’d give in, though the sensation of two at once gave me the heebie-jeebies, to be honest. After a few weeks, I suppose, I started cutting back again for the big kid – he was two-and-a-half by now, after all. On the other hand, I was nursing one, so what was the issue with nursing the other now and then to keep him quiet too? We went back to mornings and evenings.
And there we stayed, for quite a while. When he turned four we cut out the evenings. When he turned four-and-a-half, we cut out the mornings. That was it; he was weaned. Only four years from start to finish. A simple, gradual process. Just as I had imagined. Just a tiny bit longer.
It took about a year for him to stop trying to cop a feel every time I fed his sister. I think that’s about standard.
|And now he’s six. Here he’s reaching for the camera, not my boob.|
Thank you for visiting the Carnival of Weaning hosted by Dionna at Code Name: Mama and Dr. Laura at Aha! Parenting.
Please take time to read the submissions by the other carnival participants (and many thanks to Joni Rae of Tales of a Kitchen Witch for designing our lovely button):
- On Breastfeeding, Weaning, and One Mother’s Identity — Jessica at Natural Parents Network has been nursing one or more of her children since 1993 – breastfeeding is wrapped up in her concept of mothering and herself. She shares her thoughts on weaning.
- two tales of weaning — Aspen at Aspen Mama writes about their countdown to wean.
- Wean Me Gently — Tam at Please Send Parenting Books shares a beautiful weaning ceremony.
- You say potato, I say bleeeuuuuch… — Anelie at Mindcradle had read the books and knew just how to introduce her baby son to solids—unfortunately, he had other ideas.
- A Post Called Weaning — (Not) Maud at Awfully Chipper writes about how weaning her son took longer than she expected.
- On Weaning, Pregnancy and Emotion — Shannon at The Artful Mama talks about her mixed emotions as she allows her son, Little Man, to guide her through his weaning process.
- half of her life — Staci at Springpatch Jam looks back on her nursing relationship with her first born.
- Is it just this After Forty Mom or is it harder to wean when its your last? — Amanda of After Forty Mom shares her emotional journey towards the impending self-weaning of her toddler daughter.
- Nursing Limits — Jorje of Momma Jorje shares how she has weaned her toddler down to minimal nursing and her guilt about the decision to do so.
- Weaning Video Series #1: Preparation for the Weaning Process — Why is weaning such a taboo topic? Dionna at Code Name: Mama got mamas from across the blogosphere to start talking about weaning – on video. Come check out the first video in a series of five that she’ll be posting this week.
- Weaning due to anxiety — Shannon at Pineapples & Artichokes talks about how she had to wean to preserve her mental health.
- When Will I Wean? A Guest Post — Jennifer at Hybrid Rasta Mama hosts a guest post from a mama who contemplates when her breastfeeding relationship will end.
- On His Own Terms — Momeeezen shares her heartbreak from when her son weaned much earlier than she anticipated.
- Our Weaning Story – Sudden, Surprised, and Embracing a New Season — Weaning doesn’t always go how we imagine. That Mama Gretchen shares the story of her daughter’s sudden weaning and how she has embraced this new season of motherhood.
- A Tale of Two Weanings — Valerie at Momma in Progress shares the similarities and differences of how her nursing relationships with her now six-year-old and four-year-old daughters came to a close.
- She Doesn’t Remember — Alicia at Lactation Narration finds that her 6 year old no longer remembers nursing, only one year after weaning.
- It’s The End of the World As We Know It — A story about the end of a tandem nursing relationship on Never Mind The Rain: A toddler moves on to a new phase in her life before mom is fully ready.
- A Natural End To Our Breastfeeding Relationship — With two self-weaning children, Jennifer at Our Muddy Boots does not know when the end will come, but that it will be natural and without regrets.
- Child-Led weaning: It’s Not Extreme; It’s Biological — Mandy at Living Peacefully with Children explains why child-led weaning is based on biology rather than social constraints.
- 6 Years of Natural Weaning in 5 Steps — Jess at miniMum shares how and why she let her first child stop when he was good and ready.
- Is This Weaning?: A Tandem Nursing Update — Sheila at A Living Family bares all her tandem nursing hopes and fears during what feels like the beginning of the end for her toddler nursing relationship.
- Memories of Weaning: Unique and Gentle — Cynthia at The Hippie Housewife shares her weaning experiences with her two sons, each one unique in how it happened and yet equally gentle in its approach.
- Weaning Aversion’ — Gentle Mama Moon shares her experience of nursing and unplanned weaning due to pregnancy-induced ‘feeding aversion’.
- Three Months Post-Mup: An Evolution of Thoughts On Weaning — cd at FidgetFace describes a brief look at her planned (but accelerated) weaning, as well as one mamma’s evolution on weaning (and extended nursing)
- Weaning my Tandem Nursed Toddler — After tandem nursing for a year, Melissa at Permission to Live felt like weaning her older child would be impossible, but now she shares how gentle weaning worked for her 2 1/2 year old.
- Every Journey Begins with One Step — As Hannabert begins the weaning process, Hannah at Hannah and Horn‘s super power is diminishing.
- Reflections on Weaning – Love Changes Form — Amy from Presence Parenting (guest posting at Dulce de Leche) shares her experience and approach of embracing weaning as a continual process in parenting, not just breastfeeding.
- Weaning Gently: Three Special Ideas for Success — MudpieMama shares three ideas that help make weaning a gentle and special journey.
- Guest Post: Carnival of Weaning — Emily shares her first weaning experience and her hopes for her second nursling in a guest post on Farmer’s Daughter.
- 12 Tips for Gentle Weaning — Dr. Laura at Aha! Parenting describes the process of gentle weaning and gives specific tips to make weaning an organic, joyful ripening.
- Quiz: Should You Wean for Fertility Treatments? — Paige at Baby Dust Diaries talks about the key issues in the difficult decision to wean for infertility treatments.
- I thought about weaning… — Kym at Our Crazy Corner of the World shares her story of how she thought about weaning several times, yet it still happened on its own timeline.
- Celebrating Weaning — Amy at Anktangle reflects on her thoughts and feelings about weaning, and she shares a quick tutorial for one of the ways she celebrated this transition with her son: through a story book with photographs!
- Naturally Weaning Twins — Kristin at Intrepid Murmurings discusses the gradual path to weaning she has taken with her preschool-aged twins.
- Gentle Weaning Means Knowing When to Stop — Claire at The Adventures of Lactating Girl writes about knowing when your child is not ready to wean and taking their feelings into account in the process.
- Weaning, UnWeaning, and ReWeaning — Jennifer at True Confessions of a Real Mommy discovers non-mutal weaning doesn’t have to be the end. You can have a do-over.
- Prelude to weaning — Lauren at Hobo Mama talks about a tough tandem nursing period and what path she would like to encourage her older nursling to take.
- Demands of a Nursing Kind — Amy Willa at Me, Mothering, and Making it All Work shares her conflicted feelings about nursing limits and explores different ways to achieve comfort, peace, and bodily integrity as a nursing mother.
- Breastfeeding: If there’s one thing I know for sure… — Wendy at ABCs and Garden Peas explores the question: How do you know when it’s time to wean?
- Five, Four, Three, Two, One, Two, Three? — Zoie at TouchstoneZ discusses going from 3 nurslings down to 1 and what might happen when her twins arrive.