First let me say happy National Breastfeeding Awareness Month! This picture of me and Molly was taking minutes after Kevin and I said our vows. We walked back down the aisle, had a quick celebration with our family and bridal party and then every left so I could feed Molly. He took this photo of me in my wedding dress feeding Molly with an iphone, in the bathroom of the hotel – and it remains (and always will be) one of my absolute favorite pictures. Breastfeeding was such a beautiful experience and I feel so lucky that I was able to share it with my daughter.
That said, as many of you know, I officially stopped breastfeeding Molly last month. Thursday, July 20 to be exact. It wasn’t an easy decision. I had actually planned on stopping on the 18th since that was the day that I left for New York City and left Molly overnight for the first time. I just felt like that was a good time to wean her off since I was leaving for my trip and was really (and I mean REALLY) tired of pumping. But I’m getting ahead of myself here. Let me start to where the weaning process all began.
Around 10 or 10 1/2 months I was really having trouble keeping my supply up. Molly was exclusively breast-fed up until 11 months. Which means she never had formula or milk and only had breast milk and solids. So around 10 or 10 1/2 months, we started blowing through my frozen stash of milk. What was starting to happen was Molly would refuse to nurse in the evening because I wasn’t making enough milk supply. And she would get very frustrated and push away when I tried to nurse her. So the last feed of the day was always a bottle of breast milk from my frozen stash and pretty soon after that, the second to last feed of the day also became of bottle (for the same reasons outlined above – she was frustrated because I wasn’t making enough). Every time Molly took a bottle I would pump. But she was drinking about 6oz from the bottle and I was only pumping 2 to 3oz. Which was crazy because from birth until around seven months I would pump up to 13 ounces at a time! And at other times we would put 6oz in her bottle and she would only drink 3oz. It crushed me to warm up the frozen milk only to throw it away because she wouldn’t drink it all. So not only did the amoutn of milk I was pumping drop, but my frozen stash was starting to disappear.
It was at 11 months that we got down to our last few bags of frozen milk and I really started to panic. So silly that I was panicking because at the end of the day I could have given her formula. I think that in my mind, I had made it this far exclusively breastfeeding her so I really wanted to try to make it to the point where I could start giving her regular milk (well we actually get her cashew milk and that’s just a personal decision. So please don’t judge me on it. That’s not the point of this post). Thankfully, our pediatrician gave us the go ahead to start giving her cashew milk at 11 months! Once we could start mixing breast milk and cashew milk to make sure she was getting as much as she needed, my life got so much little less stressful! I remember thinking at the time that I could breastfeed for two years at this rate because mixing in the cashew milk relieved so much pressure on my body to produce everything she needed.
But once we introduce the cashew milk, Molly started weaning herself. What ended up happening is since she was getting a bottle for her last two feeds of the day (she would nurse or take a bottle 4 times a day), she started realizing that it was so much easier to drink out of the bottle then to try to suck on me for a few minutes before anything came out. And then when something did come out it was it wouldn’t be that much. So she started refusing the breast for her 2nd feet of the day. So around 11 1/2 months maybe a little bit later, she was only breastfeeding in the morning when my supply was the strongest. And then taking a bottle of breast milk mixed with cashew milk the other 3 feeds of the day. Sometime a bottle of just cashew milk.
NURSING FRIENDLY FASHION
By mid July when it was time for me to take my trip to New York City. She was 12 1/2 months old and down to only nursing in the mornings. I just felt like if I wanted to have full control over my body back it was time to stop. Could I have gone on nursing in the morning for a while longer? Maybe. But honestly I didn’t even feel like she liked nursing anymore. She really prefered the bottle (or sippy cup now) of milk because she got the milk so much more easily and more of it!
And I’m sorry if any of this is confusing. It’s really hard to explain all of the steps and how I ended up weaning her. Also just for anybody wondering, we give her solids always 45-60 minutes after she gets milk. So her schedule looks something like this (Although we are about to transition to one nap because she’s refusing her second nap these days. Help us! Ha!):
6:00am – wake up + sippy cup with milk (she doesn’t drink it out of a bottle anymore)
9:00am – Nap
10:30am – wake up and milk
11:30am – lunch
1:30/2:00pm – nap
3:30pm wake up + milk
4:30 – dinner
6:15pm – milk before bed
6:30pm – bedtime
So why did I decide to stop breastfeeding when I could have pushed through is a question some of you might have. Ya know what, this may be a little bit selfish but a big reason is that there are things that I want to do that I can’t do while breastfeeding. And Kevin and I want to have another baby soon (Which is on hold right now because I have major hip issues sadly). So I thought if I stop now, then maybe I’ll have a month or two to get certain things done. For example, I want to get laser treatments on my acne scarring on my chin and I can’t do that while I’m breastfeeding. I also want to try some detox programs to try to lose a little bit of weight I’ve been holding on to (and gained b/c of my hip issues) and I couldn’t do those things while breastfeeding. So there are some self maintenance things that I want to take care of and I want to have my body to myself for a little bit before I get pregnant again!
All that said, I am so proud of myself for making it as long as I did. It’s crazy to me that I even feel the need to defend stopping at one year because I think making it to one year is such a huge accomplishment! But at the same time I can’t help but feel guilty. Isn’t mom guilt the craziest thing? We put so much pressure on ourselves to be super moms and do everything perfectly. No one is perfect! I have to remind myself of that and be proud of all of accomplished in my first year of motherhood.
And let me say this as well. If you didn’t make it this long breastfeeding or if you didn’t breastfeed at all that’s totally fine too! Everyone has a right to make their own decisions when it comes to raising their children and no mom is better than the other. Heck for some moms, it’s very painful to breastfeed and other just can’t! So what I am trying to say is that I’m not better than anybody because I breastfed for year and nobody’s better than me because they breastfed for two years.
So anyway, many of you have asked me about how I weaned Molly off breastfeeding so I wanted to share that in today’s blog post. And hopefully raise some awareness because it’s breastfeeding awareness month.
I leave you with my FAVE breastfeeding friendly options. The hoodie was a STAPLE in my closet when I was breastfeeding Molly (FYI this hoodie is slightly different than mine since mine was last season and this is their new version for this season).