Weaning Liam: My longest breastfed babe

Thursday, June 18, 2020

Two years and two months of breastfeeding have come to a close with my Liam Arthur.

I've been meaning to share this for a few weeks now... my two-year-old is officially weaned from breastfeeding! I never thought I'd be so excited to say that, but I absolutely am. Like with most things, Liam is the complete opposite of his sisters. I knew weaning would be hardball with our son, and I learned rather quickly that the "cold turkey method" would not be happening. But I knew we were ready.

When I decide it's time to wean, I always make sure that the kids are ready, too. There are a series of questions I ask myself -- are they nursing for comfort vs nursing for nourishment? Are they able to go most of the day without breastfeeding? Is cow's milk an option (none of my kids prefer nondairy milk)? How detrimental would it be for me to take this away from them right now? It's just an easy assessment (or so I thought) to reaffirm my decision to wean. With Liam, he was NOT letting go. We tried one day of the "cold turkey method" and this child went ballistic. It really made me dial back and realize I was going to have to do this gradually (which is recommended, anyway). So, that's what we did. I never offered "boobie" (yes, that's what my two years old would say out loud -- anywhere when he wanted to nurse), I only allowed for nursing when he asked. And he only really ever wanted to nurse at bedtime. So that's what we did for 4-5 weeks and eventually, he stopped asking. I didn't even realize it, initially. One night Justin brought up that he didn't hear Liam ask for boobie... and that was because he didn't. Then when I thought about it, I realized Liam hadn't nursed almost a full week. I was so relieved! My son weaned on his terms and in a relatively painless amount of time. I was not mad about that.

I do think there were a few things we did to encourage the process a little bit, and those things include:

1. Giving our toddlerhood room, literally. We switched from co-sleeping at all sleep times, to only co-sleeping at night. Liam has his own room with his own bed; he takes naps in his toddler bed without any nursing, parent sleeping beside him, etc.

2. Not offering to breastfeed. I was once guilty of this. Whenever he was crying or tired, I would offer nursing as an option. I knew it would help soothe him but at the same time, he remained dependent on breastfeeding for that comfort.

3. I stopped wearing easily accessible breastfeeding tops. Out of sight out of mind, right? If he didn't see an accessible way to nurse, I felt like he was less susceptible to asking or grabbing at my shirt. I noticed a big difference the first day I did this.

Writing this has me feeling SO emotional that this phase of our mommy/son relationship has closed. I am so grateful for breastfeeding and the many ways in which it fostered not only a viable source of nourishment for my baby but the bond it allowed us to have. This is my third breastfed babe and I would not have it any other way for our family.

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