Wednesday, November 05, 2008

weaning and whining

Thanks everyone for your nice comments about my issue with my mother. I'm sure she doesn't intend any kind of cruelty, I think she just thinks it cute and I'm she has no idea that it bothers me. I’m not sure yet whether I'll say anything or not, but your support is very helpful.

new topic...

I'm really struggling with the subject of weaning. My goal had been to nurse for a year, and I made that goal, which I am incredibly proud of. It wasn't always easy but I felt very strongly that it was absolutely the best for them, and so I was willing to do whatever it took. Hardship for me didn't matter - I wanted them to have the best and I strongly believe that breastmilk is best. I didn't really have a goal or a plan beyond the year, I figured I would figure that out when the time came, but I also knew that I never intended to abruptly wean. The babies have slowly been dropping feedings on their own, so I never had to work to drop any nursing sessions, it's been pretty easy so far. We're recently down to three nursings a day, most days. My thought lately had been that we could continue with morning and evening feedings for a while, wean off the daytime feeding soon.

But - I think Daniel is weaning himself. It's more and more of a struggle to get him interested in nursing. He squirms and arches, gets distracted, wants to grab at my hair and face and glasses, sometimes bites, and more and more lately he just flat out refuses. I think he's telling me that he's over it. 13 and a half months is not bad, but I had ideas of going longer. I didn't really think that he would be the one to decide when it was over - I thought that I would gradually wean him, rather than him weaning himself. There are times when this feels like rejection. I struggle with whether to keep trying, or to just decide that it's over and let it go. I think if I quit nursing him today he wouldn't miss it. That makes me a little sad, to think that it might be over, that I might never nurse my little boy again. I didn't know that this coming to an end would make me emotional, but it is.

There are definitely days where I feel ready to be done with having someone or something attached to my boobs, or at least ready to take a break from it (except that you can't just take a week off and expect to go back). I also feel like I spent so much time trying to make sure that they got nothing but breast milk, that it seems strange to give them something else. Even though I know that's what everybody does, it just seems so foreign. I am giving them some bottles of soy milk now, as I'm not pumping enough to fully supply their needs when I'm not home, but every time I do it I feel like I'm giving them something very foreign.

I have given them a bit of cows milk - but we very quickly realized that it makes Daniel really constipated, so bad idea. I do add a little cream into stuff for extra fat, but for now we're staying away from drinking straight cows milk. I've tried other milks (oat, almond, rice, etc.), they were ok but don't have much nutritional value. So we've been doing some soy milk with a little cream added, and usually mixed with a breast milk - sometimes 50/50, sometimes less BM if I haven't been able to pump much. (although there's this nagging concern about too much soy not being healthy, especially with boys - but I'm not sure what to do about that - I'm not going to give him cows milk and make him all miserable and constipated, that's not worth it). I can keep pumping and give him all the pumped milk so that at least he's getting some - but probably I need to stop that at some point. How long to people keep pumping for? And my pumping output has been in the toilet these days - the old boobs just aren't responding to the pump very well. And it seems a little silly to do much to try to increase my supply 13 months in.

It's funny really, this seems to be one of the first times I've really struggled with a decision when it comes to these babies. Everything else has come pretty naturally and it was pretty easy to determine what was the right thing to do. But now I don't know - keep trying to nurse? transition full time to bottles? bottles of what? and then there's the whole bottle thing - because some people will tell you to start weaning off the bottle at one year - but my guys are only interested in drinking water from a sippy cup.

ok, rambling, whining, confused. Perhaps the answer is there but I'm just not ready to accept it.
Oh, and for what it's worth - Callie on the other hand is more interested in the boobs than ever. She will nurse as often as I let her, she has started asking to nurse a lot. So I guess I could keep nursing her and just let him have bottles. But what in the bottle? and the circles start again...

8 comments:

Thalia said...

Oh I do empathise. We gave up breastfeeding when I went back to work, so not that particular aspect, but at 13 and a bit months is becoming so much more independent, doesn't come straight to me when I get home from work etc. It's hard to see them pulling away, but I guess it's part of them becoming little people...

Rebecca said...

Hey! I found your blog through another...hope you don't mind if I follow. I have B/G twins too, so it's nice to know I'm not alone!

I don't have much experience with weaning since I didn't produce enough milk to get that far (full-time)...good luck with whatever you choose to do with them...I am still having trouble giving up the one that I do per day!

cat said...

I really know what you mean about rejection, or fealing like it. The little Miss weaned herwself at nine months - almost straight to a sippy cup and I fealt cheated out of breastfeeding. I weaned The Boys at a year due to a health problem I had onto a good formula for 1 year olds and we have just moved onto sippy cups.

cat said...

I really know what you mean about rejection, or fealing like it. The little Miss weaned herwself at nine months - almost straight to a sippy cup and I fealt cheated out of breastfeeding. I weaned The Boys at a year due to a health problem I had onto a good formula for 1 year olds and we have just moved onto sippy cups.

Jaimie said...

It certainly sounds like he is ready to be done. I have had no luck at weaning as Jake is like Callie. The more he can nurse the better. However, I don't think he gets all that much milk from Mommy. We don't have an option on which kind of milk he gets so it wasn't hard for me to decided there either.

However, I can understand that it is hard. When I had a huge drop in milk some months ago I got very emotional about stopping nursing. I was doing something for my son that no one else could do. Now, however, I feel more like a pacifier for my son and I would like to stop and plan to very soon. That will be a struggle. It is embarrassing when we are in the checkout line after shopping and Jake is tired and he is trying to yank my shirt up so he can nurse. He even pulls my shirt down now when he is finished and says "all done" and puts his hands up. To me this means we need to stop.

Bea said...

Gosh. No idea. I can see how you would feel sad about the end of the era, though.

Bea

Anonymous said...

Carol,I feel for you. My twin girls both self-weaned for daytime feedings (though continued to nurse at night) at 4 mos. when I went back to work. Even though I work at home and could have nursed them all day. I felt so rejected I cried but eventually just pumped for their daytime bottles and still fed them at night. There are just so many things for them to do now, take it as a healthy sign that Danny is interested in learning more. Hope you all find a nice balance! Michele

Karen said...

My babies self-weaned this week, at just over 14 months. I had the exact same feelings you describe here - and I totally understand. It feels so ... abrupt. Even though I'd planned to wean gradually soonish, I never figured they would reject ME! Gah!

Re: sippy cups vs. bottles... my pediatrician would be fine with the babies only drinking water at this point, if they refuse to drink any milk in a sippy cup. As long as they are otherwise meeting their caloric and nutritional needs with food, they don't *need* the milk. Also, if you stop offering bottles all together, they really will eventually be willing to take other things in a sippy cup. Honest!

Finally, if you're worried about the soy, you can also offer rice milk. You will not have the problems with the dairy component, but you won't have the problems of the phytoestrogens that you have with soy.

Good luck!