Weaning a Toddler

I’m sorry I haven’t posted in several days. I’m in the middle of weaning our 20 month old toddler and it’s been quite a fitful week!

BREAK FROM BREASTFEEDING

As I mentioned in a previous post about expanding our family, my husband and I would like to get pregnant again, and we decided it would be best for my son to wean from breastfeeding before I get pregnant with our second baby.

I really want to give my body a rest before getting pregnant again. Although extended breastfeeding has been a positive experience for both me and my son, I’m looking forward to regaining my body back.

I JUST WANT MY MOMMY

My son has been nursing on demand ever since he was born, even through the night since we co-sleep with him as well. As an infant, Evan was never interested in bottles or pacifiers, he just wanted to nurse exclusively.

As Evan started eating solid foods at 6 months old, he received other forms of calories and nutrition aside from breast milk, but he still relied heavily on nursing for comfort and closeness with me.

But now that pregnancy is back in our family plans, I want to wean Evan from breastfeeding now, before I’m pregnant, rather than traumatizing him by abruptly forcing him to “quit cold turkey” once we’ve conceived.

I’ve known other mothers who continued to nurse their older child throughout being pregnant with another baby, but I don’t want to nurse while I’m pregnant.

TECHNIQUES

So that’s what I’ve been doing this whole week, trying to at least, weaning my very attached toddler from his beloved breastfeeding.

To wean Evan, I’ve eliminated his mid-morning and mid-afternoon nursing sessions. I take him on long walks and play a lot of silly games with him to distract him from his “comfort” feedings. I also give him plenty of snacks, offer him water and milk in sippy cups, and entice him with Big Bird apple juice boxes to keep him hydrated. If he really resists and becomes inconsolable, then I let him nurse, but no longer than 5 minutes on both sides.

So far, despite the battles, I’ve successfully been able to delay each daytime nursing session to at least 4 hours apart. Yesterday, he didn’t nurse for almost seven hours!

By the end of May, my goal is to only nurse Evan when he wakes up in the morning, before his one afternoon nap time, and finally before his bedtime at night. I imagine the nighttime feedings will be the most difficult to take away, but I’ll just have to cross that very long bridge when I get there.

RESISTANCE

Just as I expected, weaning has turned out to be quite a challenge. As a result from this new restrictive weaning schedule, Evan has been very grumpy, defiant, and irritable.

I feel terrible that my decision to wean has caused Evan to be so miserable. He must be so frustrated that he can’t nurse as often as usual, which was pretty much as often as he wanted!

NURSING AND WEANING AS SAHM

As a stay at home mom and his only caregiver, I didn’t mind nursing him on demand. I take great pride that I was able to nurse Evan so much, well past his first year. But now that I’m ready to stop breastfeeding him, it’s a really bittersweet period.

Another added challenge to the daytime weaning is that my husband is at work from 6 am to 6 pm. So I’m home alone with Evan all day, battling with no relief all the flaring temper tantrums filled with screaming, crying, arm-flailing, back-arching, pleading, and worst of all, the heartbreaking lip quivers : (

It’s so hard to refuse him repeatedly, especially because he’s my first and only baby. I hate seeing him cry : (

Weaning a toddler that’s so deeply attached to nursing will never be easy, I suppose.

There are many discouraging moments when I feel like giving up and I think in desperation that maybe I should just let him nurse on demand again.

But I know that it’s time to detach Evan from breastfeeding; my mother’s instinct is telling me it’s time to wean. 

IT’S GONNA BE OKAY

Seeing Evan so unhappy breaks my heart, but I have to remind myself that Evan will be okay. I have to just find other ways (cuddling, singing, reading, taking long walks) to comfort him and bond with him besides nursing.

Like during any major life transitions, I have to face this new chapter of parenthood with plenty of patience, persistence and grace. This difficult period requires a lot of adjustments for my entire family. Though I am confident that one day, Evan will eventually adjust to weaning, and he won’t have to be comforted by nursing.

I am so grateful that I was able to nourish Evan and bond with him through nursing for so long. Breastfeeding has been a beautiful experience in my motherhood journey. However, the time has come to end this chapter. I look forward to discovering new ways to connect and bond with my dear son.

“From the time you were a tiny seed inside me, you were fed from my body.
When you were born into this world as a baby, you were fed from my breasts.
Now, I give you this cup, so you can feed yourself.” ~ Shea Darian

Recommended Readings

DISCUSSION

  • How was your experience with weaning?
  • What were some of the most effective approaches to weaning your child?

Share your story, your story matters.

