Weaning: Every Mother's Journey | Breastfeeding USA
I sought out ways to commemorate the end of our breastfeeding relationship. I learned about breastmilk keepsakes and realised that I had no stored milk to. Mourning The End Of The Breastfeeding Relationship. July 18, I metaphorically stand up here today, shaking in my boots, to share my journey of. The problem is, I just can't seem to stop mourning the breastfeeding relationship that I won't have with my son. This week being breastfeeding week, it's shining.
I had researched and learned the benefits of breastfeeding, of healthy attachment, of child-led weaning, of respecting a child as a whole person. We decided then that we would nurse until he was done.
Breastfeeding full-term is natural.
Anyone who thinks otherwise should really just go open a book or shut their mouths. We continued nursing all the way past 2, 3, 4. As we approached 5, nursing aversion kicked up a bit. Slowly that turned into just at night since he would wake up before I did.
Then over the next couple of months it became sporadic at night. I was ok with it. Life was demanding and it was one less demand on me. I found other ways to connect with him and cuddle him. We had a lot of projects to complete, bags to pack for a camping trip, etc, and he was overwhelmed in the chaos.
I was alone with him, rocking him, just as I did at 1,2,3,4, and he asked if he could nurse. I hesitated for a moment, we had gone so long, but I could see the little baby in his eyes. This little five year old was much closer to an infant than a teenager and he sought his original comfort of the last 5 years. I nursed him for a few seconds and could tell that he was having trouble getting any milk.
Thank you for your nursies. Children who self-wean rarely stop abruptly. If your child suddenly refuses to nurse, chances are it is a nursing strike, rather than weaning. Older babies and toddlers become fascinated with the world around them and will sometimes be too distracted to nurse. Going back to work or school: Even if you aren't able to express milk while away from your child, this does not have to mean the end of breastfeeding!
You can still breastfeed during the times you are with the child. When mom is away during the day, some babies do what is called reverse cycle breastfeeding: Continuing to breastfeed during those times may help both you and baby reconnect after you have been separated. One important reason that a mother might begin the weaning process is that her feelings about breastfeeding have changed. My nipples had become very sensitive, which made sex difficult to enjoy; I wanted to lose weight but was fearful that dieting or exercising too much would affect my milk; I was tired of only being touched when someone wanted something from me; I was tired of being woken up in the night and early in the morning; I was tired of having to sleep with a bra on.
I think I was ready to wean before my son was, but it was a two-person effort. We didn't successfully wean until he was ready. Many women will try to stuff them away, afraid of being labeled selfish or a bad mother.
However, keeping those feelings in the dark only allows them to grow stronger. I started to feel some resentment towards her, especially when she would prolong the experience by looking around like she was done, then fussing if I put my breast away, and I hated when she would reach her little hand over to my other nipple and remind me that she needed her nails cut.
Weaning: Every Mother's Journey
My resentment eventually turned to fear: It can help if a mother can identify what she is feeling and then accept those feelings without judgment. Disliking or resenting breastfeeding does not make a woman a bad mother. Next, it might be helpful to talk about these emotions with a breastfeeding counselor or a trusted health-care professional. The decision to wean isn't one that should be made lightly, and talking about it with someone knowledgeable about breastfeeding can help a mother make an informed decision.
When a woman decides to stop breastfeeding, she needs to know about the physical aspects to watch out for: But many mothers are surprised at the intense emotions that can accompany this change. A woman may feel nostalgic, sad, or depressed when breastfeeding ends, even if she is the one who made the choice to stop.
Hormonal changes play a part in this. Breastfeeding increases the levels of both prolactin and oxytocin, hormones that create feelings of well-being, calmness, and relaxation in most women. As weaning occurs, these hormone levels will drop, often producing emotional effects. Gradual weaning will help prevent a sudden drop in levels.
Oxytocin levels increase during cuddling, hugging, and kissing - all activities that should be encouraged during the weaning process.
Breastfeeding is one thing that only the mother can offer, and weaning is an end to that part of mothering. The first full two days that he didn't nurse, I cried all day!
Mourning The End Of The Breastfeeding Relationship - The Parent Collaboratory
When a mother decides to stop breastfeeding, she knows she is taking something important from her child. There are two people in a breastfeeding relationship, but it is extremely difficult for most mothers to put their needs ahead of the needs of their baby.
The importance of breastfeeding cannot be overstated, but if it is beginning to contribute to negative emotions in the mother-child relationship, then a mother must be empowered to explore these emotions without fear of judgment. There are ways you can make this a smoother transition for both you and your child. Drop one feed at a time, with plenty of time in between. Sara estimates that her weaning process took about 4 months.
Weaning gradually will protect mother from physical problems, as well as give the child ample time to adjust to the change. Find new ways to comfort your child. Your child needs emotional support from you; nursing was one way to provide that. Cuddling, hugs, and singing are all good ways to offer comfort without the breast.