As Breyen approaches his first birthday, I’m counting down to the last breastfeeding session that I will share with my son. Sure, there are many researches and articles about the benefits of extended breastfeeding, but my choice is to stop when the baby is around the age of one.
I did the same thing with my daughter. In fact, her transition to a bottle was so smooth that she was weaned off breastfeeding two weeks before her first birthday.
I found the way I weaned my daughter off helpful and sought to do the same with my son. However, just as they are different by gender, their breastfeeding journey differed greatly too.
With my daughter, she would always only feed on one side every session. I tried giving her more but she would end up regurgitating. Since she was growing well, I carried on that way. I planned ahead for her weaning because I didn’t want to go through any engorgement or discomfort. I started cutting down the number of sessions of breastfeeding when she was 10 months old and started to substitute the sessions with formula.
To let my body get used to the reduction in demand for breast milk, I planned a two week interval for each reduction of sessions. It worked wonderfully and I was able to wean my daughter off breast milk without having any body discomforts.
I planned to do the same thing with my son, only to realize that it would take longer for me to reduce the number of breastfeeding sessions.
From the start, Breyen drank a lot more breast milk than his sister did. He would feed on both sides and up until he was four or five months old, he was still drinking milk every two hours. It was exhausting for me, and painful on some occasions. I developed Mastitis in the first month, and many incidents of blocked milk ducts, no thanks to Breyen’s lazy way of latching on sometimes.
In spite of the pain, I actually didn’t mind feeding him more. For one, I enjoyed the bonding as I nursed him. We probably won’t have anymore children and I wanted to cherish every second of cuddling Breyen while he is still a baby. For another, I shed my pregnancy weight at a crazy rate because of how much he nursed. In fact, by the time Breyen was six months old, I was below my pre-pregnancy weight.
When Breyen was 10 months old, I started on my journey of weaning him off breast milk. Alas, it wasn’t as easy as I had it with my daughter!
My body was so used to producing the amount of milk that Breyen needed that it took more than two weeks for me to reduce one session. For more than two weeks, I would have to bear with engorgement every time Breyen had one round of formula. Because of that, it has taken a longer time to wean him off breastfeeding and unlike his sister who was weaned off by his current age, he’s still nursing at certain parts of the day.
As I count down to him being totally weaned off, my heart is filled with all kinds of emotions. While I would very much like to have my body back and allowing it to rest, I know I’m going to miss the closeness I share with my son when I nurse him. My husband and I have been back and forth about whether we will have another child, and most likely, we won’t. So my son’s last breastfeeding session is likely to be the last session ever.
It sounds a little crazy, I know, but I know I will miss nursing him. I will miss Breyen being a baby too. I guess the only way to move on from this is to remind myself that there are loads of other milestones to look forward to.
Until then, I am going to cherish every session I will share with my little boy.