It has officially ended, our breastfeeding relationship of 15months.
We had been wanting to wean baby E off since she turned 1. While breastmilk is the best milk for her, it is not necessary to drink milk after 1 year old as long as she eats a balanced diet. Of course it is still good for her as a supplement but as a SAHM, taking care of her alone and cooking for her 3 meals and household chores is taking a toll on me. Although she only drinks 3 times a day, but unlatching is the issue. She either latched till she’s deeply asleep or wakes up once unlatched.
And so the thought of weaning her formed.
It’s definitely hard, but with consistency and persistence, baby will eventually adapt. Here are some tips if you are going to wean your baby off:
1. Choose a substitute
It’s possible not to drink milk at all. But she been drinking milk for all her life (15 months that is ;)), and milk is still good for growth. So do make a decision if you want to substitute breastmilk with formula milk or fresh milk or none at all.
Either option of milk has a wide range of variety and it’s good to do some research or let your little one try which he or she likes. If you decided to go with no milk, just ensure little one still gets plenty of calcium from other sources like cheese or yogurt.
We decided to go with fresh milk, for the convenience and we think lo prefers the taste of fresh milk compared to formula milk powdery taste. We tried to buy organic where possible but we are fine with normal milk too.
Developing the habit of drinking milk other than from mummy is very important. Prior to the “big plan”, we started with a small glass a day. She grew to like it and happily grab the cup whenever we offered her. We did this for a while and increased to 2 times a day while still offering breastmilk.
While habit is important, baby must be able to associate fresh milk as “milk”. A few times when she ask for “milk milk”, I will suggest fresh milk and she will take it and gently go to sleep after. And this is when we decided it’s time.
4. The big plan
For us the more difficult time is night feeding as she relies heavily on the comfort of latching to sleep. She cried, and cried a lot. And keeps waking up in the middle of the night crying for milk. First few times she rejected the milk and continued to cry and grabbed me. It broke my heart and my sanity but we stick to our plan and standby milk for her.
5. Milk supply
While we have to persist, you need to note when your body is adapting well as well. You can’t stop feeding immediately. Milk will still be produced and baby will be crying. Substitute one of the feed for a few days and increase gradually. Both baby and your body will take time to adapt and I did latched her to ease the lumps, because it means my body needs time to clear the milk too.
The big plan took 3 nights for baby to accept fresh milk and went back to sleeping through the night. But before that she had been drinking fresh milk for a month. By the fourth day she is completely off breastmilk.
While I feel relief that lo is adapting well to fresh milk, I do miss our cuddling and bonding time. Life is always full of dilemmas, guess we can never have the best of both worlds!