Coping with Depression for Stay At Home Moms

"Frazzled Mom" from mommasaid.net

Are you a stay at home mom who sometimes experiences depression or anxiety? Do you ever feel lonely, resentful, or even guilty for being a sahm?

You can tell by my efforts in building this blog, that I want to pay tribute to all the incredible and selfless stay at home mothers out there. But in order to paint a well-rounded picture, I think it’s equally important that I reveal the gray and often undisclosed aspects of being a stay at home mom.

NOT ALL SUNNY DAYS

While there are many wonderful moments for us, there are also a lot of difficult times, incredibly difficult times that one can only understand as a stay at home mom.

Ever since I became a stay at home mom, I have to admit that sometimes I have feelings of depression and anxiety myself. I would like to share with you some of the factors that contribute to my not-so-glorious sahm moments:

  • Sleep deprivation (I swear, my eyes look like they’ve aged so much since having a baby!)
  • Boredom from the same daily routine (the repetition of my weekday schedule and the lack of spontaneity)
  • Frustration with the unending chores (“Didn’t I just do laundry?)
  • Asking myself, “Seriously, when can I ever get a break?!”
  • Pressure from having a baby/toddler completely dependent on me
  • Isolation from other adults
  • Inability to vent and confide in other moms who empathize with me (I don’t know a lot of stay at home moms here in San Diego)
  • Missing the social scene: My girlfriends don’t call me to go out anymore, of course they know I can’t join them for happy hour anyway : (
  • Financial insecurity (Guilt that I am not contributing to our finances, when I have a large income potential)
  • Worrying that my skills in the working world and my creativity will atrophy
  • Having unrealistic expectations (I gotta have dinner ready before my husband gets home!)
  • Suffering from insomnia even though I’m so exhausted (my body is tired but my mind won’t rest)
  • Grieving over my lost professional identity
  • Fear that I cannot keep up with my child’s demands and unending energy
  • Worrying, “Does my child ever get bored of me?”
  • Obsessing over having a “perfectly” neat and orderly household
  • Wondering, “Does my husband resent me for not paying attention to him as much as I attend to our son?”

OTHERS UNDERSTAND

Even though it’s difficult to reveal these issues, I believe it’s important to let others know that if you are battling difficult days, frustrations, insecurities, sadness, fear, anxiety or guilt with any aspects of being a stay at home mom, you are not alone.

Many stay at home mothers, including myself, share your feelings. When you have difficult days, it does not mean (at all) that you’re a bad mother. It’s okay to have difficult days, being a stay at home mom poses a lot of challenges! What matters is that we are willing to explore ways to improve our coping skills.

INSPIRATION TO HELP YOU

Because I know how challenging it is to find that delicate balance of taking care of your family, while also finding time and energy to take care of yourself, I created the Inspirations section in Mama Bear Matters. Here, I share with you my favorite quotes, exercises, movies, songs, and more. These “inspirations” help me feel centered and contribute so much to my well-being. By regularly nurturing my body and my interests, I am able to ward off depression and feelings of anxiety more successfully.

This is a very important part of my mission as I work hard to cultivate Mama Bear Matters. This blog is not just to discuss issues (matters) that are relevant to us stay at home moms. I want to remind you other stay at home mothers that we, as a mother, as a wife and as an individual really do matter. Our needs as a person count too, and caring for ourselves is especially instrumental in creating a happy home.

LET YOUR CUP RUNNETH OVER

Like my mother says, “The husband represents the walls and foundation of the house, but the mother is the light of the home.” In other words, we as mothers must be able to shine and exude light and happiness, so that we may truly brighten the lives of our family.

In closing, please know it is my ultimate hope with this community blog and my posts that you find encouragement to take better care of yourself, and to remind you that your own well-being also matters.

Thank you for your patience as I slowly (but wholeheartedly) build my Mama Bear Matters site. I deeply believe in extending myself to you, in hopes that we can connect with each other and share our stories of strength as stay at home moms.

Disclaimer:  My writings on this post, along with any information included on Mama Bear Matters, are only within the scope of my own opinions, thoughts and personal experiences. Please note that my writings are not intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. The reader should always consult his or her healthcare provider to determine the appropriateness of the information posted on Mama Bear Matters for their own situation, especially if they have any questions regarding a medical condition. Again, I do not endorse any information on Mama Bear Matters to diagnose or treat or replace professional medical advice.

DISCUSSION

  • What are some of your coping skills that help you deal with the challenges of being a stay at home mom?

You can also refer here for some helpful online readings regarding this very important topic.

Share your story, your story matters.