To wean or not to wean

I’ve been thinking that maybe it’s finally time to wean baby Finn. As in stopping breastfeeding and switching him to formula.

When he was born, I didn’t think I’d be successful at latching him on but just like that, I’ve been doing it for almost 8 months now. 8 months of powering through the depression. 8 months of having my boob chewed on every 3-4 hours. 8 months of special bonding time with my littlest one.

He’s been adjusting to solids fairly well recently and I’m thinking that the time has come to give my boobs (and the rest of me) a break. Letting someone else (babe, I’m looking at you) take over the feeding for a change so I can maybe sleep through the night for once.

Oh, sweet, uninterrupted nighttime sleep, you and me be needing a date real soon.

With Kirsten, I made it to 9 months of breastfeeding and the day I decided to wean her, I popped the champagne and did a victory dance. But that was because I never managed to latch her on and the whole pumping experience made me feel like Bessie the cow. I couldn’t wait to be done with all the tubes and pumping equipment.

This time around with Finn, I’m really torn about it. I still had to struggle with D-MER these past 8 months but being able to hold him in my arms while he drank was a really special experience and I feel like I’m not quite ready to give it up just yet.

And then there’s his refusal to drink from the bottle to contend with. I’ve tried 4 different brands of bottles and he hates every single one of them. I tried expressed breast milk (even fresh ones right from the boob) and several brands of formula but none of them worked. When I have to leave him with my in-laws for an afternoon, he’ll struggle through each feed and wait for me to appear before attacking my boobs like he’s positively starving.

So I made a list of pros and cons like I usually do when faced with dilemmas.

weaning or breastfeeding

You guys have any advice on somewhat painless weaning techniques? See you in the comments. 

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  • Reply Francesca April 16, 2013 at 6:28 am

    I wean my number 3 via various stages over a long period of times. Started with weekday day feed. She sees me, she refuses bottle and became attached to me. So one fine day, my mum and I just decided to let her cry it out. Once she gets tired, she’ll take the bottle or cry till zzz. Then after one or two times, she gets our point and drinks from bottle. Cold, heartless it may sound but its my last ditch of attempt to get it to her. This continues and the final came when I had food poisoning and used this as a stronger excuse to stop latching her as bf now has become a source of comfort for her rather than a necessity .

    Tough decision but she’s already 18 months and I do not want to let her continue till she’s 2 or 3.

    I’m free now but sometimes I do miss the close feeling and I think she misses it too :)

    • Reply Daphne April 18, 2013 at 1:48 pm

      Sigh I’m so not looking forward to it one way or the other. But wow you made it to 18 months, that’s quite an accomplishment!

  • Reply redpolkadot April 16, 2013 at 8:47 am

    I heard of friends eating a lot of liver to reduce milk supply.
    I am in the same situation now as you were with Kirsten! On the bright side i don’t have to deal with weaning, but I hate the pump with a vengeance after starting my daughter on pumped milk since she was 2 months old. Now she is going on 9 months and I’m still pumping exclusively as I’ve seen the benefits that breastmilk have had … my daughter didnt get a fever after any of her jabs and only just fell ill for the first time this week. So will probably continue while I can still juggle the pumping sessions at work and will revisit moving to formula when she turns 1 or if my supply drops earlier. I still hate being attached to a machine 5 times a day though. :(

    • Reply Daphne April 18, 2013 at 1:50 pm

      Does liver really work? Actually I hate the taste of liver and I didn’t even eat it during confinement.

      Yeah I know how you feel about the pump, it’s so sterile and monotonous. But you’re right about the benefits, I do see a difference in their immune system on breastmilk and formula. Hang in there!

  • Reply Elaine April 16, 2013 at 3:03 pm

    I have only painful weaning techniques – bottle or nothing until he’s willing to take the bottle (took Sophia more than 10 hours). And formula has never worked for me. Sophia would not get anywhere near them. I say wait till Finn is after 1 and just go on to full fat fresh milk. I wasted lots of bm trying to mask just 10ml of formula mixed into an entire bottle of bm and no luck getting any into baby. But with fresh milk, she loves it almost as much as bm.
    It is true, though, that once I stopped bf (a few months past Sophia’s first birthday), she fell sick more often and more violently. So that’s a consideration.
    Elaine´s last post ..Sophia the Lion

    • Reply Daphne April 18, 2013 at 1:51 pm

      OMG that sounds like a nightmare. Great advice with the fresh milk, hopefully he takes to it. But it means I have to do this for another 4 months!!

  • Reply Elaine April 16, 2013 at 3:39 pm

    I nursed my first daughter till she was 4 years old. Never had a drop of formula. I did not regret the special bond that we had, as well as all the good nutrition that she was getting through my milk. I believe that human babies and children are meant to drink human milk, not that of another mammal. It wasn’t always a smooth ride, but I always knew that as long as I was able to breastfeed, it was my child’s birth right to drink her mother’s milk. She didn’t totally self-wean (I had to gently urge her to wean) but she was ready for it when it happened. No tricks, no lies, no force, no tears.

    I’m now nursing my 15mo son (tandem nursed for almost a year) and I’m planning to stick with it till at least 2 years old or beyond, when he’s ready to wean.

    • Reply Daphne April 18, 2013 at 1:53 pm

      Thanks for sharing, Elaine! 4 years is quite remarkable. Guess I’ll continue for the next couple of months and monitor for signs of weaning.

