10 Things that Rock About Weaning
In an effort to help myself feel better about weaning from breastfeeding when my kiddo was 10-months-old, I started to make a list of the things that I’m enjoying about not breastfeeding any longer.
Now don’t get me wrong… I sorely miss nursing and wish I had made it to my goal of one year, but my baby and my body had other plans. I’m a working mama and pumping just wasn’t as effective as nursing when I returned to my job as a kindergarten teacher when K was six months old. Then in the winter, we were slammed with teething, an emergency room visit, a distractible and hungry baby and a dip in my supply due to my second postpartum period.
By January, I was only pumping four ounces of milk a day and little man was taking in much, much more than that at daycare. We started supplementing with formula at eight months and pretty much weaned completely at 10 months. I’m so glad we made it as far as we did and I know 10 months is something to be celebrated.
Even though I wish we had gone longer, here are some things I am really enjoying now that we’ve weaned:
1. Pumping - I’m sure any mama who has had to rely on a breast pump to provide for their little one would celebrate burning their pump with me after weaning. End of story.
2. Water - Nursing (and especially pumping) mamas have to drink water like it’s going out of style in order to produce enough milk. Even though I SHOULD be drinking at least eight glasses of water each day, if I don’t make my goal some days, I don’t have to worry about the impact it will have on my supply.
3. Wine - Even though I enjoyed a glass of wine every so often when I was nursing, I can drink a glass guilt-free and not worry about timing of drinking vs. when I’d have to nurse or *gasp* pumping and dumping.
4. Counting Ounces - It wasn’t until we were fully weaned that I realized just how much I worried each day about how many ounces I was pumping and he was eating. I would pump 11 ounces in a day and then panic when he consumed 14 at daycare. I would defrost five ounces of breast milk from the freezer and then curse when he only drank three. Now that we’re formula feeding, I can happily give K more milk if he’s hungry. And is he ever! Some days, after seeing how much formula he drinks, I feel like I was starving him towards the end when my supply was so low.
5. Mastitis, Poor Latch, Clogged Ducts and Cracked Nipples - Though I was blessed to have pretty uneventful nursing experiences with both of my kids, I know other mamas are not always so lucky.
6. Medication - I consider myself a fairly healthy person and don’t have to take medication often, but it’s so nice if I have a head cold, stomach bug, fever or cramps to be able to reach for some medicine without first Googling “safe medications for breastfeeding” (P.S. If you’re looking for a list, Kellymom has a great chart to follow).
7. Oatmeal – As a nursing mama, I ate oatmeal for breakfast every single damned day in order to keep my supply up. After ten months (that’s approximately 300 breakfasts), I was so sick of oatmeal. Though I still enjoy it a few times a week, it’s nice to be able to eat cereal, eggs or fruit with yogurt to start my day instead of trying to find different ways to make oatmeal taste interesting.
8. More Equality in Nighttime Duties – Now that my chest is no longer the go-to source for feeding and soothing at night, the hubs can help out a bit more and take a night shift. And he does! Hallelujah!
9. Sleeping Through the Night – Since the little one is not limited to what I have left at the end of the night, he gets a full bottle before bed. Practically the day we stopped nursing, he started sleeping better at night. And by better, I mean he doesn’t get up between two and three times (or more!) a night anymore. Of course, every night is a little different, but he typically will go down before 7 p.m. and wake to eat around 4-5 a.m. He’ll sleep another hour or two and be up for the day. It’s pretty glorious.
Note from MSW: This was Mary Ellen’s unique experience and is not the norm for all babies. Giving a baby formula before bedtime does not guarantee that he or she will sleep thru the night.
10. Kid-Free Errands – My husband and I are very good about giving each other time to be out and about without little ones attached to our hips. When I do get a chance to go out, whether it’s for a pedicure or to go to the grocery store, it’s pretty rad not to have to have the baby with me so I can nurse or rush home to be there for the next feeding. And I did my fair share of pumping in the back of my minivan so I didn’t have a dip in my supply if I was out too long. Those days are only a memory now!
What were some unexpected perks of weaning for you?