It was actually a hard one for us; honestly it was as hard as when we first started 2 years 8 months ago. Actually the whole thing began way back 8 months ago, when AE turned 2 years old. I was damn excited with the fact to stop bf as a lot of my friends stopped; I didn’t really do much research into it. A friend told me she slept separately with her child for 1 week in order to wean, and it worked for her.
We were going to Penang that February, so the thought of no need to feed him in public during travel made me more excited. Don’t get me wrong, I’m all about breastfeeding and love our magical bond, but public’s view on breastfeeding baby was not the same with toddler. Firstly, people will look at you differently. Then they will ask how old is he, and then they will frowned when realized he’s a boy (but of course some are still quiet supportive).
Plus sometimes AE asked for a feed when he felt shy, sad or insecure, which I felt was no longer necessary now that he is a big boy (I was actually wrong here).
So one day we tried the separate-sleep plan, get hubby to sleep with him. Oh he cried and cried and cried for almost 1 hour, it really tearing my heart apart listening to him behind the door. Finally he was asleep. But when he woke up at 3am for feed, I fed him directly coz I really didn’t have a heart to hear him cry again.
After posted about it in my FB status, a friend told me not to push it too hard; coz then it will be harder for both of us (so true!). She said her first son wean when he almost 3 years old, where the child actually stop by himself. So I kinda change my plan; maybe we should just wean during the day but not at night yet. At first the plan worked, but AE knew the art of bargain. He will say things like “nak sket je”. I let him but with a condition that he has to drink bottle milk after that. Sometimes he did, sometimes he didn’t.
After 5 days, dengan izin Allah, AE caught gingivostomatitis, some sort of a gum disease that led to swelling and sores (gusi die nampak merah lain macam) and he reluctant to eat. Of course being a mom, I can’t stand that and finally gave in. After he recovered, I want to start wean again but AE being a smarty pants, he will said “sakit mulut” (mouth ache).
Well, I then declared that the plan has failed. AE was not ready and neither was I. I guess every baby is different. So we just continue direct feeding as usual and AE was even more reluctant to drink from milk bottle when we were at home. Okay sangat fail lah my plan!
When he surpassed 2 years & 6 months, I thought about weaning again. This time I asked more people and read a bit more. Only then I realised there were actually a handful articles on weaning from the breast on the net. (coz before this ingatkan weaning from the milk je…). I studied AE’s drinking pattern and realised that he will usually asked for bf immediately when he came back from daycare. It’s like sometimes he looks forward to at the end of the day.
But if it’s on weekend, he didn’t really bother about it until much later. At night, he will feed prior sleep, at 3.00am, 6.00am and when he woke up in the morning. In fact, that was the time he will feed the longest, cuddling and feeding and cuddling again sambil tersenyum2. I love those moments!
As people said it generally takes 1 week to wean completely, I felt the 1 week raya break was a perfect timing. Plus we will spend time 24/7 together thus hopefully he won’t feel too sad. Otherwise I feel it will be too hurtful to tell him there’s no more milk when he comes back from daycare.
The night before, I already prepared him – telling him tomorrow there will be no more milk coz it will all be finished thus he will have to drink bottle. So on the first day, after he got his feeding & cuddling moments, I put coffee on my breast. So later when he asked for it, I told him the milk was finished and my breast was hurt and showed him. He didn’t even try to drink but I told him I can always hug him still.
Surprisingly, he hugged me and cuddle with me (I actually didn’t expect this). I then realized how much emotional support the breastfeeding has actually given him. No wonder our first attempt by trying to separate-sleep failed terribly. I guess every baby is different so you have to trial and error.
At night, as expected he woke up at 3.00am crying and struggling exactly like an addict. He attempted to drink but I went to sleep prepared with coffee, so he immediately withdrew. He just hugged me tight and fell asleep back again. Such drama repeated for a few nights, until last night was the first time ever he slept the whole night. Yeayy!!!
As for me, I felt emotionally more ready this time. But I didn’t expect the physical challenge my body giving me. Coz I thought AE was only a casual drinker, just for comfort rather than thirst. Plus, I never felt engorge at work since I stopped pumping one year ago (basically he just drank at night and during weekends).
Still, the first night, my breasts engorged like during post-partum. My milk kept on leaking, rasa macam nak kasik AE minum je but then defeat the purpose lah kan…
So I tried to ignore it, in a way telling my body to stop producing. I realised this meant that AE actually drank a lot at night. Nevertheless the second night, the pain was so unbearable I was crying in the bathroom. I tried to motivate myself by imagining all the baju kurung moden that I can finally wear (sabar jer lah). By the next morning during sahur, I have to pump out coz I felt like my mind was exploding. I got 4oz, didn’t pump the whole thing. Just enough to make sure the pain went away. By the forth day, finally the engorgement went away.
So that’s the tale of us finally weaning from breastfeeding. Sangat penuh emosi hahaha…Happy Friday!