Let me start this by saying…
Never, I mean NEVER in my wildest dreams did I think I would be nursing my baby past 1 year.
I knew I wanted to breastfeed and I knew it would have its ups and downs.
My goal was to breastfeed for 1 year, I really never thought about weaning, I kind of just naively thought he would just want to stop once he turned one. (so ridiculous of me, I know) I had also heard so many stories from friends saying their babies just weaned themselves so part of me was also waiting for that…but every single time I thought he was close to weaning himself he’d start wanting to nurse all day every day and it was
E X H A U S T I N G.
I never imagined myself having a 17 month old who would throw an absolute fit if I didn’t give him the boob wherever and whenever he wanted it. It was HARD and I would get embarrassed. I didn’t mind nursing him at home, I actually loved and cherished our morning and bedtime nursing sessions SO much, it was one of the few times he was actually still and I could just look at him & soak him in. The morning and bedtime nursing sessions were my favorite & the ones I miss the most.
I don’t remember how old Hayes was when I really knew that I was ready to wean…The truth is I was never emotionally ready.
I was physically ready for sure. But the thought of it being “the last time” and the thought of my baby not needing me in that way really did devastate me and keep me holding on for a little too long. I remember seeing an instagram post of a mama videoing her last nursing session with her baby girl, she was sobbing and just kept telling her daughter that this was the last time and she’s going to be a big girl now. It hit SO close to home and I sobbed for days and days knowing that our time was coming soon.
I knew if I didn’t set a specific date to stop nursing Hayes that it just wasn’t going to happen and I was going to keep pushing it off…and then my friend Allison texted me letting me know she was offering “The Last Latch” photos on Friday July 26th.
So I decided that Friday would be our last day. I had a few days to mentally prepare myself and also stock up on snacks and new toys to keep Hayes occupied. I’ll talk more about that with y’all in a little bit!
I remember waking up Friday morning knowing it was going to be a day of lasts for us.
I picked Hayes up out of his crib and he would usually always sign for milk and tug on my shirt….
but he didn’t.
It was such a bittersweet moment, I didn’t nurse him that morning and that was really really hard for me but I was also super proud of him and it re assured me that he was ready.
Our photoshoot was around noon, and I really didn’t know what to expect.
I remember getting my hair & makeup done by my insanely talented friend, Bridgette, and talking to her about what was about to happen and how I felt about it all.
I didn’t know if I would feel comfortable nursing him with a camera in my face, or if I would feel weird and out of my element. I had no earthly idea what to expect but I’m happy to say it was SO incredibly special. I barely knew Allison was there and I just held my baby while he nursed and I cried. Cried because I was SO DANG proud of myself. Cried because I was so sad that such a special thing was coming to an end. Cried because I let other people opinions affect me for so long. Cried because I was so excited to have my body back. There were lots of reasons behind those tears but I remember just feeling an overwhelming amount of gratitude. Just so thankful for Hayes and his health and for the opportunity to be his mama.
I didn’t want that to be our last nursing session because I wanted it to be just him and I.
I wanted it to be at home in our usual spot, so I decided bedtime would be the last time.
I had a lot of anxiety before putting him to bed that night, I remember setting up my phone on Hayes’s book shelf and clicking record. The room was pitch black so I had no idea if it was even recording anything, I just knew I never wanted to forget that moment. I rocked him and nursed him and cried and cried because I knew that really was the last time.
We had gotten to the point where he didn’t nurse long, 15 minutes t0ps…so I made sure to cherish those 15 minutes.
Then I laid him down and walked out and cried on Kyle.
I did it.
The following days were shockingly easy. I don’t know if I was just insanely lucky or what. But I do have some tips & tricks for those of you wanting to wean soon! The #1 rule is to NEVER say “NO” when they ask to nurse. This is HUGE. It will only make them upset & feel confused and like they’re in trouble. I know Hayes pretty well and I would try and get a snack or a distraction before he would even ask to nurse. BUT if he did ask or tug on my shirt I would say something along the lines of “Hey do you want to go get a popsicle?!” in a really excited voice lol and that would usually do the trick. Hayes had A LOT of popsicles those following weeks. Also, be prepared to work a lot harder on keeping your baby busy and happy. I had no down time whatsoever and would constantly make sure he was happy and busy and entertained so I wouldn’t have to deal with seeing him sad about not getting the boob. I knew I couldn’t emotionally handle him being devastated about it so I did everything I could to distract him.
I was really worried about nap and bedtime because I have ALWAYs nursed him before those.
The first night after weaning I sat him on my lap and he was laying on my chest and he just let me rub his back and rock him, he has never done this so I was in complete shock. And then I kind of replaced nursing with rubbing his back.
That lasted for about a week or two. He would just lay down and want me to rub his back and be perfectly happy with it.
He quickly got over that and started throwing fits for naps and bedtime which was hard, I wanted SO badly to rock him or cuddle him or do ANYTHING for him but he would just fight and fight because he didn’t want to go to bed.
We’re at a point now where for naps we get his blankies and bear and I just lay him down and he typically goes down pretty quickly (depends on the day, some days we try and try & he doesn’t nap at all)
Night time has been good lately, We do bath, pajamas, books, brush teeth then lay down!
Hayes has never been super consistent with sleep so some weeks are good & some are really hard.
Just remember that it’s a big change for them too so if it doesn’t go smoothly at first, that’s normal!
Whenever Hayes would ask and distractions or snacks wouldn’t work I would just say “I’m so sorry Hayes, it’s gone gone, you drank it all baby, there’s no more” and just repeat that or things similar to that and hold him and love on him!
A lot of you asked if I replaced nursing with a bottle or anything and I tried! Hayes has never LOVED milk, he’ll only drink almond milk if anything, and he really doesn’t even love that. He’s gone weeks without drinking milk and his Dr said that’s perfectly fine as long as he’s getting other forms of dairy!!
A lot of you also asked how my hormones and boobs were after weaning. I was SO lucky and they never got super full or engorged and I never experienced crazy hormones. I think it helped a lot that I had slowly weaned Hayes to just morning and night. Towards the end I was definitely nursing him more than morning and night BUT we had mostly weaned down to just twice a day. I think a lot of people experience the crazy hormones and engorgement when they have to stop abruptly. But you just never know!
We’ve officially reached the other side and he no longer asks and if he happens to see my boobs he just giggles or says “milk” but it ends there! haha I’m happy to say that he DOES still need me and our relationship is better than ever!
For all you mamas who are weaning soon, YOU’VE GOT THIS. Your baby will still need you, I promise!!
There are sososo many more amazing and special memories ahead and be you should be SO damn proud of yourself!