Yesterday was the last day I breastfed Milan. Today was the first official day I started weaning her. I’ve been ready to do this for awhile now. My body is most definitely ready. My boobs are FOR SURE ready. I’ve nursed on demand for almost 2.5 years and as much as I loved it, it was starting to wear me down physically and emotionally. Today I’m sharing some tips on how to stop breastfeeding a toddler with little to no drama.
It was non-stop (literally) all day and all night for the first year and then transitioned into an all day open milk bar. Milan has never taken a bottle or pacifier. I was basically her human bottle and pacifier. I originally planned on nursing only until she was one year old and then one turned into two and well…she’s almost two and a half years old!
I decided a couple months ago that I was going to wait until she grew all twenty of her teeth so that way, she would still be able to nurse when the big molars came in. We’ve never given her anything for teething pain except for frozen blueberries and greek yogurt popsicles. Nursing was her main way of soothing and comfort. Obviously I didn’t want my baby to suffer during the teething process so I held out a little bit longer.
My outfit: Dress: Loft (old, similar HERE) | Shirt: Loft (similar HERE) | Necklace: c/o Henri Bendel | Sandals: Treasure & Bond | Purse: c/o kate spade (similar HERE) | Necklace: c/o Henri Bendel pearl pendant bow necklace
She used to nurse all the time in public and I finally told her earlier this year that she can only “suckle” at home. Shockingly she was totally fine with that and it took only me telling her one time for it to stick. Lately it’s become so incessant at home that I couldn’t get anything done. I couldn’t cook, wash dishes much less go pee without her wanting to nurse. So I made the decision that I was going to slowly wean her off. I would cut down the nursing to only morning, nap time and bedtime. That didn’t go so well so then I tried putting on ACV (apple cider vinegar) on my nipples because so many people swore by this trick. Ha! Milan said yummy and liked the taste and smell. I should have guessed this since she’s bathed in it all her life so of course she’s used to it! I even tried black pepper and she didn’t mind that either. *slaps forehead*
Milan’s outfit: Dress: Old Navy tutu dress (size 18-24 months) | Top: Old Navy fitted striped tee (size 18 months) | Shoes: c/o Freshly Picked leopard moccasins | Organic Tights HERE | Turban: c/o BluTaylor (similar HERE) | Sunglasses (mine but had to bribe her): c/o kate spade
Finally a bunch of mommies told me about the band aid trick. Put band aids on your nipples and tell your baby that mommy has boo boos. At first, I was skeptical. Will this work? After a lot of research, I decided this the best option. I’m doing this. I got this. I set a date (6/11/18) and prepped Milan for several days prior letting her know that she can suckle all she wants but come Monday the 11th, mommy will have band aids on her boobies because they have boo boos. Honestly I wasn’t sure this was going to work because Milan is tenacious and cannot be tricked.
I prepared myself mentally. I was ready. I deserved to get my body back. I needed my sanity back. I thought for sure I wasn’t going to break…
I was SO nervous because Milan and I have a routine down. A schedule. It’s the only way we both know. She wakes up and nurses. She nurses before her naps and before bedtime so this was what we were both accustomed to so how on earth will she handle the sudden change? I wasn’t sure and to be honest, I was scared for my life (lol)!
1. Make a commitment to the process and set a date when you will start. (just like sleep training – read how I sleep trained Milan in under 30 minutes HERE)
2. Have a conversation with your toddler. (I talked to Milan about it everyday leading up to the set date)
3. Stay strong and do NOT give in. Once you start, you cannot go back.
4. Reduce your nursing sessions one by one and/or shorten each nursing session.
5. Have your spouse/partner take over bedtime duty.
6. Try the band aid trick (worked for me).
She woke up at her usual time and before going to get her, I put band aids on my nipples. Walked into her room with my heart pounding out of my chest. I took her downstairs where we usually sit and nurse and told her remember, mommy has boo boos so no suckling. I showed her the band aids and even though I knew she knew that it was coming….she started to cry. The cries got louder and louder and my heart broke. It was only 2 1/2 minutes but felt like eternity. I couldn’t take seeing her like this and a sense of mom guilt rushed over me. I was about to just rip off the band aids and cave but as I put her in position to nurse, she suddenly stopped crying and just laid on my chest. We snuggled for about 10 minutes and talked through everything. She asked to see the band aids again and I showed her and she said it had a texture (lol).
We went about our morning and I was like ok…I can do this! That wasn’t so bad. She ended up skipping her nap because she had this burst of energy. I was prepared for major meltdowns but instead I got the complete opposite. She was so sweet and such a good girl, I was so confused! I kept asking myself, what is happening? I didn’t even care that she skipped her nap because she was so happy.
My outfit: Dress: Old Navy floral dress (size XSP, maxi dress version HERE) | Shoes: Treasure and Bond espadrilles | Jacket: Loft denim jacket (old, similar HERE) | Necklace: c/o Henri Bendel bow necklace | Purse: c/o kate spade new york (similar HERE) | Earrings: c/o Henri Bendel
We decided to take her to Marina Park on the Balboa Peninsula as a reward since she’s never been there before. She had so much fun! Normally when we get home from anywhere, she always demands to nurse. Not today. She took a bath and asked to cuddle before dinner. This was her usual nursing time – before and after dinner so I was panicked about how this was going to play out. We snuggled on the couch and I lost it. As I held her, it just hit me HARD. I couldn’t stop crying. I held her, kissed her and told her how much I loved her and just continued to cry. I was NOT expecting to feel all these emotions. Instead of her having the meltdown like I was anticipating, it was ME! She was so sweet, understanding and tried to make me laugh. She even told me out of the blue she liked jellybeans (lol). I know that she knows why I was crying because this girl is SO incredibly smart and intuitive. How did I get so darn lucky?
Milan’s outfit: c/o Joovy tricycoo | Baby white flamingo dress (18-24 months) | Pink Turban | Old Navy socks (similar HERE) | Old Navy straw tote (similar HERE) | c/o Freshly Picked dalmation moccasins
I’m not usually an emotional person and it takes a lot for me to cry. Today, I ugly cried. So many emotions running through me that it was hard to process. I thought I was ready but then I started to doubt my decision to stop breastfeeding. I felt very guilty. Why would I stop if I’m able to continue nursing? Am I a bad mom? Then the realization that she’s no longer a baby just did it for me. This is when I really lost it. I keep thinking maybe if I keep nursing her, she’ll stay little forever and continue to be my baby. Then thoughts of her not needing me anymore and becoming super independent just freaked me out. She may be my last baby and the only chance I’ll get to nurse. It was an all around sad and very emotional day for me. It’s just another reminder that she’s growing up. 🙁
Motherhood is an experience and journey that you can’t really explain or put into words. The love you feel for your child is just indescribable. Nursing is a bond that is magical and today I felt like a part of me is missing. Almost like I gave something up. At the same time, I feel grateful and blessed to see her go through all these milestones. It’s just so dang hard seeing how fast they change and grow each day. A part of me just wants her to stay my baby forever.
Sorry for the rambling…today’s post is mainly for me. I wanted to document this milestone so I can look back on it later. Thanks for sharing this journey with me. 🙂 XO