Weaning has been a very emotional thing for me. I really fell in love with nursing. It wasn’t a question to me IF I would nurse but I didn’t know for how long and I was really scared that it would gross me out. It was the exact opposite. It was the most natural thing in the world and brought so much joy to my life.
First Time Nursing
I struggled through supply issues, pumping in airport bathrooms, bleeding nipples (yes the pump caused my nipples to BLEED) but I made it to a year! I’m so proud that I did and I’m so happy that Lucy and I got to experience that bond for 12 and half months.
First Time Nursing in Public
The BEAST (the dreaded pump)
When it came time to wean I had too many questions to count. I called the lactation consultant numerous times and consulted many of my online Mommy friends and friends in real life. I read books, I researched, I searched online. Still, going through the process was confusing and hard and most of all scary.
I thought I’d tell you about my experience.
When Lucy was about 10 and half months old I started paying attention to how much she was nursing. At that point it was around 4-5 times a day. I decided not to just whip out the boob at any provocation and tried to only nurse 3-4 times a day.
The next thing I tackled was pumping. I reduced my pumping sessions from 3 times a day to 2 times a day. I was pumping at 10, 1, and 4 and I started to just pump at 10 and 4.
Then we went to Hawaii and I was REALLY glad that I had my superhuman milk making powers! That 6 hour plane ride would have been hell without nursing! While we were in Hawaii, Lu nursed 2-3 times a day but while on the plane ride home she nursed almost constantly.
Nursing While Hiking in Hawaii-Almost 12 Months:
We got home a few days before her 1st birthday and I REALLY wanted to be done pumping. I tried to only pump once a day for 10 minutes (vs. the 30 minute sessions I was doing before). My plan was to reduce it each day by 2 minutes. On the second day I was super full and in pain. I ended up pumping twice that day, just to relieve the pressure. I did make sure to STOP pumping before my milk stopped dripping. Milk is totally dependent on supply and demand and I needed to let my body know that there was no more demand during the day.
By the end of September (her birthday is on the 22nd of September) I was DONE pumping.
I was still nursing morning and evening but I noticed that she was barely nursing at night. I decided to cut out the night nursing but continue nursing first thing in the morning. I did start to nurse for shorter amounts of time but wanted to keep going. Our morning nursing was my favorite part of the day and I didn’t want to stop that just yet. I would bring her into bed with me and would nurse while I got a few more minutes of sleep and we would cuddle.
I was nursing at night on my right side and in the morning on the left side. I decided to try and let my right side dry out and continue to nurse on the left in the mornings.
After I cut out the night nursing, my right boob was fine. I thought that I was “drying up” already and this confirmed it for me.
Well, until 2 days later. Oh.My.God. I have never been in so much pain in my life. My right boob was engorged, hard as a rock, and painful to the touch. I decided right then and there that it was time to to completely wean because I didn’t want to prolong the process.
I had the added benefit that my in-laws were visiting and we we sleeping out on the couch (they got our bed) and so our routine was messed up anyway. They tell you NOT to go where you normally go to nurse when you’re trying to wean. Since, we wouldn’t be in our bed for almost a week, it seemed like the best time.
Instead of nursing Lucy that next morning I gave her her normal morning snack of string cheese as soon as she woke up (rather than after she nursed) and I gave her a sippy of water. She seemed fine with it.
To deal with the pain I was in I took hot showers. I massaged my breast in the shower. I wore cold cabbage in my bra (ahhh that felt so good-wear it until it wilts and then replace). I took anti-histamines at night (notorious for drying nursing mothers up). I drank mint tea (also helps dry you up). My left side did get a little engorged but it never got painful. Almost a week later and my right breast was still in pain. Like, MAJOR pain. My whole right side hurt. It was horrible. I felt my breast and discovered that it was completely soft except for one spot that was rock hard.
I had a plugged duct. I had gone 382 days of nursing with no plugged ducts and then this. The best way to get rid of a plugged duct is to have your ‘lil one nurse. I was hesitant to do that since Lu was doing so well not nursing.
That night I got into a really hot shower (heat helps with letdown) and started massaging. Then I pressed on the lump and milk SHOT out of my nipple for a good 5 minutes!!! No hand expressing, just pressing on the lump-CRAZY. I swear to you-that was the best shower of my life.
After that I’ve had no pain. I haven’t needed cabbage or anything and my boobs seem to be back to “normal”.
Emotionally-weaning has been hard but not as hard as I thought. Lucy has become a little cuddle bug. I get more cuddles now then I did when I was nursing-it’s fabulous! She has asked to nurse 3 times in the last week and a half and I was able to distract her and just give her cuddles instead.
I also have about 100 times the energy now as compared to when I was nursing. I didn’t realize how much it was draining me. I feel like the “old” me again.
If I had it to do over again would I stop nursing sooner to get the old me back? Never in a million years.
Last Day We Nursed