parenthood: weaning (part 2)
i realize talking about weaning your breastfed child isn't everyone's cup of tea, so if you'd rather not hear about it, feel free to move on with your blog surfing. but a while back, i told you i was just beginning to wean jude, and i'd like to tell you part two of the story...
it was really terrible at first. the morning and early afternoons would go really well, but when nap time came, i almost always caved in, otherwise jude wouldn't take a nap (and i wouldn't get those precious few hours to myself). he did well up until bedtime, when he would want to nurse again, and i'd let him. jude's a picky eater, and sometimes i'd worry that he wasn't getting the nutrients he needed because he didn't eat a lot, so i justified nursing by telling myself he had to get nutrients from somewhere. but since he's going to turn two soon, i decided i just needed to stop. i looked up tons of tips and advice online and tried a few of them (vinegar, lemon juice, replacing nursing with goat's milk, etc), and some of them worked okay, some of them seemed cruel, but nothing worked consistently. finally, i found this advice from lactation consultant, Jan Barger on baby center:
When you're at the point when you want to quit [nursing] entirely, you simply tell your toddler, "You're a big boy now, and we aren't going to nurse anymore. We can snuggle together, and I'm always here for hugs, but we won't be breastfeeding anymore." And then stick to your guns. There's nothing more confusing to a child this age than inconsistency.
so that's what i did. there was crying before bedtime, but eventually, jude fell asleep. if he woke up during the night, I would go in, give him a hug, give him some water, and tell him to lay back down and go to sleep. The first night I would lay on the floor by him until he closed his eyes, but by the fourth night, he went down without crying and slept through the night.
i'm so glad i nursed jude, and i don't regret nursing him for almost two years. i loved those times when it was just the two of us. it really is a bonding experience, and feeling like you're the only one who can provide that for your child is really special. but it's also nice to be done. sometimes he still asks for it, but i just remind him that there's no more, and then ask if he wants string cheese, a banana, chicken, or something else instead.
one last tip: if you're trying to wean, keep your child active. i would make an effort to take jude to the park, play in the sprinkler, go for rides in the car, or play with sidewalk chalk. if we were sitting inside watching cars, or if i was busy doing chores, and jude was bored, he would ask for it more, and threw a bigger fit when he didn't get it. if he was distracted doing something active, it rarely even crossed his mind.
so, what was your experience like? hard? similar? or pretty pain-free?