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Thread: Sad after weaning 21 month old

  1. #1
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    Aug 2010
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    Default Sad after weaning 21 month old

    My first son, born in July of 2010, was extremely hard to nurse in the beginning. I have never been so determined to make something work. It was pure hell the first 5 weeks of his life. Latch issues, supply issues, vasospasms, you name it. My original goal was to reach one year. After the first week, my goal was to make it two weeks. Here we are, he is 21 months old, and I just nursed him for the last time 4 days ago.

    First let me say, I am so proud of the accomplishment of nursing him for as long as I did. I loved nursing him. I am proud that he is growing up, becoming more independent, and heading to the next stage. I am also relieved to have my body back to myself for a while.

    I pushed nursing during the past couple months because I am pregnant, due with baby #2 in October. My supply took a huge dip, my nipples were sore, and I couldn't imagine tandem nursing. I have slowly been cutting out feedings. However, it did end rather abruptly. If you would have asked me a week ago if he would be completely weaned as of today, my answer would have been no. I night weaned him (finally) about a month ago, and had him down to 3 feedings a day. Wake up, nap time, and bedtime. I started thinking, I bet I can get him off completely. So I tried it. No nursing at bedtime. He did so well with it, I decided to go for nap time the next day too, a little struggle, but nothing major. When he begged me during the day I put vinegar on my nipples and told him the milk went bad. He asked to try anyway, and looked up at me in utter disgust. Before I knew it, we were done.

    Now, at day 4 post nursing, I am feeling overwhelmed with sadness. He had his first night terror, has been slightly more defiant, and yesterday, felt very distant from me. So many things are running through my head. Did I end it too suddenly for him? Did I lose his trust? Did I damage the bond I have been working so hard for the past 21 months? The other thoughts include, looking down at him nursing, knowing we will never have quite the same level of closeness. Also, how much he enjoyed nursing, and the guilt I feel for taking it from him. Ugh.

    Any support, similar stories that got better, or advice would be greatly appreciated!
    my baby boy Logan born 7/18/10

  2. #2
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    Default Re: Sad after weaning 21 month old

    Do you think maybe the sadness you feel come partially because you tricked him with vinegar? I hear you on the nursing through pregnancy, I've been there but I guess I wonder if you feel that left it on a bad note? Would you want him to resume nursing?
    Mommy to Maxwell 10-9-07 weaned with love (a party and a remote control monster truck) on his 4th birthday
    My Boy 3-16-10
    And my sweet pea Sam 2-12-11

    Watch Your Language

  3. #3
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    Default Re: Sad after weaning 21 month old

    I think yes, I feel bad about ending it that way. I read that online that someone tried the vinegar method and it worked smoothly for them. I guess it worked for us too. He seemed his happy self today. My husband thinks he is doing fine without it (he is very supportive of breastfeeding, and is constantly telling me what a great job I'm doing). I think if I weren't pregnant I wouldn't put a deadline on when I wanted him to stop, so yes, in that case I think I would've kept right on nursing, no end in sight. I've read a lot about hormonal changes your body goes through when you quit nursing that can make you feel emotional, not to mention the nostalgic part of it, and the pregnancy. I think I was definitely ready to quit because of the soreness, but I also want him to be ready too. Or at least not feel deprived of something he loves. Im just second guessing myself on whether the time was right for him.
    my baby boy Logan born 7/18/10

  4. #4
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    Default Re: Sad after weaning 21 month old

    Yes, I'm not going to lie to you that thought made be a little sad for him too. I will say that I know the feeling of wanting to stop. When I was pg I sometimes would almost push my son off me because I was overcome with bad feelings when he nursed. These feeling are pretty normal. I did tandem nurse for a while. I think what I would do is talk to LO, cuddle and have special close times. You can now also establish something special that's only for you and him (making a big deal that it's NOT for baby). I think this would serve you two well after baby is born and you have to deal with jealous feelings as well as seeing the baby nurse. DS1 and I established that drawing and decorating these little statues (from Michaels) was our special thing and DS2 was not allowed to touch or do them. We also, after weaning, had a special snuggle position and only he and I do (spooning BTW ) so we can do that to feel close. He still asks to snuggle with me.
    Mommy to Maxwell 10-9-07 weaned with love (a party and a remote control monster truck) on his 4th birthday
    My Boy 3-16-10
    And my sweet pea Sam 2-12-11

    Watch Your Language

  5. #5
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    Default Re: Sad after weaning 21 month old

    Now, at day 4 post nursing, I am feeling overwhelmed with sadness. He had his first night terror, has been slightly more defiant, and yesterday, felt very distant from me. So many things are running through my head. Did I end it too suddenly for him? Did I lose his trust? Did I damage the bond I have been working so hard for the past 21 months? The other thoughts include, looking down at him nursing, knowing we will never have quite the same level of closeness. Also, how much he enjoyed nursing, and the guilt I feel for taking it from him. Ugh.

    Any support, similar stories that got better, or advice would be greatly appreciated
    Abrupt weaning is generally not recommended if it can be avoided, because weaning does tend to be more emotionally painful that way for both mom and baby. But I cannot imagine this is going to cause any long term loss of trust or closeness. Change is hard, and it may take your son some time to adjust. I also think kids can sense stuff even if they could never articulate it, so sometimes there are behavior issues connected with moms pregnancy anyway, especailly if you have been having any of the typical ill effects, stronger that usual emotions, etc. of pregnancy.

