Friday, March 16, 2018

Freeing the boobs & weaning my toddler

Well, we did it, we exclusively breast fed for 1 year.  I saw in a breastfeeding group I am in on Facebook a few days ago the discussion of what "exclusively breastfed" means; does it mean your baby only ever fed at the breast and you never pumped, or does it mean that your baby was exclusively fed breast milk?  I agree with the latter—my baby only drank breastmilk for an entire 365 days (minus some beef bone broth), that girl was EXCLUSIVELY breast fed.

Ok so now that I cleared that up, I've been trying to give updates on my IG stories about how the weaning process has gone for me and several people wanted to see an entire post on the process.  I try to be as good of a resource as possible in my writing, but I can only tell you what has worked for me and Georgia who is extremely adaptive & not picky at all which I think helped our situation.

When I started to wean, I began a month before G turned one.  I really wanted to focus on eliminating pumping sessions before actually weaning her off the breast.  A typical day before I started weaning looked like this:

5:30am—Georgia wakes & nurses

7:30am—Pump @ work

9:30am—Pump @ work

12:00pm—Georgia comes to work to nurse or I pump

2:30pm—Pump @ work

4:30pm—Georgia nurses

6:30pm—Georgia nurses

7:00pm—Georgia goes to bed

So on Mondays and Thursday's when G was at daycare, I would pump 4x a day, Tuesday, Wednesday, & Friday she would come visit me at work and I would nurse her at noon so I'd pump 3x on those days.  For the majority of the time I would get an average of 3oz. per pumping session and it was like that pretty much from when I returned to work til the end.  There were a few times when my supply dipped, but overall, 3oz. x session which is a totally normal amount.  Most days I would have 9oz. to send with her to daycare and 3oz. to freeze, that's how I built my stash.  Some days I would have more, some days less.  But ON AVERAGE, 3oz. to the freezer, 9 oz. to daycare.

When I was ready to cut a pumping session I cut the first one at 7:30am, I did that for about a week, I would keep my 2nd pumping time of 9:30am so the stretch between her 5:30 feed and my first pumping session was about 4 hours.  On the days that G did not come to me to nurse at lunch I would push it even farther, sometimes not pumping until 10:30 or later.  Eventually I stopped pumping at all in the morning and there would be roughly 6.5 hours between when I nursed her and when she would come to nurse or I would pump.  This was signaling to my body that the milk was not needed in the morning so my supply began to decrease and I would get less and less engorged during that time each day.

I then began to cut out nursing sessions, particularly the 4:30pm one.  I still wanted her to nurse before bed so I could be empty for the night & I still wanted to nurse her in the morning to empty out before my day started.  It worked out well, however G started nursing 3-4x a night for a few weeks at this time.  This was in the 3 weeks or so before her birthday.  So my supply at night stayed up, but during the day it continued to decrease as I was only pumping 2x a day now.  I also began cutting my pumping sessions down from about 10 minutes to 7 minutes, emptying the breast is very important for milk supply, when you don't empty all the way, you're signaling to your body that you don’t need so much milk so it starts to decrease production. 

The day before her birthday was the last day that she came to see me at lunch time.  I was only pumping 1x a day in the morning now, she nursed at lunch, and then before bed so we were continuing to cut down.  Her birthday was Thursday and then I was off that Friday, I nursed her in the morning and then had my mom take her for the day so I could prep for her birthday party.  I brought my pump home but did not pump at all.  I realized I was done with it.  Through the weekend I nursed her just a few times.  Always in the morning, and maybe before bed, but during the day I was giving her water only plus she eats several small meals throughout the day so she's getting plenty to eat without the breastmilk.

When I came back to work that Monday I did not pump at all, I brought my pump for a few days, but have not used it since.  I bought her Simply Balanced Organic whole milk from Target the weekend of her party and slowly started introducing it to her that weekend too.  I've also been using Horizon Organic whole milk.  I continued to only nurse her before bed and in the morning until the weekend following her birthday.  That Friday Joe and I had a parents-night-out and G slept at grandma & grandpas.  I nursed her around 7pm that night and then did not nurse her again until about 24 hours later on Saturday night.

I knew that things were going to be coming to an end quickly.  When she would fuss at night I began giving her a bottle of water, she was only nursing for comfort so the water in the bottle gave her something to suck on then she'd get the paci back and be fine.  On Monday March 5th I nursed Georgia for the last time that morning.  Now that she has 100% weaned she is sleeping through the night which is really great for mama.  I am finally starting to slowly dry up.  It's been a very bittersweet experience so far and I'm sad that it is over but excited to be moving on to the next chapter in our family building journey.
To sum up this lengthy post, I basically just slowly cut out pumping and then nursing staring 1 month prior to her birthday.  I knew that we'd go a few days past her birthday but I didn't want to much more.  As far as the whole milk/breast milk combo goes, I leave it up to daycare just making sure she's getting a little of both each day.  She drinks a few sippy cups of whole milk at night at home along & has a bottle of 3-4oz. of breastmilk in the morning that replaces her 5:30am nursing session.  My parents take care of food for her when she goes to their house but for daycare I started sending a plate of food for lunch along with a waffle and some other snacks for the rest of the day.  I will do an entire post on toddler lunches soon.

Some people asked about cups, we introduced a sippy cup to G at around 6-7 months which she would drink her beef broth out of.  She's been using a sippy, a straw cup, and a bottle and we just kind of rotate.  The bottle she gets in the morning and the sippy and straw cup are what I fill with the whole milk or water for her to drink throughout the day.  For sippy cups we like these from Twistshake that have handles on them so they're easy to hold.  They are leak proof and work really well plus they come in tons of fun colors.  You can get 20% off using code LENARIDLEY20 at checkout & the neon line is currently at 60% off!  I also really like this Pura Kiki stainless steel cup that came with both a sippy and a straw that can be changed out.  We use ComoTomo bottles and also have a Munchkin straw cup that has a weighted straw which G really loves.

In my experience the weaning process was relatively easy.  It was emotional and if it wasn't for prepping for an FET we would definitely be doing extending breastfeeding and I would've allowed her to self wean.  It's something that I will miss, but I am also happy to have my body back for a few months before I am hopefully pregnant again.  I would love to know how the weaning process went for you.  What tips and tricks or advice do you have that you can share with others to make their experience better and easier?


  1. I would like to express some thanks to you just for bailing me out of such a situation. Right after checking throughout the world-wide-web and getting basics that were not productive, I figured my life was well over. Living without the presence of approaches to the problems you have sorted out by means of your entire site is a critical case, and the kind which may have adversely affected my entire career if I hadn't come across your blog. Your ability and kindness in maneuvering all the pieces was helpful. boutique enfants

  2. Any tips on weaning an almost 28 month old that loses her mind if you try to tell her no to nursing? Still nursing multiple times a day and night! This mama is tired!

    My point is...good job lady!! 😉😘

  3. Way to go Mama! What an accomplishment! So much hard work and dedication to keep the supply up! You are amazing!


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