  • Reply sylvy April 16, 2013 at 3:54 pm

    Gradually drop breastfeeds, since he’s established on solids already. Start with the feed that he shows the most readiness to do without or the one which he is the least dependent on. It may take a while – I took a grand total of 6 months to wean my toddler off. Started when he was 13 months old and finally got him to stop latching at 19 months. There might be some crying and resistance and tears but there really is no easy way about it.

    • Reply Daphne April 18, 2013 at 1:55 pm

      He doesn’t seem to be willing to drop any feed LOL. If he doesn’t get breastmilk, he’d rather go hungry and wait till he has access to my boobs again and I feel really bad for making him go hungry. And 6 mths of weaning?? It looks like a long road ahead…

      • Reply sylvy April 19, 2013 at 5:26 am

        Haha! I think it may be best to take it as it comes. You can do the fresh milk thing after he turns one and take it from there? Anyway once your supply dips, the hormones will all come out and have a party at your expense and it’s no joke. Was totally depressed for 2 weeks after I weaned my son off for good.

        Good luck!

  • Reply Madeline Heng April 16, 2013 at 4:16 pm

    I hate to be the one to break it to u but weaning is never painless. At least for the mum. Also the baby decides when they wanna wean. They are moms who are still bf-ing not because they want to but because their child wants to! I mean how do u reject the cute begging face? I couldn’t.. and only managed to stop when she told me one day that she don’t want my milk anymore (cried buckets that day)..

    • Reply Daphne April 18, 2013 at 2:00 pm

      Hahahha thanks ah! Although you’re right, I would be really sad the day he tells me he doesn’t want my milk anymore.

  • Reply Sandra Ang April 16, 2013 at 7:46 pm

    hey babe, that time i bought sage tea to drink to reduce my supply coz i tried prolonging expressing time interval and shorten the pumping time and all didn’twork,worse i had to suffer eengorgement. i only managed to find one shop in sg selling it. it’s in bugis.if u interested, let me know. I’ll try and “dig” out the address for u. :)

    • Reply Daphne April 18, 2013 at 2:01 pm

      Sure, will email you for the contact if I’m planning to try it :)

  • Reply Charissa April 17, 2013 at 11:27 am

    I know, right. I was in your position a few years ago. I breastfed my baby till she was 2 years old. In between, my daughter refused all kinds of formula, and eventually settled on fresh milk. Not any brand, mind you, just Marigold. And nope, no UHT either thankyouverymuch.

    Regarding the boob battle, you may want to try sippy cups or straws or plain drinking from a cup. Worked like a charm for my daughter. We started her on the Combi straw cup at 7 months for water, cos she never did figured out how to use the sippy cup. I’ve also heard of mothers applying vinegar/ chilli (ouch) on their nipples to put babies off nursing. I guess desperate time calls for desperate measures.

    Whichever method you go with, good luck! If all else fails, take heart that Finn will eventually get off your boobs! Key word ‘eventually’.

    • Reply Daphne April 18, 2013 at 2:03 pm

      WHATTT??? Much as I love chili, there’s no way I’m applying chili to my boobs. These days I’m trying to teach him how to drink from a cup. He doesn’t seem to know how to use the sippy cup or the straw so I’m feeding him from a cup directly. Lots of spills but at least some water gets into his system…

  • Reply judith April 18, 2013 at 1:39 am

    If you DO find an easy way ( or any way at this point, I’m desperate), please do a ‘how-to’ post about it. I read every book I could on breastfeeding to be prepared for No.2, and he is now 2.5yrs old…and still breastfeeding with zero signs of stopping. ZERO. But I do agree, the calming factor cannot be underestimated:)

    • Reply Daphne April 18, 2013 at 2:03 pm

      Hahaha sure thing!

  • Reply Jean April 18, 2013 at 3:27 pm

    If he still asks to nurse and won’t settle for anything else, I think it’s a sign that he’s not ready to give it up yet, although you are. Whether you wean or not depends very much on whose needs you decide to meet – yours or his. I did the don’t-ask-don’t-offer thing myself. #1 weaned at 21 months; #2 at 14 months.
    Jean´s last post ..Wordless Wednesday: International Day at school.

  • Reply effortgirl May 9, 2013 at 10:40 pm

    I think I commented on your bottle post some time ago. I do have to ask though, when you express fresh BM and feed it to him, are you
    1) still the one feeding him the bottled BM? or is someone else doing it?
    2) how fresh is the BM? E.g. expressed seconds ago (and therefore same temp) or expressed 15 mins and placed in fridge for a while then warmed up. Coz the cooling/freezing & warming up process does change the taste a little.
    3) is Finn rejected the expressed BM or rejecting the bottle/teat? My SIL helped me out w/ bottle feeding (she’s a mother of 3 whereas I was coping w/ my 1 and only). She found that my DD would suckle the expressed BM (expressed 2 mins before the feed) from fingers/spoon feed but not bottle. The conclusion was that DD reject the bottle, not the taste of the BM itself. I think I’ve tried all the bottles and teats there are in Sg, and the only conclusion is to trial and error coz diff kids prefer diff types.

    Ultimately, it is up to you. If you prefer to wean him, that is your choice. If you prefer to continue BF-ing, that is your choice. A happy mom makes for happy kids.

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