The Weaning Process of a Single Mom: A blog feed.
Today is day two of my overall weaning process. I have no idea how long it will take, but I will update this daily until its completely done. I will know when the milks are truly no more when my daughter, Rylan, goes a day without grabbing at my shirt. She is 19 months and usually can’t go 4 hours without wanting to nurse. I started weaning at night only first (day one). My idea was initially to wean only at night but after talking to my mom, that changed, “Why? Don’t confuse her. Just go ahead and wean she’s old enough. Most people would have bottle trained by now.” This made a lot of sense. So, in order to wean at night, I wanted to wean altogether. I will write this out daily, as a feed, so that everything is fresh in my mind. You can also stay tuned in by visiting this blog post with me. Follow us on our weaning journey below.
Why I’m Weaning at 19 months
I started researching weaning Facebook groups a couple of weeks ago when I knew I was ready to have my body back and get actual rest at night. Those weaning groups gave astounding advice such as the band-aid technique, apple-cider vinegar technique, support, and more. One of the biggest “techniques” in this 20k+ group of women was to use their partner or husband. For every one thread with a woman asking for help on weaning, was at least 3 “get your husband to help” responses. This was the main advice. Seeing this, as a single mom, I felt discouraged. This in fact, is was one the many reasons I breastfed for so long. I hoped Rylan would wean herself because doing it “without a husband would be so hard”. Then I sat in a chair. A chair while getting my hair done by an amazing hair curator. She gave me sound advice and most importantly, encouragement. With this push, was ready to finally begin weaning! Forget a man, I’m doing the on my own.
I am frustrated. Exhausted. Mad. Sad. and Worn Out.
A lot of tears and a lot of screaming go on through the night. Rylan wakes at her usual every 2 hours and looks for the boob. Unlike other times, it doesn’t get shoved into her mouth. This time she gets told, “Boobies went night-night”. When she starts grabbing I redirect her by singing a song and rubbing her back or rocking her. This goes on from 8pm to 2am. Yes, read that right! Through this, I cry a bit in frustration, post an angry Facebook quote, and feel defeated. A friend prays for me, I cry a bit more, and boom, Rylan goes to sleep on her own. God is great.
In the morning, I nurse for fear of engouragement.
I am Hopeful. Encouraged. Happy.
Rylan cries a bit (about 5 minutes) then settles herself down and falls asleep. She knows that I’m not backing down no matter what. When she says, “Mama eat eat” while pointing at my breast, I say, “boobies are sleep. Can you say good night boobies. Say bye bye boobies.” She follows those cues then cries. After a few minutes, she lays down on a comfortable pillow and falls asleep. Midway through this paragraph, she wakes us at her usual 2 hour mark. This time, she falls right back asleep. Its been like that all night.
It’s so liberating. To see my daughter, Rylan, have the ability to soothe herself to sleep. To not have to lay on my side all night or run to her night cries with a boob ready. I feel my body belonging back to me. I also see Rylan learning to be her own body, her own self, and control what it does. I am so hopeful, encouraged, and happy!
I haven’t nursed since day 1 morning. I pumped two times today for fear of getting Mastisis. I have cabbage leaves to put on my breast as well to assist in drying them up. Ok, its 2:20am and although I’m too excited to sleep, I’m now heading to bed. I can’t wait to see what tomorrow holds.
OK, its actually day dour that I am writing this.
PAUSE!!! Rylan just dropped my shirt and went for the breast! What!?! Read more about this on day four below, since that is today’s actual day.
Ok back to Day Three.
Friday Night. It’s the night of my birthday celebration. Ry will sleep over a caregiver/friend’s house. This will by our first night away from each other! At the beginning of the week, I wanted to wean to make sure that the experience is as less traumatizing for her as possible. We started on Monday then restarted on Wednesday. Since its been three days, Rylan is getting into the routine of putting herself to sleep. Since she is able to put herself to sleep and stay asleep most of the night, I am not nervous with dropping her off somewhere for the night. I know she won’t wake every TWO HOURS now that she’s wean. Yep, she awakened every single two hours to dream feed. So, this weaning process was definitely due. She woke to feed every two hours for comfort, not because she was hungry.
So, day three was unintentionally but slightly intentionally about me. It was the celebration of my birthday! I had friends come over for a turn up session, followed by more turn up at a couple of clubs. I had so much fun. This night was amazing because I felt like the 24 year-old that I turned! I felt young, single, and free. Not because of the absence of Rylan, but because I assured myself that I was able to still have fun and enjoy things I like (good drink + good company) as a young mother. While I did this, Rylan was fast asleep in the care of someone else. In the morning, they told me that she only woke up once and cried, confused, but went back to sleep. That was a relief!
