My body is once again my body
Well, we did it!
This post is all about boobs, so I recommend sitting this one out if you aren't a lactating mother.
There was a time when the idea of weaning sent me into great panic. Not only was Lane crazy about boobs and basically tearing at my shirt when he saw me, but I had anxiety when we cut back feedings and I thought weaning was going to send my hormones into overdrive and my panic attacks into every day occurrences. This didn't happen. I'm totally fine.
Why we did it: I am proud to say I exclusively fed Lane, no bottles, no solid food, for 8 straight months. Woohoo. Not easy. Once food was introduced, I still fed him 13billion times a day until 11 months. Then, I started getting premenopausal symptoms when we nursed. With my let-down I would have a hot flash. I experienced extreme discomfort with my lady parts. Basically my lack of hormones, suppressed by breastfeeding, were driving me crazy. I decided to "start the weaning process" with the idea that we would still be feeding for 6 months and he'd be fully weaned by 18 months.
How we did it: First, I set limits during the day. He could feed in the morning, before lunch, before dinner, and at night. This cut out a ton of daytime feedings that weren't actually feedings, but comfort nursings. I offered him water, milk, banana, instead. This was difficult for two-ish days. He cried and didn't understand what was going on, but he caught on fast and started eating a ton more solid food. Second, I dropped those two mid-day feeds. This was easy. He was used to eating now, and used to me saying no. He didn't mind this at all. Third, I dropped the night feed. Everyone said this was the hardest to give up, so I dropped it first in hopes that we'd bypass any emotional drama since he'd still be feeding in the morning. It worked. Colt put him to bed for two nights while I left the house. The third night I put him to bed with cuddles and love and no breastfeeding. He was kind of fussy, but nothing too dramatic. The fourth night, he was 100% fine. Lastly, I kept the morning feed for two weeks. Not because Lane wanted it, but because I was trying to stretch this out to 18 months, and we were still in month 13. One morning Colt brought Lane to bed and I basically had to force him to eat. He was ready to wake up and wanted no part in it. I had also realized a day prior that I no longer had a let-down. And so, it was done. The whole process took about a month.
After effects: It's been about three weeks since we've finished and I've had no residual effects. No wacky hormones, no anxiety attacks. I had a serious oversupply problem leading to mastitis when Lane was 5 months old, but haven't had any infections since we stopping or even engorgement. I'm assuming this was due to our gradual decline. I also expected to feel something - either excitement that I finished or a twinge of sadness that "my baby was growing up" but I don't feel either of these things. It's what happened, as natural as anything else.
What I would do differently: I would have pumped around 6 months and built a freezer stash to help with our transition to goats milk. Lane wants nothing to do with any milk/milk substitute and our doctor confirmed he needs to be on something for healthy fat/protein. I'm still figuring out what to do about this.
Thanks for everyone's sweet responses to my last post. I've calmed down, but am still a little scared. I'll know more details about what's coming for me soon.