I have had a few people ask me about how I weaned Henry off of nursing and onto cow’s milk. I thought I would write a post about it so everyone could read about my experience. I know I found it helpful when I was planning to wean!
I originally planned to nurse Henry well past his first year, but as you all know, I became pregnant when Henry was 11 months. I thought I would continue to nurse, but then my chest became so sensitive (good old pregnancy hormones), so I decided that I would continue only until his birthday. Looking back I’m glad I made that decision. I also wanted enough time to pass between weaning and the new baby being born that Henry wouldn’t be jealous of the new baby feeding.
I started weaning Henry at 11 months. At that time he was nursing in the morning, after his 2 naps during the day, at bedtime and then once in the middle of the night. I started by dropping his feeding after his morning nap. I just didn’t offer the breast and then gave him a sippy cup of warm half breast milk half cow’s milk. He didn’t really love it and it would take him HOURS to finish 1 sippy cup. I did this for a week. On the 2nd day Henry was getting really impatient for his cup and I wasn’t finished making it. I had just poured the cow’s milk in, but not the breast milk and I hadn’t warmed it. I gave it to him, thinking he would reject it and then I would finish making it….but he CHUGGED it. Way faster than the warm half and half mix the day before. So I just gave him straight cow’s milk from then on. I guess he just didn’t like the mix!
After the first week, I dropped the feeding after his afternoon nap too. So then I was just nursing him in the morning, before bed and in the middle of the night. After a week without the 2 nap feedings, I just stopped offering the breast in the morning and instead started right into our day. He didn’t seem to notice. In fact, he kinda had lost interest in the morning feed when I started weaning. It was like he was too busy to nurse for long. I now give him cow’s milk with his breakfast in a sippy cup.
So then I was just doing the bedtime feed and the middle of the night. Well he started nursing for less and less at night all on his own. One night we were out and it was way past his bedtime when we got home. I put him right to bed and totally forgot to nurse. I thought maybe he would be hungry sooner and not sleep well but he was fine. So after that it was pretty much over. He still wakes up at night but I just give him a sippy cup of water and he takes a few sips and goes right back to sleep.
I now give cow’s milk at breakfast and after his 2 naps. My doctor told me not to give him more than 16 oz a day. So after he’s had 16 oz he gets water only and he doesn’t seem to mind.
The one thing I will say is that when I first starting weaning Henry was very clingy. I think he missed the closeness from nursing. I just cuddled him while he drank his sippy when he first woke up. Now he doesn’t need my cuddles. I usually just sit him on the floor and he drinks away until he gets distracted by the toys around him.
I didn’t notice a change until I had dropped both day time feeds. Then I was pretty full by the evening. I started wearing my nursing pads again because I would start to leak. But I was never in pain enough that I thought about pumping.
Sippy Cup or Bottle: We choose to go with a sippy cup instead of a bottle because we rarely gave Henry bottles throughout his first year. I nursed him 95% of the time, and if I was out only then would John use a bottle. We didn’t want to wean onto a bottle and then in a few months have to wean onto a sippy cup. So at about 9 months I started to really focus on getting him to drink out of the sippy cups. We found straw ones were best for us. I wouldn’t recommend starting a sippy and starting cow’s milk at the same time! I think it would be too big of an adjustment.
Hanging out with his sippy cup/
How am I doing? I was a little concerned that I would really really miss nursing. I don’t. Not one little bit. Maybe it’s because in less than 6 months I’ll be nursing another baby. Maybe it’s because I was so sensitive at the end. But Henry was also starting to just go for my chest when he wanted to nurse, as well as pulling my shirt down. I was starting to get annoyed with it. But the very best part of not nursing? I CAN WEAR WHATEVER I WANT TO WEAR NOW! No more easy access shirts! and UNDERWIRE. I missed how I looked in an awesome bra.
Henry’s new mannerisms: Since we stopped nursing, Henry will now stick his hand in my cleavage while he falls asleep. Isn’t that odd? I don’t mind it since he only does it as he’s falling asleep.
If you have any questions about my experience with weaning I would love to answer them! If you have weaned your baby I am interested to hear how it went and how long it took. If you don’t mind sharing!