So, if you saw my latest post, you’ll know that I recently switched from exclusively breastfeeding to full formula bottles. If you want to know why, head on over to my latest post, but today, I’d like to share the *how* behind weaning because it was a much different process than it was with my son.
So, for starters, my daughter refused all bottles. When she was little, we introduced a bottle within a couple of weeks like we did with my son and she took it! But our problem was, we didn’t continue to offer bottles because when you have 2 kids (especially when they’re so close in age like ours are), it’s much more convenient to not have to pump and transfer the milk to a bottle before feeding. My husband was on toddler duty while I was on baby duty. It worked for us. Then one day, a couple months later, we tried a breastmilk bottle and she wouldn’t take it. Not even just a little bit. She kicked and screamed and REFUSED it. After a couple times of this, we stopped trying it because it was a waste of my time pumping when I ended up just having to nurse anyways. And for the record, it was extremely disheartening. I breastfed my son for 7 months but he was great at taking breast milk bottles, so we had date nights without him and he stayed multiple times at my parents’ house. I was able to feed him but I also wasn’t tied to him 24/7. It was great!
At my daughter’s 6-month appointment back at the end of January, I asked our pediatrician’s thoughts (we love our pediatrician so much!) on getting my daughter to take a bottle. After dealing with some anxiety around nursing, I wanted to stop breastfeeding and wean her. She looked at me and said, “Then stop nursing.” She went on to explain that your baby will learn to take a bottle but some babies will refuse it if they know the breast is an option, which was what was happening to us. She said it might be a challenging couple of days but not to worry about her losing weight or anything; she will eventually learn. She recommended having a couple days where I wasn’t around as much and for my husband to do majority of feedings. Well at this time, my husband was actually in Israel, so I waited until he returned and he was on board for this plan because he was all about me doing what was best for myself and my mental health. (Praise Jesus for supportive husbands!!!!)
Well, it wasn’t possible for me to be fully away from her and since my husband works full-time and I’m the stay at home mom, it made it especially challenging to do this. We did the best we could and we made it I think 3.5 days where she was fully on bottles- some breastmilk some formula. Well, one day my daughter was NOT HAVING IT. She was extremely fussy and just distraught. I gave in and nursed her. This continued for a few days. It was too hard to see her struggling so hard (mainly due to extreme constipation).
One day, I chatted with my mom on the phone and actually broke down crying to her about how tired and overwhelmed I was. I told her how I wanted to wean my daughter so badly but how it wasn’t fully working. My mom said she would take her for a couple of nights (she hadn’t ever been away from me for a night and by this time, she was 7 months old) and the goal would be to fully wean her. She would only be offered formula bottles (as well as solid food too obviously).
AND… IT WORKED!
After 2 nights and 2.5 days, my daughter was officially weaned and used to formula bottles only. And my mom said she did great! It wasn’t this extremely painful, hard process for either of them. My daughter just needed to know I wasn’t there and that nursing wasn’t an option anymore. So when I was reunited with her, she was not trying to nurse because she only knew bottles for the last few days.
Now for my milk supply. I’ve been very blessed with my two babies having great milk supplies and since this weaning was kind of quick for my daughter, it meant I was going to need to continue pumping and just reduce that a little bit each day, so that’s what I did. I am currently actually still having to pump because it’s a process for sure. I am down to only 1-2 pumpings a day, but if you’re wanting to fully reduce your supply, you need to only pump when it’s *necessary,* like when your boobs are hurting and you can’t take it. If you never pump, you’ll be prone to get an infection like mastitis, but if you continue pumping as much as you were nursing before, your supply won’t decrease. It’s all about supply and demand. You’ll notice each day, you’ll have less and less milk.
So, that’s how I (with the help of my mom and hubby) were able to get my daughter fully weaned from exclusively breastfeeding to formula bottles. Again, do what’s best for YOU and YOUR BABY. 🙂 🙂
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