As more of my friends continue to have babies and ask me questions, I have realized how much I've actually forgotten about the newborn stage.
Yes, I still remember bits and pieces and I did write this blog. But some of the more specific details are just gone. Vanished. I just can’t recall.
So, I’m vowing to write more. More about the current situation I’m in as a mother. More about my feelings. My emotions. How these steps take a toll on my physical body as well.
With that said, let’s go on a journey through weaning…
You might remember that I have a hefty supply of breast milk due to immediate & frequency in pumping.
You might also remember that I have an increasingly strong desire to be a stay-at-home, so Gary and I had actually talked about and briefly considered selling my breast milk. People do this. And people buy it. We thought this could help supplement some of my income for the time being and allow me to reach my goal.
We researched it.
We prayed about it.
We decided that we couldn't do it.
There are too many women out there who can’t breast feed that have a strong desire to do so and too many babies that need breast milk that can’t get any.
So, we waited. We waited for someone we knew. For someone that needed this.
I was first introduced to Jessica through a former co-worker, Angela. They were both in the same mommy group on Facebook. Jessica posted that her milk donor was starting to wean her own baby and could no longer supply Jessica’s baby with breast milk. She wasn't necessarily trying to find another donor, but to get feedback on goats milk and if any other mom’s had given it to their babies.
However, Angela had something else in mind…
Jessica first contacted me on March 6th. She told me about herself and breastfeeding…
“I was able to nurse Tayla and pump for the first 4 months but then my supply dwindled and she started losing some serious weight and was almost hospitalized.“
She told me about her daughter, Tayla…
“She gets very sick whenever she has to take a formula bottle. Phlegmy/chest cough, runny nose, acid poops, yucky vomiting, and screaming. She is miserable and I hate that for her. She is on meds for her reflux. But formula just turns her world upside down despite the meds.”
She asked me questions about my diet, my milk and my overall health. Some of the questions I wasn't really sure how to answer and I was a little intimated, but she finished with this…
“I know that if it isn't you that can help her, God will put someone else in our lives to help her. :-). Please let me know if you are still interested. I hope I didn't scare you off. :-)”
Her parting words pretty much sealed the deal that I wanted to at least try.
I chatted with one of our elder’s wives at church who donated milk both times she nursed her own boys: “Is it weird having another baby drinking your milk? I’m scared I won’t have enough milk to supply for both babies.”
She was so positive and told me, “It’s just milk, but it’s the special milk that helps some babies survive. God will provide if you decide this is what you want to do.”
After several back and forth emails with Jessica, we were sitting in their home for dinner on March 13th.
Jessica and I immediately hit it off! And you know who else did too? Our husbands!
We ate, laughed and I got to feed that sweet baby a bottle of my breast milk.
Oh my goodness it brings tears to my eyes! I’m sad that we didn't capture that moment, but I will remember it regardless. I felt honored, but I also felt nervous.
Nervous that she wouldn't take it well. Nervous that it would hurt her tummy. Nervous that all of this just wouldn't work out.
The feeling can almost be compared to when a new mom starts breastfeeding her baby. That nervous in your gut please let this work feeling.
And guess what! It did!
Statistics from 2010 say that 27% of women breast fed their babies for the first year. Four years later, I’m sure that number has increased.
I always had the plan that I would breast feed Wren until she turned one (if I was able), but once Tayla entered our lives I wanted to be sure she had breast milk until her first birthday as well.
Everything has worked great so far! When we first met Tayla, in March, she was 7 months old. I knew making a commitment to get her to her first birthday would mean I would have to continue to pump 2 months longer than my original plan.
My photographer and friend, Shonta, asked me at Wren’s first birthday party if I was sad about nursing coming to an end and to be honest I really hadn't thought about it at that point because I knew I had until August before I really started weaning.
Well, the closer we get to August the more sad I get.
I currently still nurse Wren. Only at bedtime during the week and as many times as she needs on the weekends. However, she is starting to show signs that she doesn't really want/need it much anymore. I really want her to wean herself as much as possible.
On nights that I am away and Gary puts her to bed he will sometimes forget or just not feed her milk before bedtime and guess what? She’s totally fine and sleeps through the night.
Our little girl is growing up! And it’s sad.
Sad to think she doesn't NEED me anymore. I know that she really does, but not in the same way that she needed me as an infant.
Weaning has been something that has scared me for some time. Really ever since the meeting in the hospital about ‘taking your baby home’ and they talk about the women who choose not to breast feed. They tell you to use cabbage leaves and ice to suppress the pain. They say it will be painful. I know weaning and just stopping cold turkey are two different things, but it still scares me!!
Will it hurt? Will I wake up in pain? How do I do this? When do I start?
Thankfully I have a lot of examples around me and I ask a lot of questions!
I do use google from time to time, but I would prefer to get information from people I know.
A girl at work only pumped and bottle fed and when she started weaning from her pump, immediately after her baby’s first birthday, she simply started cutting out the pumps that ‘got on her nerves the most:’
The one right before dinner
Then the morning pump at work
Towards the end she only had her early morning pump and was only doing it every other day.
She said once she got to where she was pumping less than an ounce she would quit.
Just this past month she finished pumping completely. She said the only pain she had was a couple of random pains, which she thinks was just everything clogging up and going back to normal. She said other than that she was completely fine and doesn't miss her pump at all! She had a good supply built up and has enough to get her baby to 16 months!
My friend, Rachel, did the same thing I do…
pumped when she was away from her baby and nursed him when they were together.
She had built her supply up early on, therefore, even had to pump once a day on the weekends, which is the same as me. Around Preston's first birthday, she slowly started cutting back time on her pumping, but continued to nurse him at night.
When he was 15 months he actually weaned himself from nursing. She had to pump a little more over the next month, but continued decreasing the length each time. She said it was a smooth transition with zero pain. She was able to save enough milk for him to have until he was 17 months old!!!
I’m pretty much still on the same schedule I've been on since the beginning…
- 20 minutes in the morning (around 9)
- 20 minutes in the afternoon (around 3)
- Wren's just recently cut out the evening nurse before dinner, except the past 2 nights (I think she’s teething)
- Nurse before bed
My weekend schedule is nurse on command and pump for 20 minutes once a day. I still have to pump even when I'm nursing her all day I get too full and start getting some pain in my right shoulder and blade.
My right side is my biggest producer and I think it’s because of that pain that I have in my head that weaning is painful.
I still have a couple of months before I really start this process, so until then I'll just keep pumping. Just keep pumping pumping pumping