So you had a baby that you took care of all throughout the night. Its sole survival was based upon you waking up to let it nurse at the sake of your own sleep and health. And now, that journey is coming to an end. It comes with so many emotions.
I think back to my daughter as a newborn and how nursing hurt terribly bad for us, as we suffered together with thrush for months until we finally found a cure. The lightning pains that I fought through to be able to feed my own baby were immense. We got through it and I still never loved breastfeeding. Didn’t like the feeling, didn’t like all the time it took, didn’t like the pain I endured.
Then why, when it came to an end, was I so sad? All the time that I previously had with my daughter seemed like it was being taken away. I wasn’t the only one who could feed her any more, I didn’t have that exclusive opportunity. I wasn’t the only one who could put her to sleep any more. I had been pumping and saving milk for a family who adopted a baby that would visit monthly to pick it up and now I would never see them again because there was no need.
With both my daughter and my son, I weaned them in a similar way. First I started by feeding them a bottle of breast milk at one feeding a day instead of the breast. Then, I would increase it to more and more feedings, until all of them were out of a bottle. Once all feedings were taken from a bottle, I then put in half breast milk, half whole milk (warmed). Once you feel it’s time, you can slowly reduce the amount of breast milk and increase the whole milk quantity in the bottle. This way, both your baby and your breasts get used to it. The less you pump and nurse your baby, the less milk you will produce, gradually over time (preventing mastitis).
I started with around three ounces of breast milk and three ounces of whole milk and then switched it over until it was at six ounces of whole milk (or however much your baby drinks in a sitting). Once they are used to drinking just the whole milk, you can decrease the actual amount that is in the bottle. After a few weeks, I went down to four ounces. After a couple more weeks, I went down to 2 ounces. You’ll do this until they really just don't care or need it any more and will drink cold milk out of a sippy cup or bottle on their own.
It’s time to be more free now. Time to sleep through the night. Time to do more things on our own that we used to be able to enjoy. Time to love on those babies and try all the things they can eat and do. Time to wean.