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It's Official. I Am No Longer a Nursing Mother

Looking for The Lactivist? She's retired. But you CAN still find Jen blogging. These days, she's runs A Flexible Life. Join her for life, recipes, projects and the occasional rant.

Monday, January 07, 2008

I posted a week or so ago to let you know Emmitt had started sleeping through the night, thus eliminating his last nursing session without any help from me.

At the time, I wondered if that really meant he was weaned, or simply meant he was sleeping through the night. While it had been 10 days since he'd nursed, I didn't really figure I could say he was weaned until it had been "tested."

By tested, I mean until he woke up at night and I had to get him back to sleep.

The last time Emmitt nursed was December 21st. While I got up with him in the middle of the night on December 22nd, when I offered to nurse, he turned his head away and said no. I rocked him a bit before putting him back to bed and that was the end of it. For the next two weeks, he slept through the night all but once. That night Greg got up with him and had no problem settling him back to bed.

This past Friday night, Emmitt woke up at midnight. Greg was still up, so he went in to settle him down.

Emmitt would have none of it. He began pitching a royal fit and started yelling "mommy!" So, I dragged myself out of bed thinking "rats. we were so close!" and headed downstairs to get him.

I walked into the room and he literally dove for me. I gathered him in my arms and he buried his head in my shoulder. Then he pointed at the door of his room and shouted, so I walked out the door. Then he pointed down the hall. So I walked down the hall. Then he pointed to the kitchen, then to the fridge and finally, to the sippy cup of milk sitting on the shelf.

After I laughed out loud, I picked it up and handed it to him. We walked back to his room, sat down in the rocking chair where we rocked and sang songs for a few minutes. Finally, he handed me the sippy cup. I picked him up, gave him a kiss, settled him into his crib and he rolled over and went back to sleep.


We're officially done. :)

I know, I know, if I was a "good mom" I'd be all sad and sentimental and broken hearted that my baby is growing up...but right now, I'm just relieved at getting to sleep for the first time in 18 months. I'll be sad and reflected in another month or so when those continual late night wakings are but a distant memory. ;)

So, that leaves me with some upcoming posts to make.

1.) My "after" thoughts on the weaning process
2.) What I think about 14 months of breastfeeding verses 14 months of EPing
3.) What were the pros and cons of breastfeeding

Probably a few others as well. If there's anything specific you've wondered about or wanted my take on, let me know in the comments and I'll either address them there or put up a new post.

To my readers who are either in process of weaning or preparing to, I'll say this. Plan LOTS of time and lots of patience and know that with a little gentle encouragement, you CAN wean your child without trauma for either of you. You WILL get to sleep again, I promise. :)

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  1. Blogger Stacie | 9:02 AM |  

    I'll also note that you can night wean (which we just did when 17 months of no sleep finally broke me) and still have a day time nursing relationship.

  2. Blogger Jaime | 9:07 AM |  

    That is wonderful Jennifer, I know it has to be a huge relief. And you are a "good Mom". You have every right to be happy for this new chapter for you and Emmitt.

    Now, go enjoy those zzz's! =)

  3. Blogger Jennifer Laycock | 9:27 AM |  

    Excellent point Stacie. One that I should have mentioned.

    Emmitt gave up his day time feedings on his own. Simply stopped caring about them. His last sessions were before bed and during the night.

    Honestly, I've wondered sometimes if I would have been willing to go longer if it had been the other way. Him wanting to nurse some during the day and sleeping through the night might have made a HUGE difference in how I viewed it.

    Heck, him simply having been willing to take expressed milk from a bottle or sippy would have done it. ;)

    But, that's not the hand I got dealt. Even trying to encourage him to shift nursing to the day time didn't work. He just had no interest.

    I do know of quite a few moms who gently night weaned around 12-18 months and then continued on long term.

  4. Blogger daisybones | 10:03 AM |  

    In case anyone else is interesting in the aforemention night-weaning with intent to continue, I'm in this process with my 19-month old. I'm following Dr. Jay Gordon's plan which is here and our progress is at my blog (http://daisybones.com) in the "night weaning" category.

    Way to go, Jennifer! What a happy "ending" :) I love the sippy seeking story- that would have made me laugh out loud too!

  5. Blogger Eilat | 10:56 AM |  

    I find it totally fascinating that Emmitt would not take breastmilk from a cup or bottle, but cow's milk was OK.

    My son will not drink cow's milk. He doesn't like it. Since he is still nursing, I think in his mind it isn't "real" milk.

    He took a bottle of bm just fine at daycare until about 13-14 months and then weaned himself from the bottle. He had no interest in it at that point. I wonder what he would do now if I gave him breastmilk in a cup? I don't think I have enough in there to express a meaningful drink anyway, for the sake of expderiment...

  6. Blogger Jennifer Laycock | 11:07 AM |  

    I think in Emmitt's mind cow's milk is no more "related" to breast milk than white grape juice, orange juice or water.

    I think he just saw cow's milk as "another thing to drink."

    If you think about it, it makes sense. I gave up trying to give him a bottle of milk at 3 months. He might have tried a bottle at 6 months, but that's probably it. Just didn't have a reason to push it.

    So, it's not like he knows what breast milk looks like. (To him, breast milk looks like a boob.) So he wouldn't get a sippy of cow's milk, drink it and be surprised it wasn't breast milk. KWIM?

  7. Blogger Eilat | 11:29 AM |  

    Yeah, I see what you are saying.

    "To him, breast milk looks like a boob."

    Hilarious! LOL!

    The psychology of those little guys is so amazing to me.

