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Jan 1 / Caro

No More Morning Milk?

Today, the first day of the new year, we decided to really try to implement a change that we’ve been debating for a few days but failing to actually do. This morning when Thomas woke up, Ian went in to him and took him straight downstairs where he offered him a sippy cup of cow’s milk. No coming in to our bed. And definitely no boobies, for pretty much the first time in his life.

Why the change?

Honestly, I think we’re ready to wean. And by “we”, I mean all of us. I’ve loved breast feeding, and it’s always been important to me, but I no longer have strong feelings about stopping and nor do I have strong feelings about carrying on. Ian is ready to support us whatever we choose. And Thomas – Thomas is the one showing the most signs of being ready for this change. Doing this is the only way to find out for sure.

I personally think that “self-weaning” doesn’t necessarily need to mean completely stopping feeding without prompting. I think there can be signs that a child is ready to stop and that they may need help fully acting on that. Thomas feeds from me in the mornings because he has the opportunity. I sleep with my top-half naked. We bring him in to bed when he wakes in the morning. Boobies is what he knows, so he goes for it. I went down the route of “don’t offer, don’t refuse” in the daytime a while ago, but I’ve only recently realised that I obviously am offering in the mornings with this set up. But I don’t think he’s actually that bothered. He bobs on and off, distracted by what is on our bedside tables, by books and by the baby monitor. I have no idea how much milk he actually gets.

And I’m certainly not enjoying it. He invariably head-butts me several times during his exuberant bed bouncing – two days ago he made my lip bleed. He frequently pulls off stretching my nipple back spaghetti stylie… Which hurts! If I thought he was enjoying it too, then I’d go on, but I don’t want to keep doing something I’m starting to hate if he isn’t fussed.

Had we got him up this morning and he screamed blue murder at being offered cow juice from a plastic sippy cup and then proceeded to claw at my clothes the minute I was in range, I would have capitulated in an instant. Of course I would.

But it didn’t happen.

He drank about a quarter of the cup before Ian brought him back upstairs to change his nappy. I’ll shamefully admit I’d dozed back off to sleep, but I got up at this point and dressed myself so there was absolutely no easy boob access – so they weren’t on obvious offer. By the time I got downstairs, Thomas was in the middle of the living room floor in his monster pyjamas, dancing to a musical toy. Over the course of the next 20 minutes, he drank most of the remaining milk in the cup and didn’t once paw at me or ask for milk in any other non-verbal way.

He ate his breakfast a bit earlier than normal, but ate the same quantity of Weetabix and toast as usual. It’s now just past lunchtime and he hasn’t yet asked for my boobs at all.

The new morning view

The new morning view

I think we can call that success. And I’m wearing a non-nursing bra during a “normal day”. Since he was born, I can count the number of times I’ve worn a non-nursing bra on the fingers of one hand – only when I’ve been dressing up to go out and my nursing bras wouldn’t work. Underwires feel odd these days. But in a good way.

We are ready to begin the end. I won’t be stopping the evening feed straight away. I think that would be too unfair on Thomas – too sudden. And selfishly I don’t want to be dealing with engorgement or mastitis. We’ll see how the new morning routine goes once he’s back at nursery and we’re back at work. It’s not a one way street, because I am being led by him. But it feels right, and it feels good.

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