Dear comrades, I am about to embark on a very difficult journey of weaning my 19-month-old daughter off my breastmilk. I embarked on this journey at the beginning of the year and I failed dismally.
I was once hospitalized for 4 days, and when I came back home with rock hard boobs full of milk, my daughter did not want to take it. This was an emotional time for me because I was missing her so much, and looked forward to getting home and bonding with my girl. I tried giving her the boob and she refused every time. Later I learned that she was on a breastfeeding strike. So babies and toddlers are very smart beings. If their world shakes or disrupts in any way, they react or rather, protest. So this was her protest for not getting breastmilk for 4 days.
I was not ready at that point to wean my daughter off breastfeeding, so I sneakingly put my boob in her mouth while she was sleeping, and she took it with ease. She is so used to breastfeeding at night, the protest did not apply anymore.
The journey begins
This was early 2018. Around December 2018, I made a decision to wean her off the boob because she was growing very dependant on me. She was not coping in public spaces and would never want to play with other kids when I am around. When she saw me, she saw boobs and that all she wanted. So, I felt that I needed to help her gain her independence as the boobs were inhibiting her ability to do so.
So for her sake, and mine, I decided to wean her off. I remembered the breastfeeding strike she went on and thought it would be a good idea to take her to her grandmother for a couple of days. After Christmas, I took her to my mother and fetched her after a week. Excited that she must have forgotten all about the boob, I got disappointed by the sight of a small hand in my shirt. That was the first thing she wanted when she saw me.
So my mom decided to apply chili powder on my nipples. I did that and she still sucked it. She reacted to the chili, but that did not stop her from continuing to suck it off. As I said, these small humans are smarter than we think.
Weaning off pain
That week of having her with my mom was hell. It was not advised to pump as that would trick my body to continue producing milk. So I was sitting around the house with rock hard boobs. I was using hot towels to relieve the pain, but the pain was so excruciating, I could not help but cry.
Epson salts came highly advisable during this time. I heard that I need to swallow that in order to dry up the milk. I do not know if this works, but I did not use it for too long so I would not know.
Now I need my body back. I am back at the gym now and trying to get back into my old body. So I also need my boobs back. I am also slightly over a toddler that keeps whooping my boob out randomly in public. This is why I am making a good at weaning again.
I have read up on a lot of ways I could expedite the process, and most are very psychological. Most of them have to do with halting breastfeeding as a crutch. How easy is it to shove a boob in her/his mouth when they cry? I do it so much, and apparently, this is where I need to start.
I need to start learning to help her deal with emotional problems without offering her boob as some form of escape. Now, she gets it when she feels bored, unhappy, crying, overexcited, too busy etc. This is going to be very interesting for us, but I am ready.
Communication and consistency
We also need to learn to verbally communicate in a gentle and understanding way why we are not nursing as often as we used to. It is important to cut down on the number of times the baby feeds.
Consistency is key so I will have to learn to not crack under pressure.
Aloe vera is apparently very effective in creating an undesirable taste that leads them away from the breast. I just got a bunch, and will start using it towards the weekend just in case night time becomes a challenge.
Our breastfeeding journey has not been an easy one, and I know that stopping will also not.
Wish me luck yall.
Thank you for sharing this journey with me 🙂