Making the decision to stop breastfeeding isn't easy. HoneyKids writer Jana shares her story about weaning her second child...
For the past three years, my boobs belonged to my two sons. I breastfed my eldest son until he was 18 months old, then after being pregnant and delivering my youngest, it was his turn. Honestly, it was a journey that I both loved and loathed. Now that my breastfeeding journey has finally come to an end, it feels bittersweet to say goodbye to my tri-hourly ritual. Sure, I could have tried harder to continue breastfeeding but something inside told me that I was finally ready to get my body and my old self back. Would I miss my special bonding sessions with my son? Absolutely – which is why it took me so long to make my mind up about weaning him.
It doesn’t matter if you breastfed your little one for three years, two months or two days, making the decision to wean is never easy. If you’ve been on the fence about weaning, here’s what helped me make my final decision:
Pumping never worked too well for me
When I began my second breastfeeding journey, I made the decision to stop after one year. Breastfeeding the second time around was much more difficult for me because I had a toddler to look after and a full-time job to manage. Although I found lots of ways to make pumping at work easier – and mums, you all know this – nothing beats direct feeding to boost supply. Pumping took a toll on my supply and towards the ninth month of pumping, my supply took a serious hit.
wanted needed a good night’s sleep
Waking up every three hours and having to go to work the next day was not a walk in the park. My colleagues would listen to me whine each morning about how much coffee I needed because I didn’t have enough sleep. As much as I loved my non-fat lattes and having an excuse to walk to my favourite coffee shop, my lack of sleep was taking a toll on my moods. I was often angry and snippy even towards my children, which I didn’t think they deserved. They needed their happy, smiley mum who was ready to play ‘lion dance’ with them whenever they wanted.
Knowing that he was ready
I struggled with weaning my firstborn. There were lots of tears (from both parties) and guilty feelings. I even debated on whether or not I should tandem feed but my pregnancy was taking a toll on my body. I had to end it. To this day, he’ll still try and find ways to slip his hand into my shirt for comfort. My second actually helped me a lot with the weaning process. Maybe being away from him half the day helped – towards the end of turning 10 months, it seemed that he preferred the bottle and would only nurse at night time. Eventually when he started sleeping through the night, he stopped nursing at night altogether and would only drink breastmilk from the bottle.
After one year and almost two months of breastfeeding, I think I’m finally ready to call it quits. I’m ready to throw myself into getting my pre-baby body back and not have to worry about doing contact sports. I’m ready to make clothing choices that don’t involve easy nursing access (Uniqlo airism tanks and button down shirts, I’m talking to you!). I’m ready to drink a glass or two or three of Sauvignon Blanc and not have to worry about it. I’m ready to carry smaller bags to work and leave my uber-glamorous cooler bag at home. And… most of all… I’m SO ready to stop washing breast pump parts!
Sure, I’ll miss those tender moments when it’s just me and my son looking into each other’s eyes as I nurse him. I’ll miss his smiles when I check on him to see if he’s sleeping or not. I’ll miss knowing that my boob has the power to soothe his cries. But I’ll figure out new ways to bond with him and make him laugh. For now, I’ll just focus on how grateful I am to be able to have had this special time with both of my sons.