Breastfeeding is one of the things I looked forward to as soon as I found out I was going to be a mom. I had witnessed all my sisters and cousins breastfeed their little ones and from then I knew I wanted to breastfeed my own children one day. I read all I could get my hands on about breastfeeding and I was prepared, however when I searching for information about weaning my little one, there wasn’t much I came across that could somewhat prepare me for the emotional turmoil I was still to face.
I had planned to breastfeed our little one until her third birthday, however on December 1st 2018 when we found out that we were expecting our second baby the weaning date was moved to February 27th (6 months earlier), we changed the dates because it was becoming a bit hard for me to breastfeed at night while I was experiencing full-blown pregnancy hormones, some days I dreaded waking up at 3 am for a feed.
I am that mom who ‘spoiled’ her baby, my daughter had never put herself to sleep, I breastfed her to sleep and for comfort. As a result, I couldn’t leave her with anyone unless she was sleeping but still I had to time my outings, I actually love that. Breastfeeding was my favorite things to do since becoming a mom. I loved our bond, the conversations we had with our eyes while feeding and how I’d play with her tiny nose, toes, and hands.
December 30th all that changed, around midnight my daughter started vomiting, as I always do I gave her breast milk for comfort, later on after seeing no improvement we took her to the nearest clinic that opens 24/7 and I was advised to stop breastfeeding because somehow my hormones were the reason she was sick and I was also feeling more sick.
I Google’ ed away for a better solution apart from weaning since I was not ready to do so. I lost the battle and used the harshest way to do it, I put aloe vera gel on my nipples… oh, the sadness in my baby’s eyes, when she tasted her milk, broke my heart a million times. For the first time, she put herself to sleep looking so depressed and I questioned my decision. Should I just wash it off and continue feeding her. Every time she came for a feed she remembered the awful, bitter taste of her once so sweet milk, I felt so guilty. I failed my little one. She needed mommy to comfort her the best way she and I knew how. But I couldn’t.
This was so heartbreaking for me. I cried myself to sleep for a number of nights until I realized that breastfeeding is not the only way for me to be a good mother to my daughter, there are a number of moms who have never breastfed their children but they’re good moms. Breastfeeding does not define motherhood. There are some other things that make a good mom, like being there for your child to ensure that all their physical, mental,spiritual needs are met, loving and caring for your child.
“Breastfeeding does not define motherhood”
This realization helped to break the barriers I had created that were slowly affecting how I was parenting our daughter and the way I viewed myself as a mom, “a failure”, “not good enough”, etc. I looked for ways I could use to break free and move forward to a state where I could offer our child a guilt-free, happy environment to parent here. Here are some ways I used to cope
1 Be patient with yourself and REBOOT
If you’re well-rested and happy, your baby will be, too. If you keep beating yourself up over not breastfeeding or are struggling to feed and becoming exhausted as a result, then your baby won’t be getting the best of you. Relax, Reboot, and Reconnect with yourself. I usually do this by reading and meditating on God’s word, finding reassurance from the word that I am good enough, I am of worth, that way I get to let go of any feelings that try to weight me down, I then seek for a better version of myself in the situation.
2 Change/create a new routine with your child
One of the ways that helped while weaning our little one was to change our routine. Our night time routine prior to weaning was as follows: Just after supper
19:00 family prayer/story time
19:30 – 20:00 breastfeeding then she would sleep to wake up every three or four hours for a feed.
Our new routine is less selfish in that daddy can be involved in putting our little one to sleep also, we added special time for Phindy to retell any stories to daddy and me, game nights, more cuddling time, bubble baths of which she enjoys and sleep like a baby either in mommy or daddy’s arms afterward.
3 Look for new ways to bond with your child
My daughter loves to sing, and I do too. So I chose one of her favorite children’s songs by “Psalty the singing songbook” called moving mountains that we practiced to perform at church in one of the children ministries programs, on the day we were supposed to perform our song, she was overcome by stage fright and we ended up not singing at all but the time we spent practicing it together, strengthen our bond and I loved that.
We also read, cook and play together (hide & seek is currently her favorite). There are a number of things that you can do to bond with your child even if it’s just for 15-30 minutes a day, that makes a difference.
4 Embrace all the changes
“Embrace who you are and your divine purpose.Identify the barriers in your life, and develop discipline, courage and the strength to permanently move beyond them, and keep moving forward.”― Germany Kent
Weaning is not the end of the world; it may just be the beginning, embrace the change. Embrace the woman you have become and courageously aim to continue to impact your child’s life positively until he/she is old and gray.
Four Months Post-weaning
My daughter is a happy, healthy, independent child that sleeps through the night. she has learned to put herself to sleep. At times she will tell me that she is tired and would like to go to sleep and we say a prayer and she sleeps. Weaning is not easy however I believe when the time is right, and the baby and mommy are ready to wean, it all becomes worth it.
I would like to know from you moms, what are some of the ways that have helped you to cope with weaning your little ones. Comment down below.