Weaning my baby...long, kind of sad, maybe TMI

I think it’s time to wean my baby. My 9 1/2 month old, sweet, cuddly miracle baby. I’ve pretty much decided to do this, so I’m not really looking for arguments against it, as well-meaning as they may be. Just wanted to vent and share and hopefully find some encouragement.

I’m very pro-breastfeeding. My son nursed until he was 15 months and gradually weaned himself when I became pregnant again. I thought this time breastfeeding would be easier, and I was looking forward to nursing her just as long, or maybe longer, than her brother. We got off to a rocky start, with her being in the NICU for 2 weeks, but after we brought her home everything seemed to be working out.

At six months she started teething. Her latch deteriorated and I developed severe cracks in my nipples (sorry if TMI). Mastitis was next—knocked me on my ass quicker than my last bout of influenza—but two weeks of antibiotics cleared it up and we soldiered on. A few weeks ago she had 5 (yes, 5!) teeth coming in at once. She had still been sleeping next to me, and nursing throughout the night, but suddenly she was awake most of the night screaming in pain, unable to nurse. She went on a nursing strike. For a whole week I could not get her to latch on, so I was pumping fulltime (instead of just at work) and giving her milk in a sippy cup. It was a hellacious week, but finally all 5 of those teeth came in and last weekend I got her to nurse again. Yea! Or so I thought :frowning:

A couple of days ago she started teething again, and the pain is just horrible, for both of us I’m sure. I was pumping at work this morning, and getting just blood out of one side, I guess because the tissue has been so traumatized and damaged from her teeth. I can’t see this getting any better, I’m so tired of the pain, and I’m terrified of getting mastitis again. So I’m going to start weaning her to a sippy cup fulltime, and gradually cut back on pumping, and I guess she’ll just have to take formula for a couple of months until we can transition to cow’s milk.

I’m really quite upset by this, and since I didn’t have to force my son to wean, I’m not sure how to do it. We’ve tried formula a couple of times in the past and she flat-out refused it. I know we can give her water and juice to keep her hydrated, but she has to have either formula or breastmilk, so I hope she can get used to the taste of formula. I am totally clueless about how to comfort a baby without nursing (though her recent “strike” taught me some valuable lessons). She has a hard time falling asleep and staying asleep without nursing, so I’m going to have to move her to her crib fulltime too, so she doesn’t try to nurse in her sleep. For whatever reason, my husband is completely unable to comfort her when she’s upset (believe me, he has tried), so the burden of getting her through this transition will fall largely on me.

Sorry this is so long. It’s just not how I expected this to end. I feel in some ways a failure, yet I’m secretly relieved that this will soon be over (the pain and unpleasantness, that is). And terribly, terribly guilty about feeling relieved :frowning: If you made it this far, thanks for reading, and please send good wishes my way, for the next couple of weeks will be very difficult I’m sure.

Awwwwww… sorry things are working out in such a way that you need to wean sooner than planned. I nursed Dweezil until he was 2ish and meant to nurse Moon Unit as long as she wanted, but she had other ideas (self-weaned at a year old) so I have an idea how frustrating it is. I wonder if it’s something about girls vs. boys???

Can only guess at how painful it’s become but it sounds like you’re definitely doing the right thing for you. Pat yourself on the back for giving baby as much as you have.

Could you continue to pump for a bit (on the side that’s producing milk, not the bloody one) and give her a mixture of formula and breastmilk in a bottle or cup? Maybe gradually increasing the proportion of formula vs. breastmilk? That might help her get used to the difference in taste.

Have you tried gradually increasing the ratio of formula to breastmilk?

I breastfeed but Bella still gets formula maybe twice a day so dad can feed. (I never had much luck with pumping) Lately nursing has become very painful with teeth coming in, plus this head jerking thing she’s started AND the kneading of the boob that I just can’t distract her from doing. I’m thinking six months might be my time to start the weaning process.
I understand what you mean about not knowing how to comfort without BF, because sometimes I feel like a human pacifier. But your baby will get used to it. My first daughter adjusted and yours will too.

You have done everything you can it seems; you shouldn’t feel guilty. There’s no reason to go through so much pain physically or emotionally.

But I understand. I feel like someone out there is shaking their heads at me for weaning at six months.

Sending good wishes your way. :slight_smile:

Thank you for your kind words. I realize I may be making more of this than I should, since she is after all, nearly 10 months old, but I guess I’m still just trying to adjust. This will probably be much harder on me than her!

