The Weaning Chronicles

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When the time came for me to wean my twosome, the challenge was twofold: emotional and physical. There were the regular ups and down of leaving behind their infancy and their total dependence on me, and at times I was weepy and sad. But what was even harder was figuring out how to wean. There is lots of information out there for dropping nursing sessions, but that wasn’t really my issue. From 4 months on, I had been exclusively pumping for my son (who just up and quit nursing seemingly overnight), and nursing my daughter or pumping bottles for her too.  Needless to say, I was a pumping pro, and my body was accustomed to producing a certain amount of milk EVERY DAY. Some day, someone might google “weaning from pump,” so I thought I would share my experience, in the hopes that it might help another mom. Here are my notes I kept for that very purpose:

Week 1:3 bottles breastmilk, 1 sippy cup of breastmilk

Week 2:3 bottles of breastmilk, 1 cup of whole milk; replace afternoon bottle with whole milk, drop afternoon pumping

Week 2, Day 3: develop ENORMOUS baseball sized plugged duct. Massage, hot compresses, pump. Up at 4 am, massage, hot compresses, pump. Dislodge plug. Lesson learned. Dropping the afternoon pumping was too drastic.

Week 2, Day 4: pump in morning, pump for 5 minutes in afternoon, pump at night. See decrease in supply.

Week 2, Day 5: pump in morning and evening, see decrease in supply.

Week 3:Kids are on 2 bottle of breastmilk, 2 cups of whole milk

Feeling anxious, nervous, guilty, unsure; Confusing in my mind to go from doing everything possible to make as much milk as possible to seeing the amount being pumped go down and down…stopping the pump before 3rd letdown…recognizing that the amt of food I desire is decreasing. Does seem lovely and natural to no longer be pumping in afternoon

Haven’t nursed Faith in days…feeling okay about that…our memorable last nursing was a Saturday morning…she was being sweet, drank her fill and then started playing…have occasionally offered to her, but she isn’t interested…

Mother’s Day is tomorrow…feeling weepy and sentimental, wondering if I nursed F for the last time…

Week 4:Feeling content, relieved, not too guilty, proud of our year. Gradually decreasing amount of time pumping in morning and evening. Kids are on 1 bottle of breastmilk, 3 cups of whole milk.

Had a revelation in Target…they finished their sippy cups of milk, and I realized that I could BUY them more milk! I didn’t need to rush home, or worry, or plan 20 steps ahead…very freeing! Amount of milk in my breasts decreasing…no issues of discomfort…

Week 5: Once I had completely weaned from pumping and nursing Faith, I went three days with out pumping/nursing and my breasts gradually filled up with milk to the point that I was quite uncomfortable. However, I rode it out, and the discomfort only lasted two days, and then I dried up quite quickly.

Becoming a pump free family has been a very nice change for us.  It was time, and I am grateful that it worked for us to give the kids breastmilk for a year.  I am thankful to have my body back, but I was very disheartened to see my DD+ shrink to barely a B in one month. I also have had some issues with weight gain. I really tried to cut back on my calories, and become more aware of my intake, but within days of totally weaning, I had gained NINE pounds. Several of those pounds came back of, and it may be more related to having PCOS, but it was very discouraging and made me want to hook my self back up to my milking machine!

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9 thoughts on “The Weaning Chronicles”

  1. It’s funny, but the closer I get to my twins’ first birthday, the more I want to start the weaning process! I thought I would want to nurse until they left for college. Nursing them has been my excuse for eating whatever I want, whenever I want!

    But I’m starting to want to get my life/body/time back.

    It sounds like your second attempt at weaning was very successful for all involved. I’ll give it a try in a few months!

  2. Thanks for sharing! I also have had weight gain, about 8 to 10 pounds since January when I started dropping nursing sessions (though they still nurse morning and night). I know I need to get my eating more under control, but I don’t feel as though my appetite has decreased accordingly.

    And am I the only one who wants to know what size you were before pregnancy/nursing? =)

  3. Just wondering on the opposite end how did you get such a great milk supply? I feel like I don’t have enough for my twins. They get bottles of breastmilk and they get nursed, but I am having to supplement with formula. Any suggestions to increasing supply?

  4. Mommyx6, I just thought I would respond (since I’ve been there too). The only way that I could really increase my milk supply was to A) Eat quite a bit and B) Make sure to completely drain each breast after nursing. For me that meant pumping every time when they were done nursing to make sure, and then I would save every little ounce that came out of course – liquid gold!

  5. I too want to respond to Mommyx6. It took me 3 months before I was able to give my twins breast milk only (had to supplement with formula in the beginning). Trust me, your body is capable of producing enough milk for both babies, you just need to be persistent. Pumping is the way to go! I pumped every four hours, and kept pumping away, until I had enough for them. I found it too difficult to breast feed them, so I bottle fed my twin boys breast milk the entire time. Don’t give up, keep pumping, and eat more :)

    Krissy, I have the same issues as you when I weaned! The guilt with giving them formula instead of breast milk was soon washed away by the new sense of freedom from the pump! It feels so good to not have to rush home every four-five hours to pump!! Nice to have the breast back to normal size instead of huge watermelons, and fighting to fit in clothes. Well, unfortunately, like you, I also experience sudden weight gain. I was shocked and thought it was just me, I’m glad to see that it’s a normal thing that happens to all who wean! They don’t tell you that in books or in articles regarding weaning on the internet. The crazy appetite had to be curbed! I realize now that I used to eat for four! I was all excited that my breasts were shrinking, thinking I could fit into my old clothes, only to discover that weight gain, especially in the hips, meant that my regime of baggy clothes was still here to stay.

    By the way, it took me two months to completely stop pumping! It was so painful that I had to do it VERY slowly, by first stretching out the hours between pumping, before eliminating pump sessions. I’ve completely stopped since three weeks ago, and while the breasts are much smaller, I still leak every day. Can’t wait to stop using breast pads!!

    Anyway, thanks for writing an article on weaning. Like you said, while there are tons of articles on weaning on the internet, there aren’t a whole lot of first person experiences with weaning, especially for people like me who are trying to wean from the pump. And especially twin moms like us who have twice the amount of milk!!

    Thanks! :)

  6. What types of pumps are you (ZoInka and Michele using) And thanks for the great advise. I hadn’t related my raveging appetite to breastfeeding, guess I need to eat and drink more.


  7. OMG, I actually googled “wean from pump” and was so grateful to find this personal story. Thank you for sharing!! I’m frustrated and at the “haven’t pumped in 3 days and am very full” stage…so it’s good to hear that you felt better after a few more days. I am soooo tempted to pump to deflate a bit but also want to just be done, KWIM?

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