Whether you've been breastfeeding your little one for 6 months or 2 years, you've nourished him with your body. And despite the fact that it came at a price (sleepless nights, sore nipples, leaky boobs and the inevitable milk stains on your favorite loungewear), it is one of the most beautiful accomplishments there is. But now is the time to stop, and for many moms out there, the weaning process is no easy feat.
Weaning is often described as a beautiful mutual transition between mother and child. But as with all things parenting, it's much more complex than that. There are in fact many different ways to go about helping your bambino part ways with the boobs, and every family is bound to have a unique experience in dealing with the challenges and emotions weaning inevitably comes with. From the mom who weans progressively to the baby who goes on one final strike, here are 8 kinds of "weaners."
What category do you and your little one fall into?
1. The reluctant participant. When I say reluctant participant, I really mean the unwilling participant. That means you need to brace yourself for some temper tantrums and lots of shirt grabbing in public. Have no fear, you can do this! And if you reach your tipping point, it may be time to plan a mommy weekend getaway! Out of sight, out of mind! Mojito, anyone?
2. Pump no more. Extra props for all the pumping moms out there. Pumping adds another layer of complexity and effort to breastfeeding that should earn every mother a gold medal or at least a couple of good foot massages. Did your co-workers walk in on you AGAIN during your mid-pumping session? Are you tired of having to end the day with a milk stain (or ten) on your pencil skirt? Or are you simply done with the prospect of going topless at work? Whatever your reason, the white flag is up, and it's time to move on for your own personal sanity. Get excited! More time for you, and less time scoping out that perfect pumping location (not the bathroom!).
3. I’m pregnant! This just in: baby #2 is on the way, and your milk supply is out! In some cases pregnancy can crash your milk supply or change the taste so much that your babe is no longer interested. Your little one may not know it yet, but they will thank you for the new sibling! Enjoy the break ladies, you’ll be back at it in no time!
4. The baba lover. Did your little one realize on their own that gulping milk from a bottle was a little easier than your boob? You need to give them credit for figuring this one out on their own... Baby genius anyone?
5. The last boob standing. A mom’s supply can start to wean on its own. However, mom’s supply doesn’t always drop in unison. I’ve often heard the last boob standing referred to as the good boob -- the one that just keeps on going, and it’s no longer an even package. Although we appreciate the effort, can we have two matching boobs please?
6. Gentle Weaning aka Extended Anguish. This is a well-known “recommended” method: slowly reduce breastfeeding one feeding at a time. Personally, I couldn’t deal with the long term tata engorgement, but maybe you’re a rockstar and figured this one out. If so, kudos to you, mom!
7. Cold Turkey. A little jarring perhaps but pretty easy to follow. Step 1: pick a time and a date. Step 2: close down the boob buffet. Step 3: stock up on cabbage. You'll most likely have breast engorgement and clogged ducts, and cabbage is an effective home remedy for that.
8. The nursing strike. This one got me. After I dedicated eleven months to nursing my babe, he decided he’d rather bite than suck. After I had been bit a couple of times and yelped in pain, I finally decided to google how to deal with my little bitter. The internet unanimously instructed me not to shriek while being bitten because in rare circumstances this can cause nursing strikes. I’m not sure how you aren’t suppose to react after having your boobs chomped on, but that never stops those superhuman requests from rolling in. Well, for us, that was it. Oh well, eleven months is a good run.
The weaning process is the final hurdle and it’s a big one, however the most difficult part is dealing with the emotions of it all. It’s hard to see your baby grow up and lose the special bond of breastfeeding. Take comfort in knowing you aren’t alone and as every phase ends another one begins and the adventure continues.
Photography via Amy Frances Photography.
Veronica Horner is the co-founder of Maia Moda, a modern breastfeeding clothing line of tops and dresses for stay at home and working mothers. As more and more moms are choosing to breastfeed and for longer periods of time, better designed and stylish clothing is another great way to help moms on their breastfeeding journey. The launch of the clothing line will be this upcoming Spring of 2017. You can keep up to date on the launch by signing up for the mailing list or through Instagram and Facebook.