Gradually introducing formula is an excellent idea–I think I will try a mixture of milk and formula tonight and see how she takes it. We will probably introduce small amounts of cow’s milk at 11 months, since that worked fine for her brother, so I really just need to hang in there another 6-8 weeks.

And I totally know what you mean, Rushgeekgirl , about the guilt about weaning “early”–even though most moms in America stop breastfeeding way before 6 months, there are still people who would rather rake you over coals for weaning before 1 year, rather than offer congrats for making it so long. Why are we moms so competitive???

I can definitely empathize with you. Breastfeeding was one of the highlights of motherhood for me, but it was much too brief.

Our older child (now 14yo) basically weaned herself when she was about 7 months old. She was eating table foods by that point, and had learned to drink from a cup, and I think she just didn’t like being confined to my chest to eat. She still liked to snuzzle, but much preferred to do it in a position where she could see what was going on around her. Weaning was definitely harder on me than it was on her. :frowning:

Our younger child (now 10yo) was born with congenital muscle problems that made breastfeeding virtually impossible. I tried hard to get it to work for almost two weeks, but it was too traumatic for both of us. We switched him to bottle-fed breast milk for a couple of months, but having a machine “nurse” me just wasn’t the same.


Hi. Are guys allowed in this thread?

As a guy who has watched his wife nurse our daughter for the last 5 months, I have great respect for those mothers that persevere through some of the difficulties of nursing.

Emony Dax, I want you to say to yourself, “I am not a failure.” Repeat as often as it takes until you believe it. A failure?! Are you kidding me? You’ve continued to try when one of your breasts is so traumatized that it’s producing more blood than milk. :eek: I’ll give you a head start.

You are not a failure.
You are not a failure.
You are not a failure.
You are not a failure.
You are not a failure.
You are not a failure.
You are not a failure.
As for the nursing police, if any of them would look down their noses at you for weaning under your current circumstances, don’t waste a second even considering their opinion. IMO, anyone who would do that is a contemptable zealot who is far more concerned about advancing their cause then the health of you and your child.

Consider good wishes sent your way.

Thank you, Linus . That really does mean a lot to me. I’m sitting here, holding my baby on my lap as I post, and she’s just giggling and playing. As much as I will miss nursing her, I will try to remember that we can bond in other ways and she’ll still be my sweet little Kate. Oh, yeah, and I am not a failure :slight_smile:

Best of luck to you and your wife. May she have a long, wonderful, trouble-free time nursing the baby. It’s over with so quickly.

Your daughter is not your son, one child is not the next one. That sounds really stupid, I know, but it helps me to remember that each of my children is different and needs different things. You and baby have done this the way it works for the two of you.
This little one is healthy and happy and the two of you love each other and she likes to be with you. What more does anybody need?
I can’t really give you advice because I didn’t have to deal with that stuff. But I’m more and more aware of how fortunate we were that way. You won’t get any BF policing from me. You’ve already gone above and beyond the call. Good luck from here on in.

Like everyone else said.

IMHO, your child needs a healthy mom who takes care of herself more than she eeds another 6 - 8 weeks of breastfeeding. And breastfeeding helps develop a tight bond between mom & child but is not necessary to maintain that bond or help develop the relationship further.

Like everyone else said.

IMHO, your child needs a healthy mom who takes care of herself more than she eeds another 6 - 8 weeks of breastfeeding. And breastfeeding helps develop a tight bond between mom & child but is not necessary to maintain that bond or help develop the relationship further.

Hate to add a “me too” post, but it’s warranted in a thread like this.

Not only have you done everything reasonable, you’ve gone far beyond what 99.9% of American mothers would have. 5 teeth at once? A two-week nursing strike? Pumping blood?! Sweetie, unless she’s got some rare metabolic disorder which makes it impossible for her to eat other food, give it up already!

Call me crazy, but that many teeth on a nursing baby means she’s ready to start using the teeth. “Nursing for a full year” is just as arbitrary as nursing for four weeks, or two months, or three fortnights. Every baby needs to nurse for a different length of time, some exclusively and some not. Your baby is not an average, she’s your baby! Watch her closely, cuddle her lots, but give her some food and put a bandage on your poor nipples. She’s no longer of an age to need breastmilk for nutrition. Bonding and oral development can happen other ways, as you say.

Also, remember that there are dozens of formulas out there, and they do taste different. If she doesn’t like one brand, try another. Also, many babies (even older ones) won’t take formula from Mom. She can smell the milk on you. Try having someone else give her the formula a few times until she decides she likes it. Once your milk dries up (only a few days) she should then take it from you.