Thursday, August 16, 2012

The Beginings of a Process

I very gradually started the process of weaning Graves several months back and it's been moving steadily along.  I hesitated to blog about it for so long because, the way we've done it, it's hardly felt like weaning.  We've gone super slow and I'm thankful I had the presence of mind and the oppurtunity to do it this way.  For me and him personally, I think taking it super slow has made it much easier.

There were a variety of reasons I chose to nurse past a year (and I'm sure I'll blog about that at some point), but one was simply that Graves was not ready to be done.  When Peyton and I talked about it he told me that he thought Graves was the type of baby who could benefit emotionally from nursing past a year (I guess I think most babies could, but he particularly was calmed by it in a way AP was just...not). Anyway, another big factor was that he really didn't like cow's milk and really, really didn't like sippy cups.  I felt like it was counter intuitive to start a one year old on a bottle, so I just held out. He's doing better with both now, I'm happy to say, and over the course of the past several months I've about halved how many times he nurses.

Around one year old, he was still nursing five to six times a day.  I know that sounds kind of rediculous, but given his weight issues, I didn't feel comfortable denying him a feeding or even attempting to drop one.  And, as I said, they were hard to "replace" at that point.  He would nurse early in the morning, go back to sleep and then nurse when he woke up for the day, nurse midmorning, again before his nap, mid afternoon, and then before bed.

Pretty soon after his first birthday he dropped the early morning feeding.  I had been comfortable with it and in my book he was "sleeping through the night".  I really didn't want to try to pressure him to drop it a) because of my concerns about his weight and b) I thought it would probably make his actual "wake up for the day" time earlier if he dropped it.  Of course, it wasn't something I was going to push if he did drop it.  I had no intention of waking him up or anything.  Anyway, like I said he dropped it and it was fine.  It really didn't change his wake up time too much and he just ended up eating more at breakfast.  Sometimes I do still feed him early, but then I just count that as his "wake up" feeding.

After that, I did intentionally replace his afternoon feeding with a cup of PediaSure.  It was clear he could handle a sippy, he just wasn't a big fan of regular milk.  However, I wasn't a big fan of giving him flavored, chocolate or strawberry milk and didn't want to have to do that for every feeding. [Plus it was a battle every day telling AP why she couldn't have "special" milk.]  In the last month, I've been able to replace it with a cup of whole milk and he's done a lot better [shout out to Carrie for telling me to warm it up- that helped some- and I'm a moron for not thinking of it].

Several weeks ago, he dropped the mid morning feeding.  He just didn't seem to need it and when he skipped it for a couple of days, I let it go.  I have tried to offer him a cup between breakfast and lunch.  And then last week, I experimented with replacing his before nap nursing session with a cup feeding.  I was shocked how easy it was and it makes me think dropping these last two (emotionally laden) morning and evening feedings in the next couple of months will probably be pretty easy for him and much less so for Momma.


Amy said...

we're totally in that "ridiculous" stage of still nursing way too much (in my opinion!) laney would seriously nurse at least 6 times a day if i'd let her. she is SO attached. i feel selfish saying i'm ready to wean her, because i know it is purely for selfish reasons...being that I'M ready to stop (and i know SHE'S not). my ped even reminded me (so encouragingly) that in most countries it's "the norm" to nurse for the first two years. but that's just not something I personally want to do. i feel so guilty about it, because i know that a)she loves it (even though she doesn't technically "need" it for nutritional sustenance any longer) and b) there are SO many other mother's that would love to nurse their babies and can't for whatever ever reason and here i am chomping at the bit to QUIT nursing mine! obviously i'm conflicted about the whole thing - ha! sorry to go off in your comments section. i just felt like our stories were very similar....minus the voluntary dropping of feedings. :)

The Taffs said...

I nursed Eli for 17 months. We weaned very slowly as well, in a very similar fashion as to what you've done with Graves. There were so many reasons, and I didn't share them all, because I feel like people can be judgmental when mothers nurse past a year, but it was what was right for us. : )

AmyKnight said...

Thank you so much for sharing this. I am still nursing my 17 month old about 3 times a day (more if he is teething) and feel like I am all alone in this territory. He has always LOVED to nurse and like you said I feel like he really needs this. It calms him and helps him relax. I never thought I would be able to nurse this long especially with some health problems I have. I would really like to make the decision about continuing to nurse based off of what I feel he needs and read his cues but at this point I am receiving lots of questions from family and friends "you are still nursing". I know I shouldn't let this bother me because C is my number 1 priority but I can't help but feel self- conscious about these comments. Anyway, thanks again for sharing your story. Will be anxious to hear how y'alls journey continues to go.