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Thread: wanting to wean by 12 mo...where do I start?

  1. #1
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    Jul 2012
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    Default wanting to wean by 12 mo...where do I start?

    My DS is 10.75 mo. I have been breastfeeding since birth with the goal of having him weaned by one year (6/18). Although I have liked (tolerated?) breastfeeding and will certainly breastfeed any subsequent children, I am very ready to be done for several reasons!

    In my (not at all) infinite knowledge pre-baby (okay, NO knowledge. The nurses taught us how to change a diaper at the hospital!), I figured when it was time to wean I'd just, well, stop nursing him and we'd be done. So I figured that on his birthday we'd just be done weaning.

    Well, I've learned that's not the case!! But I still really want to be done at a year if possible. My DS has been nursing less and less during the day (don't offer/don't refuse) and goes 4-6 hours between feedings. Okay, usually by 4 hours I do offer. But he doesn't always ask until 6 hours. But then he makes up for it at night by nursing every 1.5-2 hours. I'm exhausted and seem to always be getting some kind of bug.

    Anyway, I have read about cutting out the "least favorite" feeding of the day. With what do I replace it? What if he cries and screams? How do I get him to stop eating so much at night?

    Sorry for being so negative. I'm just really ready to be done and would like any suggestions available!

  2. #2
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    Default Re: wanting to wean by 12 mo...where do I start?

    "With what do I replace it?"
    Breastmilk or formula should provide the majority of a child's nutrition up to the age of one. That means if you cut back on nursing before a year you will definitely need to supplement with one or the other. You will basically just be replacing nursing sessions with bottles, whether they have expressed breast milk or formula.

    "What if he cries and screams?"

    To be honest with you, my answer to this would be to nurse him. But if you are absolutely sure you want to wean it is something you're just going to have to deal with. To your baby, nursing is not just food. It's a connection to you. It's safety and love and comfort. That need is not just going to stop for him. If weaning is something you are absolutely sure you want to do, the best way to deal with his unhappiness is to love him through it. Don't hand him a bottle and walk away, hold him and feed him. Give him extra cuddles to replace the contact he's not getting during nursing times. But really, you should just expect tears because he is not going to understand why he suddenly can't have something that has been freely given his entire life.

    You may have considered this, but is daytime nursing something you might be willing to continue with if you can get more control over your nights? If so we might be able to help you come up with ways to get more sleep and nurse less at night and you might feel better overall and more willing to keep going at least to the year point. I know lots of moms get desperate when they reach that breaking point with sleep and 10ish months is a prime age for it because that tends to be when teething gets really bad.
    “We are not put on earth for ourselves, but are placed here for each other. If you are there always for others, then in time of need, someone will be there for you.”
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  3. #3
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    Aug 2012
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    Default Re: wanting to wean by 12 mo...where do I start?

    I wonder if he's nursing so much at night because he's not nursing so frequently during the day. I know that offering the breast more during the day is counterproductive to your desire to wean, but if you could get him to nurse more often during the day, you might find your nights would be easier. If you want to replace one or more nursing sessions with something else, the rule is it should be formula until a year.

    I wonder if you can hold on until he's a year old, you might find that if you start the weaning process then, it is more intuitive because you can offer cow's milk and solids as a way to try to cut back on nursing. I don't really know what I'm talking about because we're at about the same point as you (my daughter is 11.5 mos old) but I can tell you that my baby has changed a LOT in the last month or so--getting really good with a sippy cup, eating a greater variety of solids, etc.--and while I don't plan to wean her at the year mark, I can see now how she COULD sustain herself with milk from a cup and solid foods and also I can now see that she'll be OK with no breast milk while I'm at work, whereas a month ago, it didn't seem possible.

    Also, and I don't want you to feel like I'm judging or trying to convince you not to wean--because I'm not and I wholeheartedly support every mother's choice on the matter--but my experience in just the last couple of weeks has been a huge positive shift and a lot of the burden has melted away as I've realized that (1) my milk supply is so well-established (2) my baby is capable of getting nourishment from food other than breast milk that very soon, I can see us being in a place where we nurse only when we both want to. If I don't want to nurse at that moment, my 1 year old will be fine with a cup of milk and a snack and if she doesn't want to nurse, that's OK, there will be milk there for her later. So, you didn't explain exactly why you're ready to be done, but for me the feeling like I could never have more than an hour or two to myself because I had to either pump or be there to nurse was bothering me, and that's not really the case anymore. But a month ago, I would not have really believed it! So depending on what it is you don't like about breastfeeding, you might find that what you really don't like is breastfeeding an infant, and that breastfeeding a toddler will be a whole different ballgame. Just food for thought!!

