Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Weaning

Finley and I have had a good run at breast feeding. She took to the breast and never looked back! We always did breast feeding on demand. She refused bottles, pacifiers and took a very long time to try a sippy cup. She is a boobies addict.

I have had mixed emotions about the whole breast feeding thing. Most of the time I love it. The bond we share, the snuggle time, the fact that her food is portable and always stored at the right temperature is a bonus! Our nights were much less disruptive, I wasn't up mixing formula, we rarely became fully awake and she never cried during the night. The flip side to this is the high needs times. When she is teething and wants to attach herself for hours drives me crazy not to mention it's beyond annoying and doesn't feel awesome! All I can hear is the nurse in the hospital telling me, "Don't let her use you as a pacifier!" Um, yeah - I failed at that. I am Fin's pacifier.

Finley has been weaning herself. We had gotten down to only one feed between 4-6pm and then I would nurse her down to sleep at night and then nurse her at her usual 5am feed. It got to the point where I stopped offering her the boobies and only when she signed milk at me while scaling my legs to get near the boobies did I feed her. Usually it was a comfort reason - not- hunger. Then that subsided too, so, I was just nursing her to sleep...Our pediatrician said "cold turkey - just stop!" I decided I'm not taking that advice. It's called weaning for a reason. Besides, I don't want to become engorged and get a breast infection or something nasty! Gradual works.

Then Fin began to latch every stinking half hour ALL NIGHT LONG. Teething again. I was climbing out of my skin. It was driving me crazy and I was resenting the fact that I was not getting any sleep. Truthfully I don't think Finley was either. She was cranky and whiny during the day until after her morning nap. I didn't want her to feel my resentment and then there was the biting when the supply ran dry. She was getting frustrated and biting me. Yeah - that's awesome! Not so much.

Last week we began to night wean. I warmed organic cow's milk put it in a sippy cup and we snuggled in the big chair. The first night she drank all the milk wiggled a little and fell asleep right there in my arms. I was so amazed at how easily she had done this and then I began to cry. I had a great big sobbing cry. My baby is a big girl now. We're moving into new phases this is a great new step kind of cry.

Finley woke a number of times in the night throwing a tantrum when the boobies were not offered. I gave her the cup of milk. She refused it then gradually she would take it and fall straight back to sleep. This went on for several nights and then in the last two nights she had taken her milk at bed time. Rolled around in bed and then fell asleep all by herself. I'm right beside her, she's not alone, but she is self soothing and sleeping. Last night she only woke up twice and I was slow to offer the cup of milk. She settled herself and went back to sleep sans milk. The only feeding she took was at 5am and I'm certain she was very thirsty. Then she settled again.

The nice thing for me has been the early evening. Instead of running upstairs to resettle her with nursing every time she wakes up which was every hour, she now whimpers and settles herself. I get to relax and have some me time. It's been a year since I've had any!!! I know I'm preaching to the choir.

This is going really well, although I dare not say it aloud. Next step will be getting her to take her morning nap without me.... She falls asleep in my arms or in the Ergo Carrier but wakes the second I put her down. Arrrgggghhhh!

One step at a time.

Advice? What worked for you?


3 comments:

Lauren said...

I had decided to start weaning Avery too but then she started teething :-( I only give it to her when she asks for it (which she does by pulling on my shirt) or when it's time for bed. I would love eliminate the 'go to bed' feedings and will try your technique with the warm milk! I have no advice because it sounds like you're further along in this process than I am!

Twwly said...

"Don't let her use you as a pacifier!" -- God damn, dont ever feel you have failed just because you comfort your infant naturally. Heaven forbid you soothe your baby with your body and not a Fisher Price contraption. Infant "independence" is so f&#@ing ridiculous. Like what they need to be comfortable 3,6 or 9 months is what they're going to need when they are 3, or 13. Seriously, who makes this shit up.

Any progress we had made in the night weaning department dissolved during our trip to Scotland and her two year molars working their way down. (Not through yet, bastards). Thankfully it's improving again (now that I'm not concerned about waking someone else's house with her fussing). Back down to one nurse before bed (but not to sleep) and one in the night.

I am determined to have her weaned this summer. (She still does not nurse during the day, just talking night feeds).

Meeps night wakes pretty regularly, which can be a sign of allergy. At this age she should be sleeping longer. Once she's over the cold she brought back from the UK, I'll be cutting out some foods to see if that makes an impact. A GF of mine removed oats from her daughter's diet and said it was miraculous in regards to night waking.


No advice on napping, both kids pretty much stopped napping at 1 year. (Eek!)

And the only other "bad news" I have to share is that Bob really didn't sleep properly though the night until his 2 year molars were through. For some kids, teeth are jerks.

My only concern is about the dairy, while I am a cheese lover, I don't know if I feel it's the best food for some children. Mags will take a sippy with water in it at night, I don't know if you think she'd go for it?

Elsie said...

I agree with Twwly about the nurse's pacifier comment. I had several people say that to me when I would mention how great an experience breast feeding on demand was for me and my daughter. I was always flabbergasted by this idea. Some people seem to see the idea of 'pacifying' a child as a negative. "oh you're just pacifying her"....yes, that is my job as her mother, as mother of an infant I pacify her and help her to feel healthy comfortable and happy. Why shouldn't she look to me for soothing and comforting? As you mentioned, during weaning it can be heartbreaking to get to the point when they are old enough to find comfort elsewhere. So, I say enjoy being the pacifier for the brief, (exhausting, joyous, painful, comforting, bonding) and awesome time while you can.
When we were weaning it sucked (sorry for the pun!). But the short term sucky times makes for success in the long run. It reads to me like you and your daughter are doing a great team job at tackling weaning. And really, bottom line I think that you have to do what is best for you and your family. Whatever gets you closest to your goals while still maintaining your sanity because when it comes to sleep...it will never be perfect. Whether it's teething or chicken pox or a cold or whatever...there will always be something that comes up and cuts into the progress you have made with toddler sleep routines. So, whatever you need to do to get enough sleep and progress so that you can continue to play in your flower pots!