I mentioned in Amalia’s 5 month update that she is now fully weaned off of breastfeeding, so I wanted to talk a little bit more about why we made the decision to do that when we did and how I weaned my baby.
Before I had a baby, I always thought I’d breastfeed for a full year. It felt like the right thing to do, and I didn’t even consider another timeline… Until I had a baby!
After a few weeks of breastfeeding, the initial pain and bleeding nipples (yes that’s a thing) subsided and we were in a good groove. I was so happy doing it but realized how attached I was to her every day, literally. Despite that, I changed my tune and told Anel that six months was my goal, but after about two months, we started having some (minor) issues. The first was that every time she’d breastfeed, versus getting pumped milk from a bottle, she would throw up, like a lot. She also would get worse gas from breastfeeding than the bottle.
I talked to friends, our baby nurse, and our doctor and tried every single thing they suggested. I changed her position (head as far up as possible), I pumped for 5 minutes before feeds, I held her upright for 20 minutes after each feed, I gave her gripe water. But no matter what, bottles were better for her little tummy. So I started pumping more and breastfeeding less.
While I loved the act of actually nursing her with her little hand rubbing my back and her eyes looking up at me, I despised pumping. It hurt, I was constantly attached to my pump, and I felt like a cow. But I did it because I wanted what I felt was best for Amalia. To be clear, I don’t think that you have to breastfeed for any certain amount of time, and truly believe that whatever feels right for you and your baby is the right answer for you and your child.
I did a mix of pumping and breastfeeding until she was three months and finally just couldn’t anymore. It was making me feel sad and anxious, and something my friend Arielle said stood out. Her philosophy is: You should breastfeed as long as it makes both you and your baby feel happy. This mindset helped me determine how I weaned my baby.
We had already been giving her this organic formula once a day for her night feed so I knew she could handle it. Btw it says it’s for toddlers but our pediatrician reassured me that it’s fine for babies. The reason it says toddler is because that company apparently thinks babies should be breastfed exclusively for the first year.
So at three months we added one more bottle of formula a day which meant one less pumping session for me. That was so exciting and made me a happier human, which in turn made me a better mom. Over the course of the next two months we added one bottle at a time each week until she was on formula only (at about 4.5 months).
People warned me that I would have a hormonal drop when I weaned her, but because I did it so slowly, it really wasn’t that bad. The week when I dropped the last breastfeed, I was definitely weepy and emotional, but I also got my period the week after so it was probably a mix of the hormonal drop and PMS.
As soon as I stopped breastfeeding entirely, Amalia and I were both just so much happier together. It felt like the pressure was off and we could just enjoy our time without me having to run off and pump while figuring out what to do with her or have her get frustrated as she tried to nurse.
Health-wise, she’s doing great. She’s growing at the rate she’s supposed to and her motor and developmental skills are insane. The one thing I changed was her probiotic. I now give her one that’s specially formulated for formula-fed babies, recommended by my acupuncturist who gave it to her kids too. I do that in addition to vitamin D drops once a day in her first bottle.
As of 5 months we also started feeding her solids and we’re upping the amount of “real” food she gets each week which makes me feel better too. You can read more about my philosophy on solids here.
So that’s our story – that’s how I weaned my baby. Not that exciting but a lot of people have been asking how I did it and I hope our story helps! I don’t know if it was the right or wrong way but this is how I weaned my baby and it worked really well for us.
There is a lot of stigma around formula feeding and weaning too early, so please try to read this without judgement and remember that I’m making the decisions that work for my family.
Now I’d love to know, how and when did you wean your babies?