    If you do feel this abrupt aversion technique of weaning has unduly upset your child, (and yourself) you do have the option of encouraging your son to nurse again, of course. It's only been a few days, so it's entirely likely he would go for it. It would not necessarily mean you would end up tandem nursing, it sounds like you have time before baby comes for any number of things to occur. Many children wean on their own during pregnancy as the milk supply dwindles, and many moms do encourage baby to wean during that time for many reasons, and you were already making progress along the path of gentle and gradual weaning. Plus tandem nursing works well for some moms if it comes to that, you never know, you might like it. But this is of course a personal choice. If you want to explore that, you could read the book Adventures in Tandem Nursing which explores all aspects of nursing when pregnant and tandem nursing, including the wide variety of mothers feelings about it, positive and negative.

    But if that is not appealing due to the pain your were experiencing from nursing, certainly understandable, I would suggest chalking this up to experience and let go of the guilt, as that is not going to do either of you any good. Sadness is normal, there will be a natural mourning time for both of you.

  6. #6
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    Default Re: Sad after weaning 21 month old

    I can understand how you feel. My first was 18 months old when I became pregnant with #2. The horrible pain of nursing just got worse as the weeks went by because of the pregnancy. When he was almost 22 months, he bit me really hard while nursing, and I cut out 2 nursing sessions, bringing him down to 2x a day (morning and night). He dropped down to just the morning session a week later. As the weeks went by, I just couldn't picture myself tandem nursing, but figured I would be. He self-weaned at 2 years, 3 days of age, giving me 3 months before #2 showed up. Looking at him now (2 years, 9 months), I couldn't imagine nursing such a big boy, but I really do miss it.

    Has he asked since you weaned? If you miss it, the next time he asks you can let him nurse. You can limit his time nursing to minimize pain. Otherwise, as PP said, just snuggle with him, come up with things that as a "big boy" he can do that the baby won't be able to.

  7. #7

    Default Re: Sad after weaning 21 month old

    Sending a hug your way! I weaned my#1dd at 21 months...gradually then...cold turkey! I will be honest, I regretted it! It was traumatizing for us both! She rejected me and seemed mad at me for nearly a week (when she would ask to nurse)..I was so sad and heartbroken. I did not use LLL much then and thought it was the right time as we were wanting to TTC, and I felt like I wanted my body back for awhile before TTC. Now, I look back and wish I let her self wean. Then with DD2 she was gradually weaned with love and at 27months she weaned and potty trained in the SAME week because she wanted a new baby doll and it was her decision..quite a girl! Now, I am at 21months with DD3 and we're not ready. I plan to let her self wean. Even if we decide to TTC for #4... If you feel like you made a mistake...I would offer the milkies again, say maybe it's back.. if he says no then it's his decision. I can report that after the initial weaning took place and we made it through the tough 1st week, my dd1 and I were and still are extremely bonded and close!! So do not worry mama! You are to be praised for your good job nursing so long!! Be proud of what your accomplished!! PS...our babies were born the same month...mine was July 14, 2010...born on her dd!
    Last edited by @llli*dirtlover.mama; April 30th, 2012 at 03:10 PM. Reason: edit
    JEN
    Happy Wife of 20 years to J~
    Mommy to DD E~ 9/22/04 BF 21 months
    Mommy to DD H~ 7/2/07 BF 27 months CD'd from 10 mos on!
    Mommy to DD A~ 7-14-10 All cloth, and Potty Trained at 2 1/2. Still Nursing!
    I grow an organic garden, homeschool, and really feel blessed to be a SAHM!

  8. #8
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    Default Re: Sad after weaning 21 month old

    Thank you so much for all the nice responses. I am feeling much better today. My son has been back to his normal self, even without nursing. He has only asked to nurse a few times, and moves on easily when I deny him. I think the whole process was harder on me than it was on him, and in my upset state of mind I was making it out to be worse than it was. I'm still a little sad that the nursing era of our life is over, but at the same time, I do think we were both ready. Even if it did end faster than I thought it would. It is so nice to hear from other moms who go through similar situations. As comforting as my husband tries to be, he can never really understand... so THANK YOU!
    my baby boy Logan born 7/18/10

  9. #9

    Default Re: Sad after weaning 21 month old

    Quote Originally Posted by @llli*pghmommy View Post
    Thank you so much for all the nice responses. I am feeling much better today. My son has been back to his normal self, even without nursing. He has only asked to nurse a few times, and moves on easily when I deny him. I think the whole process was harder on me than it was on him, and in my upset state of mind I was making it out to be worse than it was. I'm still a little sad that the nursing era of our life is over, but at the same time, I do think we were both ready. Even if it did end faster than I thought it would. It is so nice to hear from other moms who go through similar situations. As comforting as my husband tries to be, he can never really understand... so THANK YOU!
    Yes, it takes women who have walked in your shoes to really understand..that's why we all are here @LLLI!
    JEN
    Happy Wife of 20 years to J~
    Mommy to DD E~ 9/22/04 BF 21 months
    Mommy to DD H~ 7/2/07 BF 27 months CD'd from 10 mos on!
    Mommy to DD A~ 7-14-10 All cloth, and Potty Trained at 2 1/2. Still Nursing!
    I grow an organic garden, homeschool, and really feel blessed to be a SAHM!

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Feb 2008
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    Default Re: Sad after weaning 21 month old

    Mommy to Maxwell 10-9-07 weaned with love (a party and a remote control monster truck) on his 4th birthday
    My Boy 3-16-10
    And my sweet pea Sam 2-12-11

    Watch Your Language

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