That whole day, Rylan didn’t care to nurse. She now understands that “Mommies boobs are Bye Bye”. Because Rylan didn’t nurse at all that day (woohoo) my breast were in pain a few times throughout the night. I ended up pumping around 8:30pm and in the morning before picking up Rylan at 7am. I also applied cabbage leaves to the breast area both of those times. THey provided some relief. After pumping, I felt sooo much better.
Understanding. Freedom. Love. Care.
Ok UNPAUSE!!! Rylan just looked at me, dropped my shirt, and attempted to feed. She did this while I am writing this very blog. Maybe she saw the black and white image of her breastfeeding? I am not sure. After she attempted to feed, I rose my shirt back up and said sweetly, “Rylan, no no.” She complained for 0.01 seconds than went about her business. It is Sunday Jan 21 morning so maybe this is technically DAY 5, but let’s go back to last night.
Ok, last night was great actually. Rylan fell asleep around 8:20pm and only woke once through the night. Before that, she took a nap by falling asleep to the TV. Since this is our first weekend with no nursing, I was nervous about nap time. So, I placed my laptop on th bed, played Netflix, and Rylan watched it until she fell asleep. I tried to put her to sleep without the laptop for about 15 minutes but, with her dad there, it didn’t work. She was too excited.
Optimistic. Determined. Confident. Joyous.
OK, so today was weird. Very weird. It has been three days of no nursing, then all of a sudden, that changed…
Ok here’s the story. I’m sitting in my nook, on a decorated floor pillow, scrolling through my Instagram feed. Out of nowhere, I notice a familiar name like a group photo from my birthday Pre-Game session. That familiar face is none other than Cleo Anthony, from The Netflix Series, She’s Gotta Have It. The very attractive Greer, one of Nola Darling’s lovers (from the TV show) liked MY photo! I got a bit over excited to say the least.
So I totally freak out and don’t notice that Rylan has somehow crept up on me and latched on! When I realized I said “Oh, No” in the way you might avoid a muddy dog running to you in an all white outfit. Yes, it’s that serious because I’m that motivated! After I removed her from my breast, she turned around and went about her business, playing. She latched on once more when I was caught off guard, and I removed her again. I must have reeked of breast milk or something because out of the last 5 days, today she wants to feed. Maybe she remebered that breast feeding was apart of her life prior to this weaning process? I’m not sure.
Its now night time. Rylan went down after trying to nurse again. I pumped twice today. Once in the morning and another at 7pm. Today feels like a set back, but I know that tomorrow will be better. I have cabbage leaves on my breasts. The sooner they dry up the better!
Very hopeful. Still persistent. Determined.
I pumped once today. At night, Rylan needed 10 minutes then she was out like a light. She woke up twice through the night: once to pee and another time just for snuggles. During the second time, she woke up, looked for me, reached out her arms, and I picked her up. I rocked her on my shoulder then laid her down next to me. I pretended to be sleep, then she fell asleep. This was all in one minute. If I were still breastfeeding, it would take longer, as she would want a full nursing session. There isn’t much pain, except a minor “let-down” feeling at work. Yes, it was weird. I having felt that tightness followed by milk flowing in a while.
Something that I have noticed is that since she gets way more sleep at night, she isn’t waking up at 8am as usual. She has been waking up around 6am or 5:40am if she really got some good rest. I do miss having the mornings to get ready undistracted.
Today I am feeling: Ready for the next day. Excited to see how it unfolds. More rested.
Today I feel completly free.
I wore cabbage leaves the night prior and added some more in the morning. My breast feel like there is no milk. Rylan slept all. through. the night. I woke up feeling great!
There’s not much to add today. A lot of moms say that they feel a bit of saddness after weaning but to be honest, I am not there yet. I think we had a good ride but its time to let it go.
Rylan is getting way more sleep and so am I. She snuggles me more now that she isn’t breastfeeding so how can I complain!
My milk isn’t completly gone, I had to pump once today to relieve some tightness pain. Besides that, I don’t feel like the breastfeeding mama I used to be. I feel like a woman that went through an absolutely incredible journey and it has come to an end. I feel like a wonder woman that was able to protect, comfort, and feed her child through the warm, God-given, milk that flowed from her breast. Brestfeeding was absolutely amazing while it lasted and it is an experience that can never be forgotten.
It’s over, but the benefits my daighter and I gained from it will last forever.