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Friday, January 7, 2011

Challenges of Weaning

One of my goals this year is to completely wean Naima off the breast. I had originally planned to breastfeed until Naima was 2 years old. However, after her second birthday, all attempts at weaning were met with tears (on her part) and frustration (on mine). Keeping in mind that weaning might be going to fast for her, I decided to put off actively weaning her and just wait and see if she will be able to wean on her own.
Before I knew it, she was nearing three years old. A couple of months before her third birthday, I talked to her about weaning and she said she will stop when she turns three. We even had a countdown to her third birthday. But still no luck. The night after her third birthday, weaning was still unsuccessful and Naima said she wanted to wait until after Christmas to stop drinking milk from Mommy. Come Christmas time, she got sick so active weaning was not an option then.
Stan and I plan to have our next baby in mid-2012 -which means if things go as planned, I will be pregnant sometime in the second half of 2011. I do want to completely wean Naima before I get pregnant which is why I'm actively trying to get Naima to stop breastfeeding before then.
Between 2nd and 3rd birthday, Naima still nursed as soon as I arrived from the work. For the past 2-3 months, she has dropped this nursing session and only nurses before bedtime and during then night (when she wakes up). I've asked for suggestions how to convince Naima to drop her nighttime nursing sessions. Several suggested that I rub ampalaya or chili on my nipples while others suggested putting band-aids. Putting ampalaya is not an option since Naima has just recently learned how to eat ampalaya with eggs and I'm not about to turn her off this vegetable. I don't want to try chili either because it will also be mahapdi (sore?) for me. So, I decided to try toothpaste.
The first weaning attempt was on Wednesday night and it was a disaster! We just came from a family dinner in Greenbelt and Naima got to bed late - about 1030pm. I put toothpaste before I went to bed. I asked Stan to stay with us in bed for support. Naima had no inkling that something was up. She latched on and screamed! She knew it was toothpaste and kept asking me to wipe it off. I totally felt guilty and told her that when she turned 3, milk turned into toothpaste (argh!!). It was a cry-fest and in the end, Stan asked me to wipe off the toothpaste and Naima nursed through the night.
We tried again last night. We were in bed at about 9pm and I was ready with toothpaste again. This time, even before latching, Naima matter-of-factly asked me to wipe off the toothpaste. Again I told her that mommy's milk turned into toothpaste already but I think she knew that I was lying. This time, I did not wipe the toothpaste off so every time she tried latching, she would wrinkle her nose and say "icky". She kept asking me to change the toothpaste back to milk and I kept telling her that mommy will have milk again when we have a new baby. Then she said she wants a new baby NOW. There was still a bit of crying - but not as bad as the night before. She kept rolling all over the bed and trying to lie on top of me, until she finally fell asleep without nursing for the first time ever!
Was it a success? Hmm.. it took us about an hour to get her to sleep. She also still woke up to nurse at night but it was only once since the other times she woke up, she kept remembering the toothpaste and will say "no milk, toothpaste" then just go back to sleep. But the bad part about the process was that she wet her bed again after almost 8 months! Naima was potty trained a little past 2 and a half years old so weaning must have really affected her!
I've read through several blogs, articles and websites on weaning. Cry-it-out is not an option for me (nor is it for Stan!) so I'm not sure if mother-led weaning will work. (Want to know what is the difference between child-led/mother-led weaning? Read this.) I'm wondering if I should still actively pursue weaning or wait for Naima to be ready? During the day, Naima will say that she will stop drinking mommy's milk. But at nighttime, I'm talking to a different Naima. I didn't realize that weaning was going to be this difficult!!


Cheeeryl said...

I've also recently started weaning my 16-month old from the breast. I noticed too that it's difficult at nighttime. She would drink from her bottle before she sleeps but during the times she'd wake up in the middle of the night, she ONLY wants my breast to get her back to sleep.

Jenny said...

they do turn into different individuals at nighttime! no reasoning with them ;)

Marie said...

Hi Jenny, what an interesting article since I'm also breastfeeding my 26month old baby girl now and my hubby wants me to stop breastfeeding. Before she turned 2, I said to myself that I would wean her from my breast but I sort of delayed it coz we were about to go to Australia and I read many blogs that breastfeeding can save time and effort when traveling. Turns out, when we were in Australia for a month, she would cry out loud on her car seat because she was sleepy and she wanted my breast!
My family told me to stop breastfeeding her because she always depends on my breast and she eats less solid and she is tiny on her age. ( She weighs 11kilos now) But now that we are back in the Philippines, a part of me wants her to bottlefeed but at the same time, I dont want to stop her totally from my breasts coz you know how they remain calm during the night when they suck on our breasts, ey?

Right now, my baby is starting to eat more solids but when she wants to take a nap and sleep, she wants my breast. I dont know how to start weaning her. And btw, I'm a stay at home mom and wants to have a baby in 2012 - Year of the Dragon! So help me GOD!

anne said...

Thanks for the interesting post! I wonder if I will encounter the same difficulties when I start to wean?! My 25-month old daughter shows no sign of giving up on nursing yet, but I am ready to give up! My nipples become really sore during certain times of the month due to hormones :( and it really hurts which is why I want to wean na (although if my nipples don't hurt - and they do stop hurting when my period comes - i think about continuing again...heheheh)

By the way, can I comment on Marie's post? My daughter is also 11kilos... but am not so much bothered by her weight since she's quite active and not sickly... although I also do get some comments about stopping breastfeeding "because she's so dependent on you...etc.etc."

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