Fifty shades of beige. My closet looks like a pop-up Victoria Secret store with every shape and size bra available. One difference? I love wearing white tops—silk, cotton, and wool get equal rotation—and so my closet VS collection contains mostly boring, albeit practical, beige.
My boobs did an alphabet dance during pregnancy—B to C to D—and I purchased a new beige bra or two every time I grew a size. Sports bra B’s and strapless C’s and a whole lotta nursing D’s fill my bra shelf and occupy space in my sock drawer. Good news for my socks? I’m weaning, and last week my boobs started the reverse alphabet jig—D to C and, ever so slowly, back to B.
Now you know about the state of my boobs and my bra collection (TMI? NBD), and I’m curious why I’ve never read/overheard similar discussions about weaning. There’s a wealth of information (classes, books, specialists, websites, etc.) about breastfeeding, but there’s limited information about getting little ones off the boob. Can someone tell how long I’ll continue lactating after I’ve finished nursing? What do I do when my little guy refuses a bottle? Is it normal to feel conflicted about weaning? And, perhaps more importantly: When does my period come back?
I tried to quit nursing at 6-months (we wanted to get pregnant again), but I wasn’t able to stop breastfeeding so easily. What’s that? You’d think it’d be nice to get my body back and wear regular clothes and not need to worry about what I’m eating and/or drinking all day long? You’re right! I tried to quit from months 6 through 9, but I backslid every morning when Max wanted my boobs like Hilary and Donald want the presidency.
I chatted with my mom (she weaned me, after all), my mother-in-law, lactation consultants and new mama friends alike, and I eventually figured out how to get Max off the boob and onto the bottle. If you’re wondering how to do the same thing, then hopefully you’ll find some of these tips and tricks useful:
- Watch the clock. Max loves to eat, and he’d crawl over to me, lift my shirt, and eagerly search for his lunch. When I couldn’t say no, I’d look at the clock and time him: Only one minute on each boob. This timing trick worked because it gave me a bit of relief as we weaned, and it also kept him hungry for other food sources.
- Fill your diaper bag with breakfast, lunch and dinner. For me, being prepared for mealtime was a battle with a steep learning curve. Breastfeeding allowed me to run out the door without bringing formula or food, and still know Max had plenty to eat. Weaning started working when I remembered to pack formula, bottled water, and blueberry oatmeal pouches.
- Recruit help. Whenever I felt myself slipping—you know, Max is hungry, I’m engorged, and nursing just feels right—I’d ask Jon (my husband) to give Max a bottle. This was especially useful late at night and/or early in the morning.
- Offer variety at mealtime. Max is more likely to forget about nursing if I provide a whole lotta mealtime options, and so he gets a colorful lunch complete with mac n’ cheese, steamed broccoli, baby mum mum’s and peach cups.
- Hide your girls. This tip is huge! Pack away flow-y tops, button downs and any other garments that make it easy to pull out your boobs.