  8. Blogger Crystal R. | 11:31 AM |  

    Congratulations! I am so jealous. My son was up all night last night with cries of "mil!" Water would not do.

  9. Blogger Jennifer Laycock | 11:44 AM |  

    Yeah, I laughed when I typed that.

    It's truth though. He doesn't like my sister-in-law. She's built the same as me and when she babysat, he was absolutely furious that she, who clearly must have milk in those things would NOT give it to him. :)

    We came home early that night and found my brother-in-law holding Emmitt while he (Emmitt) shot the evil eye at my sister-in-law. LOL

  10. Blogger Darlene | 5:02 PM |  

    Congratulations on getting to this major point in your life with Emmitt. I would say you're probably not a 'good mom'...you're probably much closer to being a 'super mom' with the superlative being of quality not in how many tasks you do in a day.

    As for your feelings, they'll change over time. I loved bfing, I absolutely did. But I was soooo happy when we were finished. Maybe some of it was a bit selfish 'cause I didn't have to worry about every bitty thing I put in my mouth or my body.

    I venture to say that you'll experience many emotions related to bfing as time goes by. Even as a grandmother, I miss being needed in that way. That was such a close and special time. I wish, too, that I had the ability to start again just to donate all my milk to a child who needs it.

    Now that you've 'graduated' I wouldn't be surprised to see you take that time and energy to another level as you continue your mission to educate and support those moms who are still breastfeeding.

    Blessings to all for a very happy and healthy New Year.

  11. Blogger Renata | 5:31 PM |  

    I've been without sleep for 5 years so I'm a bit jealous ;-) but really, I am glad this worked out as smoothly as it did.

    On an unrelated note: I better make sure my husband and I don't yell, "hit him" too loud tonight! Two of my kids are still up :-)

    Go Buckeyes!

  12. Blogger Renata | 5:31 PM |  

    I guess I should say without a full night's sleep.

  13. Anonymous Melissa | 8:39 PM |  

    I would just like to say congrats and thank you for sharing this process with us. I'll admit that when I first read the post when you revealed that you were weaning Emmitt, my knee-jerk reaction was "how can she? she's the lactivist!" I quickly came to my senses and I completely understand why you made your decision. I want to commend you also on doing it gently, despite having setbacks (ear infections are awful!). You are an excellent example for mothers out there. It turns out that your final weaning was a bit child-led :)

  14. Blogger Mommy's Getaway | 9:07 AM |  

    I had a bunch of mix emotions when Lucas weaned - relief, sadness, happiness. I felt like I was going through the post-natal hormones all over again!

    Congratulations on making this weaning process so easy on both of you! That deserves a big ol' kudos!

  15. Blogger Stacy | 9:33 AM |  

    Congrats on the successful weaning. You mentioned in anohter post last week I think (I can not find it now) that there was a window to wean around 19-22 months. Can you tell me where you got that info. My 19 month old just became really interested in nursing at 17 months, when he learned to ask for it. Now he asks to go to bed at night and down for his nap because he knows he can nurse as he goes to sleep. This is working well but I am so ready to wean. I would like to keep the night time nursing and maybe the nap time nursing but would like to be done with the late afternoon nursing and the 4 am and 6 am nursings. I am hopeing that window of opportunity you talked about will help us int his process. THanks! and again, congratulations on weaning. I hope you will continue to use your blog for BF activism and updates on your little ones.

  16. Anonymous Mrs. Vandelay | 6:26 PM |  

    Congrats! I am both happy for you but sad you are moving on to a new chapter in your blog. I have enjoyed reading it so much. Your honest, forthright, RATIONAL thinking is so refreshing. I wish there were more like you in the BF camp so that scared new mothers could feel like breastfeeding is doable and not an all or nothing proposition (either you nurse your child, no pumps, no bottles, au natural, for an extended period of time, or FEEL THE GUILT).

    THANK YOU, THANK YOU, THANK YOU. Can you tell I have a crush on your blog?

  17. Blogger Jennifer Laycock | 7:10 PM |  

    Aww thanks Mrs Vandelay. ;) I'm not going anywhere though. Still plan on blogging here, just with a slightly different perspective perhaps. :)

  18. Anonymous Lori | 9:51 PM |  

    Congrats! I just wanted to mention that you can (night)wean, and still end up with a child who refuses to sleep through the night. We night weaned in Oct when Pete turned 2, and then weaned completely in Nov, and this kid still won't let me get a full night's sleep. It's getting a bit better, but he really has no clue how to relax, unwind, and put himself (back) to sleep.

    He is actually still quite attached to my breasts and now will often cop a feel when he's upset or falling asleep (either at bedtime or if I'm up with him in the middle of the night). Sometimes he'll accept daddy, but sometimes he just requires mommy (and her breasts).

  19. Anonymous Kris | 11:19 PM |  

    I just wanted to say I am very interested in hearing your thoughts on nursing vs. EPing. I found myself EPing when we got home from the hospital and my baby screamed bloody murder every time I tried to nurse him. After visiting 3 different lactation specialists, I stopped offering and have been EPing ever since (7 mos now), but still feeling a bit sad about missing out on that nursing relationship. Although, had he nursed in the beginning, I probaby wouldn't have found myself with a freezer full of milk and a reason to contact my local milk bank :)

  20. Blogger mamatutwo | 8:13 PM |  

    Oh, this makes me think of what's coming up with my little one. He's my third (and very probably my last), and he is still an avid nurser. He's still avid about it way past the ages of my other two. He's 2 years and 3 months. Hmmm.....

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