  4. #4
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    Default Re: wanting to wean by 12 mo...where do I start?

    with the PPs. If you wean before a year, you need to welcome formula into your life. And you still may not get any sleep! Babies change so much throughout the first year- every time a new tooth is popping through or the baby is sick or mastering a new developmental milestone, the baby's sleep pattern will probably be disrupted. My formula-feeding friends are always complaining about the same things beeastfeeding moms do- that the baby was up all night!
    Coolest thing my big girl said recently: "How can you tell the world is moving when you are standing on it?"
    Coolest thing my little girl sang recently: "I love dat one-two pupples!"

  5. #5
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    Default Re: wanting to wean by 12 mo...where do I start?

    Thanks for the replies. Just to clarify, I've been really considering my situation and my options lately. Probably at the root of me wanting ot wean (aside from having the goal of weaning at a year) is the fact that it just doesn't seem to work for me to pump. About a month ago DH and I made plans to go to a brew fest with friends, the first time we'd been out together sans baby without me having to worry about getting back to feed. I had worked hard and pumped 12 ounces, religiously scalded and stored them in glass (I knew my milk had lipase issues and would randomly go sour). We got home around 11 to a screaming, inconsolable baby who wouldn't take the bottle. Having been to a brew fest (and having planned to feed pumped milk that night), DH and I tried to get him to take the bottle, and then I discovered that all 4 jars of milk had a nasty taste. I ended up having to nurse him, thankful that I hadn't had that much beer.

    So anyway, my #1 reason for wanting to wean is that--not being able to spend an evening away without being constantly anxious about my baby, or even being away from him during the day. I had a lot of fun plans for this summer and my mom was excited to watch him, but I don't see it as an option if he has to nurse all the time.

    He also seems bothered by what I eat, especially dairy, so if I have an ice cream cone, cheesecake, or pudding, he seems to get gas. Also wine and coffee seem to bother him sporadically. The above are my favorite treats and I'm just getting tired of either saying 'no' or knowing I'll be up all night if I say 'yes.'

    DS has also started biting, usually at the end of the nursing session. He bit a hole in my nipple in January that became infected while I had the flu and the only thing that kept me going then was knowing I could quit in just a few more months. We worked on "no biting" then and it got better until these past couple weeks. He also loves to scratch at my nose while he nurses.

    I'm also, of course, the only one who can comfort him at night, unless my mom is here. She obviously doesn't nurse him, but he does settle for her. If DH goes in, he screams for hours even if he's being snuggled.

    In preparation I have added a lot more snuggle time during the day, which we both love. But yeah, I guess I feel like if I could get the night nursing under control I could probably make it to a year and THEN wean him, hopefully in about a month from then...or even if I do decide to wean now, I feel like I'd have to get the night nursing figured out before it was "successful," anyway.

  6. #6
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    Default Re: wanting to wean by 12 mo...where do I start?

    Nursing a baby can be really restrictive. You can't leave for long, you miss out on favorite foods and activities, and you never ever get enough sleep!

    Don't let this intensely frustrating period get under your skin, mama. All the frustrations you're experiencing- the sleepless nights, the baby's lack of desire for a bottle, his insistence that only you or grandma be there for him at night... These are all passing issues, I promise! They really will improve as he gets older and more independent.

    Have you looked into the Jay Gordon night- weaning method? It's what a lot of moms here have used to night-wean their babies. Gordon says not to use it until after a year, but you will find moms who have successfully night-weaned prior to a year.
    Coolest thing my big girl said recently: "How can you tell the world is moving when you are standing on it?"
    Coolest thing my little girl sang recently: "I love dat one-two pupples!"

  7. #7
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    Jun 2009
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    Default Re: wanting to wean by 12 mo...where do I start?

    Hi ambrosegirl. There are two good books on weaning that I recommend. You should be able to find one or the other at the library. One is called "How Weaning Happens" and the other is called "The Nursing Mothers Guide to Weaning."

    Both books provide you with many options on how to move along the weaning process at various ages. There is also lots of encouragement to continue nursing, because many mothers feel pressured to wean at a year (or earlier) for a variety of reasons, so encouragement and assurance that nursing past a year is both normal and healthy is appropriate in any fact based book that covers weaning. When I talk to a mom who is 'done' and looking to move weaning along 'of her own free will,' I suggest she just skip those parts.

    If you are interested in partial weaning or night weaning, then either of those books and/or, The No-Cry Sleep Solution by Elizabeth Pantley may be helpful. The Jay Gordon one I am unfamiliar with.

    You can 'partially wean' –for example, night wean, or leave baby on occasion with a trusted caregiver without entirely weaning if that is your choice. I know it seeems like weaning would make leaving baby easier but whether a child is weaned or not they will often have difficulty with separations from mom. (Crying, fussing, sleep issues etc.) This is just normal for any young child and will ebb and flow depending on age and temperament. But it sounds like your son has a nice attachment with your mom, so that should be very helpful. The only risk to partial weaning is that some babies will just wean altogether earlier than they normally would once mom starts actively encouraging weaning at all. If that is not something you are concerned about, then partial weaning may be an option that works well for you and your baby.

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