Leaning Towards Weaning

Leaning towards weaning - homemaking with heart

The time has come… I do believe it’s time to start weaning my little guy.  He’ll be 2 next month and it was my hope to make it to his second birthday.  Almost there!  I’m so glad that I’ve made it this far.  I’m not sure how long it’s going to take, maybe weeks or even a couple of months, but I’m confident he can cope with the transition.  Gradual is usually better, both for his comfort and for mine, and that’s the approach I’m going to take.

I have loved the breastfeeding journey.  I feel a tinge of sadness as this might be my last child.  But I’m certainly ready for some sleep and don’t feel like the thought of weaning sets me into a tail spin!  And I’m looking forward to having my body back as it needs more than just a little focus at present!  It’s been almost 5 years straight of either being pregnant or breastfeeding.  I look back on this time as a blessing and joy, even through some challenging days and weeks.

My approach to weaning:

  • Ensuring his nutritional needs are all adequately met;
  • Ensuring his emotional needs and connection with me is more than satisfied.

Nutritional Needs

I’m fairly confident that my son’s nutritional needs are mostly being adequately met from food.  The main thing I need to do is be more intentional than I have been, as I’ve always had that back up of breast milk to cover those times where it can be a struggle to get good food in him.

He doesn’t eat adequate leafy greens and won’t for a while.  So my plan is to get a daily smoothie in him which has some juiced greens and carrots added in with berries, kefir, banana, orange, and the odd superfood such as spiriluna.

As I did with my older girls, I’m going to fluff up some raw milk in our espresso machine at bedtime, which should fill his tum before his bedtime feed as well as create a bedtime ritual.  I love the idea on ‘Mama Natural’ of singing a song during a shortened breastfeeding session too.

Connection

My son is a naturally affectionate child and he hasn’t weaned himself yet because he loves the connection with his Mummy.  I know it’s going to be important to make sure there are plenty of tender daily moments where we have time together, just the two of us.  He’s just a kid that loves close proximity – don’t we all deep down? 🙂

When our son was ill earlier this year, we took the side off his cot and put it up against our bed.  This made things easier for me to settle him in the night without getting out of bed (20 times a night for many weeks was seriously draining).  When we put the side back on, he worked out how to climb out which was a settling nightmare.  So the side came off again and now he sleeps right next to my side but in his cot.

The last few nights, I’ve gently but firmly returned him to his cot during the night, as he generally attempts a body dive over me and settles between us.  Such a happy and warm place to sleep for him, but we are over being repeatedly booted and having the covers kicked off!  Sometimes it’s just been easier to give him a feed in the night so we can all get back to sleep.  I’m sure many of you can relate.  I know also from experience that dropping the night feeds doesn’t necessarily guarantee that little ones will sleep through.

The main thing for me in this transition is that trust and security between us remains unaffected.  If he gets clingy during the day, I’ll take my cues from him that I need to perhaps go easy on the transition a bit.

I’m going to try shortening our breastfeeding sessions, which I have started to do (and it makes him a bit cross with me initially).  But all he usually needs is a long cuddle or for me to lie down next to him while he goes to sleep, and then he’s fine.  It’s that proximity thing again.

I’m not one to leave my children to cry at any age simply because I want them to sleep through the night or not ask for a breastfeed.  Ignoring their tears for the sake of my own convenience is not an approach I’m going to take, despite the fact that it might make perfect sense to someone else.  At the same time, I’m also OK with intentionally encouraging my little ones to grow into the next stage when I think it’s time, and I believe this can be done with care, gentleness, compassion and love.

Any suggestions for gentle and natural weaning are gratefully received!

Leaning towards weaning

My adorable little guy – I can’t believe it’s been over 2 years!

UpdateMy happy little 2 year old is weaned, and taking a gentle approach meant for us it took 4 months from his second birthday.  The best thing I did was to create a new bedtime routine that wasn’t centred around being breastfeed, and I gradually reduced his bedtime feed to 1m.  The first night he went without completely, he cried a little but the following night there were no tears.  He still loves to be settled with cuddles, which is perfectly OK with me!

{Linked up at Natural Family Friday}

10 thoughts on “Leaning Towards Weaning

  1. thehomeschoolingdoctor

    You are a kind mother! I let mine cry it out so I could get some sleep! Good luck weaning. It’s such a bittersweet time. My third just did it on her own around two. As she’s my last, I wasn’t really prepared for that!

    Reply
  2. leahfunk

    Hey there … I so needed to hear this post . I started weaning our 18 month old on Monday . As for advice … I have weaned all my children between the ages of 9- 14 months and have done so really cold turkey … With lots of hugs and cuddles and sippy cups but no milk from me … It is hard the first week for both of us … It has been really hard this time because I am not sure when we will have another…so I have been holding on … Yet I feel the tugging of its time now … So yes we are just not nurseing . My advice would be , hug him , hold him, tell him it’s all gone and just know that it get easier. Weaning is always bitter sweet . Hope this helps and thank you for the post .

    Reply
  3. ABC days of being a mom

    This is so apt.
    I have no experience, I’m learning with my daughter. You just spoke my mind from start to finish only that I never thought of increasing her nutritional needs. I try my best to give her good meals but she’s taking her time with solid foods(we eat). However, like you I am missing breastfeeding and I won’t force her to go off. She’s only a year today, she’s reducing the times she sucks but I certainly enjoy breastfeeding as draining as it can be. Yes I hardly sleep well.
    Thanks for sharing, its so apt for me.

    Reply
  4. mwfinchwren

    You are such a kind and wise mama, Victoria! It’s been so many years since our precious one was weaned (ack, about 9!)…that I don’t have any additional ideas besides your already-stated goals. Bless you as you walk thru this together! Your children are blessed to have you!

    :)Wren

    Reply
  5. G'ma Becca

    My baby is 22 years old. I still miss the opportunity to be still and snuggle those precious little ones. As we weaned our youngest, I employed infant (toddler, really) massage as they drank from a sippy cup, or we would curl up in a chair and read together. It was fairly easy to day-wean them; nights took a bit longer. Good luck!

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  6. Katherine

    I’ve only weaned one baby and it was because I pregnant and in pain. Not natural or gradual and way too early for me 🙁 I do know that we replaced those nursing sessions with lots of snuggling and reading, and I think that’s when he really started to LOVE books. Even now a year later he still needs to snuggle and read before bed 🙂

    Thanks for linking up to Babies and Beyond. There are lots of moms who need encouragement when it comes to extended nursing and natural weaning!

    Reply

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