Weaning twins at a year

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Do you see the teeth?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, IAbigail finds solid foods more exciting than breastfeeding. Hmm, watermelon! 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 himSo much fun at a Memorial Day picnic 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.  


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7 thoughts on “Weaning twins at a year”

  1. I’m sooo conflicted about what to do myself about this. The boys are 9 months (today!) and I am for sure going to nurse until they are a year. But when to wean?

    On one hand, the benefits include all the typical health ones for the boys plus I can eat like a total pig plus for the first time in my life I actually have boobs. The downsides are the obvious ones like I can’t leave them alone for longer than 3 or so hours (in my infinite wisdom I never gave them bottles and I *hate* pumping).

    I really want my body back. I’d love to be able to not have to do the night time routine for once. But on the other hand, we’re not having any more kids. So, this is it. Am I really ready to never breastfeed again? I’m still mourning the fact that I’m never going to be pregnant again.

    Sigh. I’m hoping that somewhere around the one year mark I’ll get some sign. Like one or both of the boys shows a marked lack of interest in nursing. Or I get so fed up with it that I stop feeling so ambivalent.

    Anyway, congrats Rebecca! It sounds like your weaning process went well for all involved.

  2. Good for you! I can’t get over the ped’s advice though, nice recipe for mastitis for you and tantrums for them!

    We’re still nursing at 21 months, 2X a day (occasionally 3 for my daughter). I think my son would drop it all as easily as yours did, but my daughter freaks out if there’s even a hint she might not get to nurse. Right now, it works for all 3 of us, so we’re going with it. But it’s nice to read about how others were able to effectively wean.

  3. Ahh, such a timely topic for us! My girls are 13 1/2 months and we have cut down really easily to 2 x’s a day for one (first thing in the morning and at bedtime) of them, 1 x a day (bedtime) for the other. It seems kind of strange that one is more ready to wean than the other, but Alayna wakes up to nurse at 6am and falls back to sleep, and Mylie sleeps right through it and doesn’t seem to care about nursing when she wakes up. I am thankful they seem to be weaning on their own terms – I really don’t want to force the issue. But I, too, will be more than happy to have my body back! (And a tiny bit sad about my girls growing up so fast)

  4. Great post! Exciting to imagine when my fraternal girls, now four months, will be ready to wean. Before I get there though, I have a breastfeeding question for “Ask the Moms.” Don’t know quite where to send it:

    My girls are four months and are exclusively breastfeeding. I pump for the meals I miss while working. All is well for now, they’re growing and not too fussy, but I can tell the babies would like more milk than they’re getting. 4 oz. +/- 5 times a day.

    Is there a way to boost supply without getting off our successful schedule? Will it happen on it’s own? Will food make up for the lower milk supply?


  5. Hi Gena,
    Don’t know if anyone answered you personally but I wanted to tell you the story I heard at my twins club. One mom said that after she fell asleep with a breast pump on she could fill up 10 bottles in a shot! She also said that she needed to eat like half a pie in a sitting to be able to produce that much milk.
    Seriously though the only way I know to increase your supply is to pump as soon as they are done feeding to make sure your breasts are COMPLETELY drained, and in a day or two, you will start producing more. But when mine made it to 4 months my pediatrican was recommending supplementing with rice cereal. I think I held off til 5 months but if the kids are hungry starting on rice ceral of supplementing with formula might be the way to go…

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