Thursday night marked the culmination of over twenty-two months of breastfeeding. We started our weaning journey sixteen months ago, when we offered Sir his first tastes of solid food.
While Sir was enthusiastic about solid food from the get-go, the majority of his calories continued to come from breast milk until about the 10-month mark, and the balance has continued to shift to more food, less milk ever since.
When my job ended last summer, I continued with the regularly-timed nursing sessions that made it possible for me to breast feed instead of pumping at work (i.e., he wasn’t nursing on demand, and really hadn’t (other than overnight) since I went back to work when he was 14 weeks old). The routine feedings worked well for us, and I didn’t see any need to switch things up at that point.
Our process of eliminating milk feedings felt pretty natural. We went from five times a day to four times a day somewhere around the 12-month mark, then dropped another feeding around 15-months when he went from two naps a day to a single nap.
We stuck with the 3-a-day routine for quite awhile. I wanted to continue nursing through the winter sickness/germ season, and winter weather certainly encouraged snuggling up.
In March, when the time change pushed his nap wake-up time very close to the time of his afternoon [solid food] snack, I dropped the post-nap feeding.
I wasn’t really sure where we would go from there, other than knowing that breast feeding would culminate sometime before our current nine day separation.
Six or seven weeks ago, I dropped the first-thing-in-the-morning feeding. He seemed happy enough to get out of bed, have a big drink of water, and reunite with all of his toys while I made breakfast, so we went with it.
That left us with the before-bed feeding. I didn’t plan to continue that feeding for more than a few weeks, partly because I didn’t expect my milk supply to last with such infrequent nursing sessions. Somehow he kept finding a bit of milk every night, and I had no compelling reason to stop nursing him, so we continued right up to the eve of his departure for Florida.
I held him a little extra long that night, gazing at his sweet face and heavy eyelids, savoring the end of this stage of our relationship.
Related post: Breastmilkin’ it
A sweet story. It is a bittersweet time of life for a mom but part of the beautiful journey.
I’m grateful that we were able to do it so gradually, in a way that seemed to work for both of us.
congrats to both of you! It was bittersweet for me too. I also chose to continue to BF past the first year to help her through the flu season (which kept her flue-free!), and once that was done I kept going because it made naptimes and bedtimes so much easier, it continued to keep her healthy, and it helped me cherish those last few memories/moments of babyhood.
Oh man. I just got a wave of sadness thinking about the end of breastfeeding. It’s still months away for me, but I know it will be tough. 😦 Thanks for sharing your story.