Mumma-led Weaning

 |  Parenting

I took the decision a few weeks ago to start refusing Oliver feeds overnight. The idea I had was that if he cried when I said no, I would feed him anyway, but that if he lay back down and went to sleep: win win.

It goes against every part of me that supports baby-led weaning – from the introduction of solids down to the ultimate ending of breastfeeding – but it got to the point where I was finding Oliver’s latch so bad that I was having to bite my lip and dig my fingernails into the palms of my hands just so that I didn’t just throw him off me. He has always had a much worse latch at night, but it’s been particularly awful since the first set of molars came in. I held on for improvements and they’ve not been forthcoming!

Fortunately most feeds were quickly replaced with a sip of water (and don’t let anyone ever tell you that you can night wean or sleep train using water … now he wakes for that instead) with minimal/no crying.

I’m trying to console myself with regular reminders of the fact that a) Oliver gets to feed in the day when Isabel didn’t at this age, b) if he was that desperate he would have made more fuss about feeding. Truth is, I feel just as guilty as I did when Izz weaned just before her second birthday if not more so… he is only 15.5 months after all.

My goal was to reach 2 years with Oliver, the milestone we missed virtually by days last time ’round, but the reality is that if he weaned tomorrow I don’t know if I would grieve the loss of the breastfeeding relationship this time. Guilt but no grief? I hate that.

Jem Turner +44(0)7521056376

9 comments so far

  1. Laura said:

    The twins are being a nightmare during the day at the moment. If I dare sit down they both come over demanding a feed. Feed for maybe two minutes, poking each other in the face and looking round the room half the time, wander off, only to return 5 minutes later demanding to be fed again… So I’ve started saying no if they’ve just had some. I’m not a bloody buffet service!

  2. Amelie said:

    Ah, if only we were having any success with night weaning… D wants to be attached constantly, switches sides, bites, scratches (not always consciously)…etc. So yep, right with you on the wanting to step back a bit thing – however, not really happening for us yet :(

  3. Mumblies said:

    It breaks your heart when your babies decide to say no to the breast. I remember my own feelings of guilt,despair and longing; blaming myself for all the reasons under the sun that would explain what I had done wrong to have to go through this.

    The fact is plain and simple, and it certainly isn’t anything to do with failures on your behalf it is simply because all babies are different and all babies will please themselves as and when they do things.

    I do know this however… as your babies grow older and become little people instead you will smile at their antics and eventually forgive all those incidences of blame and guilt and enjoy them as they become toddlers and then onto more interesting things

    Although you will find that for months after Ollie decided to refuse the breast you will wake in the night, wondering why he slept and you didn’t. Don’t punish yourself Jem… allow yourself to enjoy life with a little bit more time that was once spent feeding and permit yourself to relax more.

  4. Jenn said:

    Ryan self-weaned around 15 months, during a very stressful time in our lives (in retrospect, autism + moving two pre-teen brothers in due to issues at home with my mother were not at ALL conducive to continuing breastfeeding). I felt guilty at the time, and even now to a certain extent, because I can trace his abrupt decision to reject the breast and motion instead for a sippy cup (we started offering some lactose-free milk and water around 12 months) to that particular event.

    I can honestly say I haven’t grieved, though. While I did lose some physical intimacy with my son, who was then little more than a baby as far as I’m concerned, he in turn gained some independence, and it’s awesome to see little ones focus and improve on doing things on their own.

    And on a more practical note: you need pain-free moments with your baby, plus a full night’s sleep is nice, too!