Friday, April 5, 2013

Weaning the Italian Way

My Little Miracle

It's been a while since I have blogged with my hands full with work, baby and life but I had to take some time out to write about my experience in weaning.  I often search the Internet for baby advice but didn't seem to find anyone in the same situation as me. So, I hope that this blog  may help another mother through the trials and tribulations of weaning.

I am a stay at home mom, juggling a work at home job, maintaining the household and it's daily dirty duties, and most importantly, caring for my precious, little, too cute you want to eat him, Tasmanian devil whose got too much energy in him for my own good.  Whoaaaa that was a mouthful.

I am with my baby 24/7 and when I mean 24/7, I truly mean 24/7.  He is now 20 months and still doesn't sleep through the night.  He still wakes up every one or two hours.  My baby never drank from a bottle again after two months when I stopped supplementing him with formula.  Since I was always with him, I always nursed and had no need to pump.  At first, the two hour feedings were consistent.  Then when I started giving him solids, they lessened in time but not feedings as he always still wanted to nurse after eating.  Then, it definitely became a comfort thing whenever he just needed me as a pacifier.  I tried to resist, but it was hard when he would get upset so it was just easier to give in.

So, when it came to his first birthday, and the day I wanted to wean, it was practically impossible.  I tried doing the slow route by weaning feedings but he just wasn't having it.  I tried putting lemon on my boobs but he would just make the sour face, then try again and again and then just got use to it!  I didn't want to go cold turkey but part of me thinks I wasn't ready to wean and my baby wasn't either.  I didn't want to force him.  Besides, they do say it's beneficial to breastfeed until two years old so we weren't doing any harm.

A couple months passed and there were days where I truly had enough.  I'm not a bad mother, and any mother can relate, but some days were just exhausting when he got too attached to my boob and wanted it constantly.  Those were the days where I wanted to stop. Then there were those days when baby was sick or got hurt and nursing him immediately soothed him and that soothed me as well.  Breastfeeding is truly an amazing experience, an immense gift from God, and a beautiful relationship between mother and baby.

Then, one day, a week shy of his 20 month mark, I took him out to visit family and when I came home, I realized he hadn't asked for milk for five hours.  A true record.  So, I thought, okay let's give it another try.  My sister-in-law also suggested putting band aids on my boobies so that when he did try to go for them he would see that I had a boo boo and they weren't accessible.  It worked! When he tried to go for them, he looked at the band aids and started to cry but just for a little while and then got distracted.  He cried much less than any other time I tried to wean which made me realize maybe he was finally ready.  I then had to prepare myself for a rough night.

It went much smoother than I expected.  He would wake up a couple times and look for my boob, but then I resisted and held him tight and he was able to fall back sleep again in my arms, holding on tight.  This went on for another three or four days, each day getting easier and easier.

He is now finally weaned! I can't believe it.  It's ironic, when you give birth, the first month or so is so stressful when you are trying to nurse and pump and make them latch on and want you instead of the bottle.  Then comes this milestone, where you are doing what you can to stop.  Motherhood is truly a unique experience.

And before I forget, the advice that I must share with you all that I have not found on the Internet.   My Italian mother-in-law advised me to put perfume on my nipples when weaning as it stopped the production of milk and eased the pain.  I thought this was pretty wild and figured I would still have to pump to release some of the engorgement, but to my pleasant surprise, it did just that!  When you are weaning, and not giving your baby any milk, spray perfume as many times as necessary directly on your nipples.  Magic.

Okay, I think blog has been long enough and you may have a little one to get back to as well but good luck and if you are ever stressed out in being a mother, or may feel like you aren't the best, just remember you are not alone, and you are doing the best that you could, and most importantly, your baby thinks you are quite perfect in every way.