"Weaning was just as hard for me as it was for my baby."


I still can’t believe it.

When I first started my breastfeeding journey, I announced that I was only planning on doing it for 12 weeks. Why 12? I don’t know, but I had it in my head that’s all I could take. After all, I was bottle-fed, and I’m fine, I don’t think giving a baby formula is a big deal. I still stand by that.

I didn’t count on two things: the lovely bond that is shared through the breastfeeding journey and the sheer difficulty of mastering breastfeeding. Both of these led me to go beyond my self-ascribed 12 weeks. In fact, I made it to 15 months (mental high five).

I couldn’t be prouder.

Image via iStock.

By 12 months we were down to one feed in the morning. Little miss garbage guts was content with her fill of yoghurt, cheese and cow’s milk, and the single morning feed gradually got shorter. In fact, sometimes it didn’t happen at all. “It’s time,” I thought to myself remorsefully. Yet I continued another month.

Then, missy decided it was time to play with mummy’s boobs. That didn’t feel right. She now had enough of a personality to feel like a little person, rather than a baby. It felt foreign and wrong, and I was not OK with it.  “It’s time,” I said to myself, my heart breaking slightly. Another month passed.

Then the teething hell began. Sleepless night after sleepless night, missy needing her mumma more than anything. The only thing sating her being a feed at some crazy time of night/morning. “It’s not time,” I said to myself, a little deflated – after all I was already beginning to imagine all the free time I would have by not feeding missy each morning, hell, I might even start exercising again!

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Video via Missy Lanning

Then a friend said to me, “we’ve weaned!”, smiling happy and gushing about how well her son had adapted to the whole process. It was just the push I needed. It was indeed time. And, for the most part it has been successful. Yes, I still get pinched every morning as missy claws at my top. And, yes, the first few days involved having a baby on my lap absolutely sobbing, not understanding why I wouldn’t give her what she wanted – that bit surprised me actually, as I was so certain that she was ready.

But that wasn’t the hard part. Oh no. The hard part came five days after the last feed. The hard part came in the form of tears, in the form of complete deflation, feeling an indescribable sadness and a lack of energy I was not prepared for. And this has nothing to do with baby, no, no, this was all mumma.

Image via iStock.

The hormonal changes have been overwhelming. I’m straddling the boundary of angry and sad all the time. If I’m not feeling irrationally angry about my husband cheerfully humming to himself, I’m feeling sad that I can’t find a sock in my drawer. Tears threatened as I sat at my desk today, for no apparent reason whatsoever.

And it’s all about the hormones, I googled it of course!  It has something to do with that love hormone, oxytocin, which might explain why I feel better when I’m cuddled up to my girl. So, while weaning is hard for the baby, and hard for mumma as far as letting go of that lovely closeness, there’s so much more going on in our incredible bodies. And we thought the hormonal fun stopped at the newborn stage!

So, for all those mummas who have been through this, I salute you; to those who are about to go through it, prepare yourself and ride it out; and to those of us in the middle of it? Let’s grit our teeth and get through this. After all, we’ve made it this far.

Did you struggle with weaning?

Read more from Carly Greenwood on her blog or on Facebook.

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