I’m truly thankful that I was able to nurse Evie until she was 18months old. The decision to end this journey was mine and it was not made lightly. I think if it were up to Evie she would’ve nursed forever. With a crazy work schedule and Evie mainly nursing for comfort, I just made the decision for us. This weaning journey was not an easy one either. It took a full 2 months and I started when she was 16 months. I knew I didn’t want to just cut her off cold turkey because A. the engorgement that could happen and B. I didn't want it to be traumatic for her cause she LOVED to nurse.
Evie nursed about 5 times a day at this point so my first step was to cut out the middle of the night feeds because she mainly dream fed and not really for nutrition. This was tricky for me because we co-slept and she was able to help herself whenever she wanted. I started by wearing T-shirts to bed so she wouldn’t be able to help herself. When she would wake up to nurse, she would get a little frustrated but after 5-10min she would fall back asleep. Now the trick here was I had to pretend to still be asleep. If I acknowledged her then there would be no getting back to sleep without nursing her. After about 10 days or so she finally slept through the night without reaching to nurse!
I cut out the before bed nursing session next. She would ask to nurse but we would distract her with games, stories and cuddles until she would just fall asleep. This took about another week until she stopped asking to nurse before bed. After that I cut out her one or two feeds before nap time. Again this was just done with lots of distraction and just not giving into her persistent asking. This was a little harder cause I didn't have Daddy to help put her down for naps during the week and there's only so much begging I can take before I give in. It took another 2 weeks for her to cut out before nap time nursing sessions. Again I wanted to do it the slow way so patience was key. At this point I had no engorgement so I was very grateful for that and I stopped pumping when she was 12 months old so I definitely did not want to get that thing back out or have to hand express.
Side story: I took at trip to New York when Evie was 11 months old and thought this would be the perfect time to wean her from nursing since I wasn't going to be home. BAD IDEA. I was so not prepared for what was to come on those 4 days away. I did not bring my pump or anything breastfeeding related. I was so engorged it was terrible to even raise my arms up. I hand expressed in the hot shower to help with the engorgement and that was absolutely NO FUN. I remember even hand expressing in a bathroom in a restaurant cause I was so engorged. Luckily I had a tight sports bra with me so wearing that helped a lot and by day 4 it was more bearable. I knew I never wanted to experience that again, hence my slow weaning journey. Evie nursed like normal when I got back and my supply went back up after a few days of nursing again.
My last nursing session to wean was the morning one. This was Evie's favorite time to nurse and our really good bonding time. At this point when Evie would wake up I would cuddle with her in bed for just a few minutes then started her morning routine immediately. So getting her excited about brushing her teeth and eating breakfast was a feat in itself. After a week or two she finally stopped asking to nurse in the mornings. And that was it!! She never asked to nurse again and knows its not something to ask for anymore.
During this time I found that the words "Evie's a big girl now" and " No more mommy's milk" helped to reinforce it a lot. I'm really glad that I had the patience to slowly wean her and kind of let her have a part n it too. Letting her truly understand that she's a big girl now and she'll be okay without mommy's milk. Of course I think every mom should nurse however long they want or are able, but this is what worked best for our family. I really hope that this is helpful to other moms out there too!!