Wednesday, 23 April 2014

Weaning: The End of an Era

I first thought it might be time to seriously think about weaning when Ruby managed to slide off my lap to standing confidently on the floor... whilst still attached to my breast. (She was nine months old and is a tall baby!)

I didn't take any action, but just worried about it from that point on.

I knew the day would come when we would have our last breast feed. I knew I didn't want to still be breastfeeding her long past a year. I knew I was booked on a weekend away without her from May 1st.



Up to a couple of weeks ago I had pushed it to the back of my mind, unsure how to wean properly when she still wasn't sleeping through the night and breastfeeding was the only way to get her back to sleep. So we started off concentrating on her sleep routine, hoping that the weaning would follow quite naturally.

I was prepared for battle. War!

But then Ruby turned one. Which meant that she could have cow's milk. So I bit the bullet and introduced a beaker of milk before bed instead of a breast feed. Ruby took two sips, fell asleep in my arms and then slept straight through the night. And that has been the story ever since!

She generally wakes at about 6.30am and instead of getting up I was bringing her into our bed and giving her an early morning breast feed before breakfast.

So today was the day.

This morning I woke up feeling particularly energetic so instead of bringing Ruby into our bed at 6.30am, I took her straight downstairs and gave her a beaker of milk.

And you know what? She didn't even notice the switch! She's been perfectly happy all day. At one point she got a bit clingy and later on she started trying to hide toys down my top... but other than that, at one year and 23 days, Ruby has officially been weaned. She is no longer solely reliant upon me for her sustenance, comfort and nutrition. I can now go away next week confident that Jon will be able to provide all of her needs. I am now, in a way, redundant!

And I'm ok with that. I think.

I breastfed for one year and 23 days. One year and 23 days of close, natural bonding with my little bundle of joy. Enjoying unimaginable closeness with my baby that no one else can enjoy - providing her every need. And I've seen the benefits.

  • Ruby is a healthy weight, reaching all of her developmental milestones.
  • Ruby has shown no sensitivities to food, despite myself having food intolerances. She eats anything and everything.
  • Ruby has very rarely been sick. She had one course of antibiotics for an ear infection when she was about a month old, but I haven't taken her to the doctors for anything since then. She's had a couple of sniffles, usually related to teething, but nothing that's stretched beyond a runny nose.
  • Ruby is a confident, secure, content baby who is happy to be left with anyone.
Sometimes I felt pressured into weaning Ruby earlier than I did. Sometimes I felt like at a year old, she shouldn't be breastfeeding, sometimes I felt like it was becoming our night-time secret that no one else should know about.

But I am beyond glad that I managed to carry on for the length of time that I did. Beyond happy that it was my choice and that Ruby was so ready to be weaned - it felt like the most natural thing in the world. Beyond glad that I never gave up, even when it was painful, even when all I wanted was to hand her over and escape, even when the night time feeds were frequent and exhausting and there was nobody else to do what I was doing.

I will miss it, I'm sure, but I am looking forward to bonding with Ruby in a new way.

....And I'm looking forward to wearing dresses!

1 comment:

  1. Brilliant. You did so well - feeding so long and then stopping so effortlessly! And she's done so well too. Well done both of you. It really does feel like the end of an era - I had such mixed feelings when I stopped feeding miss T in January because i wasn't ready to stop but had to for various health reasons. Lovely to read this as such a good news story - and what a testimony to the benefits of breastfeeding - T hardly got ill when she was breastfed too x

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