Weaning: What no one ever told me

image borrowed from Web MD

It has been one week since I completely stopped nursing Oster.  I weaned him off in stages: First I eliminated all daytime nursing sessions except for before naptime; then I eliminated the naptime feedings. After two weeks I only nursed him when he woke up and before he went to bed for the evening.

Mother’s Day came and my husband didn’t want to wake me up (how sweet). So he fed Oster a bottle in the AM. I thought that this would be a great time to stop feeding him in the morning. So, for a few extra days I was enjoying this once-a-day feeding.

I saw how Oster didn’t care about where is milk was coming from and quite frankly his teeth were constantly digging into me every night.  So, I said, “Done!”

The first couple of days went great, however, after the 48 hours “of no breastfeeding” hump, everything kicked in. The everything that no one ever told me about:

  • My breasts were as hard as softballs for 5 days
  • I started craving food like a junkie
  • Clumps of hair started to fall out
  • I remembered what feeling bloated was like
  • My hormones were raging.  Kind of like the SNL Tina Fey Annuale skit. Actually almost exactly like Tina Fey in the Annuale skit.

Needless to say, my hormones are getting back on track (slowly) and the softball game is almost over.

Nighttime Nursing

Oster will be a year old this week. Andy and I thought it would be a good time to start removing my breasts from Oster’s daily activities  (Well, that and him constantly using me as a pacifier and teether).

Our plan to eliminate the nighttime feedings is going well. Our goal: try to put him to sleep without any feedings so that he could eventually fall asleep on his own.

We know that this will take time, so we came up with the following steps to begin the weaning process:

  1. Allow Oster to drink only one “glass” from me
  2. Give him a prepared bottle of milk to compensate for the other “glass”
  3. Put him in his crib and he’ll fall asleep (he always does this immediately after I nurse him to bed)

We then plan to drop my “glass” and use one bottle for a few days and then eliminate all drinking before bedtime (unless, of course, he would like some water).

I know he just has baby teeth but I really would like to start brushing his teeth after he has had any milk for the evening (not before!).  Plus, as I said before, we really want him to fall asleep on his own.

We’ve been pretty successful removing “myself” from the daytime feedings (I currently breastfeed him when he wakes up, only one other time during the day, and then again at night). This has been a gradual process for the past two weeks. I think I’m finally at the point where I can remove his afternoon “snack” and replace it with a sippy cup.

He’s been hugging his bottles and sippy cups for the past three days. I’ve got to tell you, it’s hard for me to let go and see him so attached to these objects that hold his milk.

In one sense, I’m grateful that he’s on his path to “graduation”; however, in the other I know that these are the last days of this stage in our relationship. It’s funny. I can hear myself saying, throughout the course of the year, how I can’t wait to stop nursing. How I won’t have to wear orthopedic bras, smear lanolin all over me when the air is dry, or finally wear my clothes that have been in hibernation due to them being “inconvenient” for breastfeeding.

I do appreciate and cherish the endless amount of time I have spent (and still do a little of) breastfeeding. It wasn’t until the past two weeks when it really sunk in that it’s going to end pretty soon.  After I see how easy this weaning process has been for Oster, I’m realizing that the reason I’m dragging this nighttime process out is because I am the one that can’t do this cold turkey.  I have grown attached to our routine.  I have enjoyed so much the countless sessions we’ve shared together before we say our goodnights.

Just this evening as he was drinking his one “glass” I thought to myself, “Maybe I can nurse for just one more month”.  Then, as Oster started to fall into a slumber his teeth clamped down. And I finally admit: It’s time.

He’s allergic to what?

It’s official.  We finally got the results in for Oster’s blood draw.  He is allergic to milk.  The doctor said that he MAY outgrow it after a year but in the meantime stay clear of anything with milk in it.

Like most parents, we speculated his allergy after he had two separate reactions.  One at 7 months and the other at the beginning of February.  The first one scared the pants off of us.  We mixed some milk-based formula with his cereal and immediately on contact his face became red and tiny white welts appeared.  The formula had everything in it from soy to [enter ingredient here]; the reaction could have been from anything.  The second time he had a baby treat with processed cheese and his lip swelled up and blistered.  He really looked like he was in a bar fight.  Poor Oster.

Our pediatrician ordered the blood draw and lo and behold that is the only thing they found Oster allergic to: Milk.  It looks like I’ll be spending some time finding recipes for milk-free treats for his 1st birthday.  I should have enough time to nail the recipes by then!