Weaning twins. I had been dreading it for months. I’d heard stories of people still breastfeeding their twins months after they were planning to quit, because the babies just weren’t ready to stop. That’s fine for other people, but by 12 months, I was done with breastfeeding. I was glad I did it, thrilled I could do it for my kids…and so, so ready to have my body back. We went to a wedding out of town….and I took my breastpump. Blech. I had to work in the evening…and needed to make sure I’d put the kids down before I left, since they were still breastfeeding. I had to teach a class, right in the middle of the day. Out comes the breast pump again. Oh, and my favorite, Danny (finally) got teeth….hmmm…biting. Always fun.
So, I decided at nine months that we were going to prepare to stop at around a year. Keep in mind that while we were no longer BFing at night at that point, my kids were eating about SIX times a day. Yeah. All the time. We did first thing in the morning, 8:30am, 12pm, 2:30-3:30pm, 5:30pm and bedtime (6:30pm). Yeah, it was a bit out of control. But, it worked for us, and it worked around nap schedules, babysitter schedules and sleep in days (ahh, Sunday is my day!). So, at the nine month appointment I asked the pedi how often they should BF at a year. She said four times, then, when they turn a year, it can be none. Huh. In one day? This made no sense to me. Her advice on weaning….just stop on their first birthday. Cold turkey. Huh. HUH. Was she crazy??!!! Anyone who has BF (or has half a brain) can imagine what that scenerio would be like. Happy first birthday kiddos—-let’s enjoy a week of screaming while Mommy’s breasts explode. Hmmm. No, thanks.
So, we came up with our own plan. Over the next three months, we slowly dropped from six feedings to four. First, we dropped the 5:30pm. Then, if we were out and busy at a feeding time, we might skip it unless the kids fussed. We then dropped the 8:30am one. So we were down to 5:30am, 12pm, 3:30pm & 6:30pm. On babysitter days, I got back at 12:30pm. So, those days, they were ok going a little longer. On days when I had class, I’d be gone until 2pm. So, we started skipping the 12pm on those days. A couple of weeks before they turned 1, they seemed ready to drop the 3:30pm—already, if we were out and doing stuff, they weren’t interested in eating. So I scheduled a bunch of things in the afternoon one week, and we went out playing instead of eating. They did fine. A week or two later, an interesting thing happened. We were down to three regular feedings a day (the pediatrician had said four, but this was only a couple of weeks before they turned one, so I figured they’d be ok—besides, she had honestly lost a little legitimacy after the whole “stop cold turkey” idea. I mean, really). Anyway, one day Danny didn’t really want to nurse at 12pm . Or at 6:30. I pushed the 6:30 one. After a lot of work, he did eat a bit. The next night, the same thing. I pushed more, he bit, we stopped. After a few days where he really didn’t want to eat except in the morning, I came to the realization that he would be one in three days. THREE DAYS. What was I doing?! Did I want him to realize how much he liked nursing. Um, no. So, i went out and bought some whole milk and new sippies. They liked the milk. A lot. I stopped feeding Danny except in the am.
A few days later, I stopped feeding Abigail at 12pm as well. We would have some fussies at that time, but some lunch and a nap fixed that, and she’d wake up her usual happy self. We continued on like this for a few weeks, while I waited for Abigail to lose interest. Hmmm. Not so much. I tried dropping the evening and she cried and cried in her crib. I fed her. We then went to plan #2, dropping the morning. We did Danny first. my husband got him from him crib, took him downstairs, offered a sippy with milk. No problem. A few days later, it was Abigail’s turn. Again, my husband got her while I showered. Again, no problem. A bit more crying from Abigail than from Danny, but she was ok. That week she skipped the night feeding twice–once when she fell asleep on the way home from and evening pediatrician appointment (ear infection #4—wasn’t breastfeeding supposed to prevent that??!!) and another time when she was super tired. Finally, when she turned 13 months, we got home from an out of town trip and said, “That’s it!”. My husband put her to bed with her story instead of me (I did Danny). We listened. We waited. She went to sleep.
It was odd how anti-climactic it was. I didn’t even realize that last night, that it would be our last time breastfeeding. Do I miss it? No, I was ready. Am a honestly a bit sad at how easily they dropped it? Yep. But I’m more relieved than sad. Now, three weeks later, we are breastfeeding-free! And, the benefits of weaning as gradually as I did—-no engorgement, no pumping, no mastitis (which I did get three times in the first nine months). It was easy and painless. And, when I go out of town this weekend without babies (grandmothers are fantastic!), I don’t have to lug the breastpump.