I confess: I didn’t think about all of the ramifications that would come from weening my son from breastfeeding.
When I learned I was pregnant, I made a promise to myself and my child that I would breastfeed for at least a year. It has not been easy, but it was a rewarding experience overall. He got the best nutrition for his growing body, we got to bond, and I got the reassurance that I was doing what was best. It also helped me get back to my pre-baby size pretty quickly too, which wasn’t a bad side effect at all.
But one year down and it is time to stop; I’m ready to reclaim my girls! I began weening him off the breast about a week after his first birthday. I just stopped offering it as often. It wasn’t difficult, until I got him completely weened from daytime nursing (I would only nurse if he woke up during the night). I noticed he became more clingy, more bratty, more needy it seemed. He whined much more than before. He’s generally a happy baby, but I started to see another side of him. It didn’t click that this was a side effect of the weening until one day when he just would not take his naps. I tried rocking, no luck. I reverted back to his swing, he hollered. I spoke with my mom, who reminded me that he will probably need more cuddling and babying during this time.
It even began to affect his night time sleeping habits. Every night now he wakes up about 3 a.m. I used to nurse him back to sleep and lay him back down, but that no longer works. The only way I could get him back to sleep is by cuddling up right next to him. Which meant there was no going back to his crib. Whenever I would try to put him back in his bed he would wake up immediately and cry, cry, cry.
He is now completely weened with the lasting side effect of co-sleeping. Each night he ends up in bed with mommy and daddy well rested and spoiled. As much as I tried not to start this habit, I’ll take a night of mostly peaceful sleep over relentless whining and crying any night!