I think we are coming to the end of breastfeeding. I’ve noticed over the past month or so that FrostedBaby has been less attached to it. I forget how much I said in my last post about it aside from the nursing strike. And I think I also mentioned my intense sensitivity that comes and goes, assumedly with my hormones and cycles though I can’t seem to find much correlation. He’s also not latching properly on one side, he often tries to go out with a narrow mouth (more like he’s trying to suck on his sippy cup straw) and I have to latch and relatch repeatedly, so on top of the severely annoying feeling of him eating properly, I get the pain of him not latching well and being irritated about that too.
So for the past while I’ve been feeling that I was ready to move on but he showed no interest in doing so beyond what he’d reached for the past while – nursing morning, naptime (if he takes one), bedtime, and in the night if he wakes up. The past month or so he’s mostly slept through without waking up and sometimes shows little interest in nursing when he has woken up, a few times just fussing until I put him back in bed even though I had tried to let him go back to sleep without going in.
After that night when he went back to bed without nursing, I decided that he must be moving away from needing it so much and that due to my sensitivity, I am ready to encourage him in that direction. I’ve been putting him down for his naps with no nursing and he’s been fine with that. When he got his shot last week at his 15 month appointment, I offered him my boob and he didn’t want it, he preferred to be hugged instead.
I asked at my weekly BFing support group about weaning. My main thing is that I don’t want to force it on him, especially dropping the bedtime one. I feel like he’s moving in that direction himself and because he’s been so attached to me, I don’t want to traumatize him or anything. I was told that I’m correct in reading his cues that he is moving away from it. It was suggested that I do the “don’t offer, don’t refuse” method, which is basically don’t give him my boob unless he asks. If he does, then I won’t refuse him. That way he can phase it out as he needs, but if he does want/need it then he’s not getting upset.
My other concern is engorgement so I’m doing it slowly. The first step is to drop the morning feed since he’s less attached to it and I’ve often thought that unless he wakes up starving, that he wouldn’t really miss it. This morning was the first time I didn’t bring him into bed and nurse him. I woke up before him and took my shower, then he was awake when I came out so I just got him up and did our morning routine without that part. He didn’t seem to care.
Last night he woke up at 3:45 and was fine on the first side and then he latched wrong on the second side, and when I tried to encourage him to go back on with a wide mouth, he started crying and wouldn’t calm down until I put him back in bed and left. So he hadn’t eaten for over four hours when he woke up (he was up around 8:30 or so) and hadn’t even had a full amount. But he was still very interested in playing in the bath for a while before getting out and didn’t seem to be looking for an opportunity to nurse.
I’m not sure when I’m going to start trying cutting out the bedtime feeding. I want to create a new routine, where we’ll hopefully replace the nursing with storytime so we can still snuggle. I love that part and one thing I’m sad about lately is that unless he’s nursing he doesn’t have a lot of interest in the snuggling part – he just wants to be in bed so he can put himself to sleep. Before he wanted both and for a while I had to snuggle him to sleep, but now once he’s done eating he either wants to be in bed or he wants to go and play. This does make bedtime easier and faster and means that anyone can do it (well, once the nursing is gone) since I’m not doing anything special anymore (unless he actually is still super attached to it being me doing the nothing :P) but I have always looked forward to the closeness after a busy day.
On the other hand, he is still very attached to me. He takes multiple breaks in his playing to come and hug me, he loves being held and carried by me, he’s always interacting with me. So I don’t really feel that he’s moving away and replacing me, which is nice.
I did miss the snuggle time in the morning since I usually bring him to bed to nurse and we all four (me, FrostedBaby, Husband, and the cat) snuggle in bed together before FrostedBaby is off to play and crawl around.
My other concern is if he’s not nursing, what do I give him if/when he wakes up in the night and is hungry? I don’t love the idea of having to get him real food. I think we are going to get him some homo milk to drink when he needs it – maybe first thing if he wakes up hungry, at bedtime if he needs it to fill himself up (I make sure he has a good amount of protein at night and he usually goes to bed fairly soon after, but just to top him up), and in the night if he needs it. I’m not nuts about that since why have another species’ milk if he can have some made specifically for him? And that’s partly why I’m not forcing the issue. And this is all assuming he actually will drink it, of course. He hasn’t had any from me, although he did steal the sippy cup of milk from a friend and seemed interested in it.
I mostly feel bad because if it weren’t for sensitivity issues (which are only sometimes, but it seems like it’s 2 weeks out of every month right now, and it’s not even pain, it’s just this really annoying feeling) I would be fine to continue indefinitely. Although I must say I feel ready to have my body fully back, especially if we are hoping for a second. The chances of that happening soon are pretty much zero right now, but in any case I would like to have my body back for at least a little while before having to start all over again. I feel like I’ve enjoyed the breastfeeding and I have good memories but I’m ready to be done and I’m glad that he seems to be going there too.
The one thing I am sort of excited about is that it might mean that other people will be able to put him down, feed him in the night, and in the morning. Maybe that means I can go out over bedtime, maybe Husband and I can go away overnight sometime (okay, that’s a bit longer again, I’m not sure I’m ready for that quite yet, but we’re not at the minimal point of that anyway). I’m sure it will be nice for Husband not to feel helpless and unable to do that, I know it’s been a source of frustration for him at times.