Thursday, January 29, 2009

The Weaning Story

So I have been wanting to post this but haven't had time. First off, for those who don't know me, some back ground. I am a certified lactation counselor. I nursed my oldest for 6months(i was 21, had some issues nursing that i was uneducated about namely birth control drying up my milk) I nursed my next two boys for 2 1/2 years. This was the right amount of time for us. I assumed Indigo would be about the same. I was so wrong.
Everything started off normal. He wasn't a great nurser, had some tongue thrust issues but nothing i couldn't handle.(um, I'm like a professional!) He did nurse all night long. That was tough, I wish he would nurse all night long now.
This past summer, just before his first birthday I started to give him vanilla soy milk in a bottle. I had a wedding to go to that was five hours away. I would have to be gone all day and most of the night. Indigo would not drink pumped milk out of a bottle. My theory was if it tasted yummy enough, he would drink it. He did. He also started to take the pumped milk. I was thrilled. After the wedding, and his first birthday, i introduced the sippy cup. Pretty standard. I was also desperately trying to get him into his own bed.
I honestly don't mind babies sleeping with us.Honestly, I love to cuddle with them. Mike loves it less, but usually does not complain. Forrest and Gaynor slept with us. Gaynor until he was four. Harland loved his crib and slept so much better there.(this made me sad too) Indigo seemed to want to be in our bed. The only problem was he writhed and kicked and hit and kicked and (my favorite) head butted us, litterally all night long. No one was sleeping. I even bled a few times! Nothing like a fat lip at 3 am. So, i, in desperation, purchased "THE THREE DAY SLEEP SOLUTION" It comes with a money back garuntee, how could I go wrong! I followed it to the T. Don't let any one tell you different, this IS the Cry it out method. It took two nights and he was sleeping, no binky, no more up in the night....GREAT....RIGHT? Not really.
Indigo was furious! He was awful all day long! clingy, cranky, angry. He immediately associated nursing with going into the crib and refused to nurse, period! This went on for about 5 days, i thought it would get better. He was after all sleeping all night long, in his own bed. Well, it did not. I gave back the binky, stopped the whole process, took him back to bed (head butts and all) and returned the program and got a full refund!, i believe the damage was done. He still would rarely nurse. He just kept asking for a cup. By November, he had weaned completely. I even tried taking the cup away. I was pretty upset.
Mike was confused, "Isn't it ideal for a child to wean himself?" Ya, i said, but at like two, not one! Sad Mamma.

So now, months later, here is how it goes. I am super inconsistent. Like that is any big news. In my defense, so is Indigo. He always takes naps and goes into bed at night with no tears and no problem. (yes he still has the binky in bed only....I'm weak and I'm guilty) He wakes up at night usually just as i am starting to doze off. I swear he has some type of alerting system! ** I sometimes take him into our bed and he will go right back to sleep, all is well. Sometimes I take him into our bed and he beats us up all night. Sometimes I super nanny him, which works really well. I go in to his room, lay him back down with binky, elmo and grover, and sit on the floor near his bed with my head down. He occasionally cries for a minute but usually settles right down. Once he is asleep i go back to bed. Some nights I do this once or twice, all is well. Sometimes, on like the third or fourth time i find myself about to freeze my butt off sitting on his bedroom floor. I just take him to my bed. See ** above. And so the vicious, inconsistent cycle continues.
He has also had staff infection. NO IDEA how this happened. But not one of my "I am the best mom" moments. He continues to get killer diaper rashes often. I even tried disposables, no change. I of course, attribute all of this to him no longer nursing. Yes, I have guilt. It is especially hard on me as this could very well be my last little nursing monkey. I miss it terribly.


RedLentil said...

Oh, I feel for you so much! It's so hard isn't it and, as you know, there's no easy or right answer. I didn't manage to breastfeed my first child for more than a few days (my excuse is that I was 18 and didn't really have a clue) and then he went on to suffer from terrible, head-to-foot severe eczema. I felt so guilty and blamed it all on not breastfeeding.

My next three children are actually not my birth children but with my youngest son I was determined to breastfeed. After a few issues we cracked it and absolutely loved it! He did choose to nurse all night, every night for a couple of years which was hard but I stuck with it. He eventually stopped gradually when he was 3 and 3 months,though I'm sure it wouldn't have taken much encouragement for him to continue for alot longer. He's almost 4 now and still shows signs of missing it.

Some babies are easy, some are really, really hard ... and others just throw everything you think you know about babies on it's head, lol! Don't beat yourself up about it too much (even though it's impossible not to!), just remember that you're doing your best and you sound like a really, really great mum :)

Kirsten said...

Inconsistent.. Flexible. Whatever!! Sounds like you need a spin doctor. You are teaching him to be responsive to a given situation. Situations change daily Ask Tom Dashal. You are giving him the gift of determining when and how to make his demands known.

I of course say all of this while typing with one hand holding my non-sleeping, nurse all night, head butting, co-sleeper. Who has just navigated his penis out his diaper. I'm not sure that is in any parenting books.

Bea said...

That's fantastic to have nursed until 2 and a half. I would have been delighted with that! Its so interesting how each child has varied so much; sounds like you could not have possibly given more..maybe we are just at the mercy of their individual tendencies and characteristics.
My boys are twins and I only nursed for two months, and a lot of that time they were takng it in turns to have formula and breast.. which sounds confusing looking back... but they were such different feeders! R was tiny, and had quite chronic gastric reflux. He was a very deliberated feeder and took a while to regain his birthweight, and L was the opposite; guzzled the milk and couldn't get enough!
I like to think if they'd been born at different times, I'd have nursed for at least a year. L had less breast milk overall, and he is so much more susseptible to colds and has had infantile excema. Hard to measure, but I do wonder...
The boys both end up in our bed by morning. They are 3 now and go off to sleep in their beds but come in to ours before morning. I am really not looking forward to the day that they don't want to!