Today Keep Britain Breastfeeding bloggers are sharing blog posts about breastfeeding beyond a year. I therefore want to share how I weaned my 3 year old. At the end of this post, you can enter two giveaways: One is for the Breastfeeding Scavenger Hunt and the other one is for a Keep Britain Breastfeeding Infant T-Shirt from Lactivist. (winner can choose the size)
I breastfed my son Derin for the last time at the end of December. He was just 19 days shy of his third birthday. I had always thought I would let him wean when he is ready, as I did with his bigger sister Defne, As it happens, life had other plans for us.
I breastfed through a pregnancy, then I tandem fed both kids. Defne self weaned around the age of five. When Derin was 2.5 years old, I tried to night wean him. He was a nipple twiddler and nothing could stop him. Especially during the nights, I found it very difficult to deal with. I could not sleep through while he was breastfeeding and once I was fully awake,I couldn't settle back.
I had night weaned Defne very easily at the same age. Yet with Derin things were very different. He is a very strong willed child and protested it very loudly (!) when I offered an alternative like a cuddle or a drink of water.
He was not sleeping through, waking up at least 3-4 times at night. I was busy with my training, staying up late to study. During the day, he was always on top of me. I was feeling exhausted.
Both my mother and my husband were telling me weaning would be the best solution. It would be, however I would feel guilty for not letting him self wean and secondly I did not know how to wean him. I had already failed at night weaning!
Days were passing by. In April I would have my practical exam, I was thinking how I was going to manage it. I had not slept properly in 6 years. All this tiredness was taking its toll: I had turned into an impatient person and I have to admit I was not the mother I aspire to be.
One day I was speaking to my sister and she told me "Why don't you just tell him that your breasts hurt and that they need to rest? You can even put some plasters on. That is how I weaned my daughter" I said "Well, your daughter was 16 months old then. Derin is almost 3 and I am sure he will scream his head off." I would rather wean him gently and slowly.
A couple of days later, while I was in the shower, I just thought why don't I just try my suggestion? If he gets upset, I could just carry on breastfeeding.
So, after the shower, I went in the living room, Derin was playing and I was sitting on the sofa. He came to me and asked to breastfeed and I told him that breastfeeding really hurts mummy so mummy needed some plasters. He wanted to have a look and then he said "Ok". No fuss! No crying! No screaming! I was positively surprised.
He asked one more time at bedtime, but again he was absolutely fine. I was shocked. If someone had told me,I would not believe it.
The next few days, he asked a couple of times and each time I told him, "Mummy just needs to rest a bit" and that was it. I would never ever believe this would be so easy,without any tears, without any fuss! Apparently, he was ready to wean but just needed an encouragement. Now that he is getting older, it is changing but in the past we found that it is not easy to persuade Derin to do things moderately! With Derin, something was either black or white,no gray!For instance, when he wanted to watch television, I was trying to limit it to 45 minutes or 1 hour. Yet, once he started watching it, it was difficult to turn it off. One day last September, we got so fed up with this, we told him that the tv is out of order. That was the end of it. He asked a few times when it is going to be fixed etc but that was it. He is allowed to watch some Youtube videos from the computer or Ipad. And we are so glad that he can spend his time playing, resting or reading rather than watching TV.
Therefore I felt that, rather than decreasing our breastfeeding sessions, or night weaning, it would be better to wean completely. It was pretty cold turkey, but very easy. He was ready to move on the next phase and so was I.
After 6 years of breastfeeding, having no more nurslings felt pretty awkward to me at first. But I was also ready to close this chapter in my life.
Derin started waking up around 5 o'clock, saying he was hungry. He would eat a banana and then go back to sleep. Also he started eating a ton during the day, I felt a bit anxious but it gradually decreased and he started to sleep through. I felt blessed to sleep through as well.
While weaning Derin did not go as I anticipated, Derin taught me that each child is different. Although he did not have the chance to self wean, I felt happy and relieved that it happened so easily, without any tears. Also I felt that it was the best decision for the whole family.
On the other hand, I did miss breastfeeding a lot in the early weeks. I missed the closeness, the eyes that look at you lovingly when you are breastfeeding ... I tried to hold Derin at each and every opportunity to make up for it.
Did you wean an older child? How was your experience?
A few other bloggers that participate to Keep Britain Breastfeeding 2013 are Pea Musings, Diary of a First Child, Me,The Man and The Baby, and Circus Queen.Good luck and I hope you enjoy reading all the posts!
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