A common question on our website and facebook page is moms asking how to wean their baby, the answer is I just don’t know.
Getting breastfeeding right has not been an easy task for me. I sometimes wonder what is wrong with me when so many moms say how much they enjoy breastfeeding and the bonding with their babies. Don’t get me wrong, I enjoy the fact my son very obviously enjoys breastfeeding. When he was born his little toes would stretch out in pleasure every time I latched him. That is however the closest I can get to being honest about what I enjoy about breastfeeding. The sore, cracked, bleeding nipples and the pain the first few months was almost unbearable. The horrible feeling of boobs about to explode because I need to feed my baby …..while he is blissfully unaware, sleeping longer than usual and I am staring at him with a milk-drenched top wondering if I should wake him up to relieve the pressure.
I did get it right eventually. The boobs have stopped leaking and we are over the first few months. My plan was to exclusively breastfeed my son for 6 months until I could start him on solids and then switch to formula. I have had my fair share of grief when I tell people I only wanted to breastfeed till 6 months and then change to formula. I get asked why I won’t do the best thing for my son and breastfeed him until he decides to wean himself. What? At this rate he will stop on his own when he leaves for college! I am tiring of having to explain myself, the fact is that I am a recovering alcoholic and addict, I am bipolar and I suffer from insomnia. I am far from a normal, healthy, balanced person. I need pills, I need Seroquel and I need my sleep. I had to go off all my mood stabilisers when I fell pregnant and I chose to stay off them to breastfeed. I have already done the best I could for my son. I am now seriously starting to feel the punch though.
But even if I wasn’t some crazy lady that needs pills, is it not my choice to decide how I want to bring up my son and feed him? Without judgement? Lucky me that I have a valid, medical reason for wanting to stop. How do the moms feel that just want to stop for their own reasons? Guilty I’m sure!
So now that I have made the 6 months and more I find myself in a position where I just can’t seem to get this boy off my boobs! I have tried giving him formula and bottles, but he has just decided it will not happen. Hubby sometimes takes him out for the day….. and comes back with full bottles. My precious little boy is holding on just for me. He is now 9 months and very much a boob addict. When he wants to feed he makes it very clear by pummeling my chest with his chubby little fists while shouting “Mamamamamamaa” (which I think really means “boobies” to him). If I don’t take action right away he grabs my clothes and pulls and tries to stick his head down my top. If I don’t feed him he will just latch on to my nearest body part and start sucking or biting while moaning in a very sad way.
I now pay more attention to the fans that regularly post on our Facebook page asking how on earth do they stop breastfeeding? My answer is that I don’t know. The truth is I haven’t tried that hard because each time I have tried to stop and give him the bottle there is an accusing look in his eye and his bottle lip starts shivering in sadness. I did manage about a month ago to successfully feed him a formula bottle at bedtime. A very strange thing happened to me, I felt so sad that I started crying while I was feeding him. When I came out the bedroom (in tears) hubby asked me how it went and I replied (in between my sobs) that he drank the whole bottle! He looked at me like I was an alien. He asked me if that was not what I wanted, what I had been complaining about for months? Of course it was, but it was still sad for me. The next 2 nights be completely refused the bottle at bed time. I was irritated and at the same time pleased. Yes, strange alien lady again! Then he got very ill – bronchialitis, pneumonia and laryngitis. I decided to not stress him out further and carried on breastfeeding until he was well again.
Just as I was about ready to start weaning him yet again, he got the coxsackie virus and was very miserable and had ridiculously high temperatures for a few nights. Now I just don’t have the heart to try to stop again.
Oh what strange creatures us mothers are! I am now living in dread of becoming one of those moms that has a walking, talking child drinking from me. I will just stay in the moment, stop projecting into the future and see what happens.
In the meantime if any mommy has a miracle weaning tip (one where the child happily and without a fuss just starts drinking from the bottle and never looks at or wants boob again) please share it with us!
I have since weaned my son and here is how I did it. Good Luck Mommies!