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Advice, Please

Weaning.

How, When, Why?

Meeka has always been a boob girl. She loves to nurse. She latched on immediately in the hospital, and has been trying to live attached to my boob ever since. She’s currently working out her own exercise routine, tentatively called “Breastfeeding Gymnastics” – and no, it’s not the boobs doing the gyrating (thank god!) but rather, the baby trying to see how many ways she can contort herself while still keeping the nipple in position (she’s got some good rotation going, as well as some pretty impressive one-leg-only poses)

Of course, the converse of this is that she is not now, and never has been, a bottle babe. Since she is in daycare, she does get them … But doesn’t really like to drink from them. And, like her mommy, can be very stubborn. And good at refusing what she doesn’t want. And so – some days when I pick her up, she’s had only 4oz from a bottle. (Other days, she’s had 20oz. So. Yeah) They offer, she refuses. And refuses. And refuses.

Which leads to a bit more night feeding than I’d like. OK, a lot more night feeding than I’d like.

Now, my basic parenting philosophy is to do what is best for the baby – go where she leads, etc etc (within reason). Which in this case, seems to be, stick with the boob, lady! Sure. Fine. I’m OK with that, in general…

BUT.

(You knew there was a but)

My problem is that my husband and I are leaving on vacation in 2 months. For 10 days. Without the baby.

She’ll be one year, at that point. My mom is coming to stay with her, in our apartment, her familiar environment. She’ll be going to daycare every day like usual. (Yes, I am still talking myself into this, a bit. Because – I DON’T WANT TO LEAVE MAH BABY!!! MY PRESHUS LITTLE BABY!!! … On the other hand, VACATION! Alone, with my husband, in an exotic locale, to celebrate 5 years of marriage and the end of his training and x y z… But this isn’t a discussion of that, really.)

Sure, it’s 2 months away. A LOT can change in that time (and most likely will). But I know my stubborn little one. I know I need to think and plan for this now. Because it might just take her that long to adjust… But to what? That’s my problem. I don’t quite know what to do with this situation.

Do I stay on course – which is nursing at wake up, upon return from daycare, at bedtime, and then on demand at night? (Generally 1-2x per night, though she’s had a sleep regression recently)

Do I try to gradually wean from the boob? (Ideally get down to wake up and bedtime nursing, perhaps?) And how do I do this? Any tips?

I don’t want to cut it all out now, that’s not on the table. For one thing, I’d like to nurse at least a year. It’s working for us (too well, that’s the problem).

But what would an abrupt cut-off when I leave do?

And… If we’re still going with the nursing then, would we be able to pick it back up when I return? (I know that would mean pumping while away, which I am OK with doing if I thought she’d still want to nurse when I got back. But would she? After 10 days without? I know some kids go right back to it after a 2-3 day break, but a longer one?!?!)

(And I’m also wary of how any changes would affect her milk intake – right now, despite being at daycare all day, the majority of it is via nursing. If I cut this back, then perhaps the bottle intake would go up. But… if it didn’t… DEHYDRATION! My least favorite nemesis, since we went down that road once before… And while we’d be watching closely for that, how to fix it if she’s refusing bottles? ARGH!)

(And yes, given my reading, I should be all zen and “my job is to provide the food, her job is to eat it”. And I am, sort of. But I also know how stubborn she can be about drinking… such that she dehydrated herself once before… So that makes the zen-state a bit harder to attain)

Advice? Please?

She’s offering you the sippy cup. Because she sure isn’t going to drink from it!

Categories: parenting questions
  1. charmcitykim
    2012/04/19 at 12:43 pm

    I can tell you what I’ve done but please take it with a grain of salt. I don’t think there is a “right way” to do it because we all know that not all babies are the same.

    The big difference between you and me is that AM stopped any sort of night nursing around 5 months so I never had to worry about that.

    I just started slowly phasing out my nursing sessions. She took to the bottle pretty easily to it was simple for me. Since she was getting bottles at daycare, I just tried to continue that habit at home on the weekends (but I didn’t start doing that until she was like 9 months old). That way, my body adjusted to the decrease in demand. Then I was just down to nursing in the morning and at night.

    I just stopped the morning nursing session and replaced it with a bottle. I’m also going to be separated from AM for about a week so I’m hoping since we’re down to just the 1, we’ll be okay.

    I think if you just gradually decrease nursing and replace it with a bottle, you’ll be okay by the time you go on vacation. I’ve heard parents say (when talking about trying to wean from the bottle) that you just need to stand firm. If they refuse the cup, they don’t drink. Eventually they come around. I’m not sure how that will work with you and the night nursings (and obviously that will probably lead to a few sleepless nights for you since she might be fussy).

    So… I’m not sure that helped you at all but that’s what I did.

  2. jesser
    2012/04/19 at 6:02 pm

    I am useless on this one. Both of my kids hated (HATED!!!) the boob. They would barely nurse and when they did it was painful and basically fruitless (doesn’t seem like I produced much milk??). I made it 6 mos with T and 5 with B and I was grateful for that … though they were both always supplemented. Good luck with the process whatever you choose!

  3. 2012/04/19 at 10:16 pm

    Wish I could help! V is 18 months and still going strong with her boob love affair. Like charmcity mentioned the bit of weaning we have done has been by offering an alternative instead of boob and this is how I weaned her mid morning and post pm nap feed. However we basically decided a little fussing is ok but if she goes nuts she isn’t ready to drop the feed. Now I generally only nurse one to two times a day bit my philosophy is loosely something like “don’t offer, don’t refuse. ”

    As for when /how to wean for good…no idea. I mostly think I’ll decide on that when one of us is no longer happy with nursing …I have really loved and enjoyed nursing so when it does end I want it to be as drama free as possible!

    I am so happy for you guys and the upcoming trip! I am spending my first ever nights (3) away from V in June (and those aren’t even in a row) and I know how many thoughts and emotions even the planning stages can bring. But you deserve it and weaned or not your little love will be fine in the caring, capable hands of your mom!

  4. 2012/04/30 at 8:54 pm

    I weaned a lot later, so I don’t think I have much advice, other than to be patient- it will happen! Because we weaned so late, we were able to go really slow. But I know that isn’t for everyone. Heck, sometimes I didn’t even think it was for me!

    On the sippy cup front- how many different ones have you tried? We had to try just about every sippy cup we could find to get Pumpkin to take one. She ended up liking the Nuby ones best for the longest time.

    One other idea: I found it helpful to let my girls have as much snuggle time as they wanted when we were weaning, to show them that they could still have mommy even if they couldn’t have my milk. It may have helped. But who really knows!

  5. 2012/04/30 at 9:01 pm

    Ooh, and also- both times, when I tried to drop that last feeding, my kid rebeled. Both times, I backed off for awhile, and then weaned a little later without much drama. So that is another thing to try, if you want.

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