The Time Came…

by Susan

It actually happened… After two years and twenty-five days of letting my little girl drift to sleep while happily nursing, last night she went to sleep without.

It almost broke my heart, but I had no choice. My body decided for me. I have absolutely no milk left.

For the last couple months my body has been warning me… slowly making less and less milk available for my once-little baby. But I’m pretty sure now it’s been over a week when there hasn’t been even a drop. Yet Julia has still clung to me at nap and bedtime, and soothed herself into dreamland with memories of her favorite drink.

But it couldn’t go on like that… I was dried up and very sore. And so we pushed through our final step of weaning.

I’ve been explaining to her for the last week that mommy’s milk is all gone now because Julia is a big two year-old and doesn’t need mommy’s milk anymore, but she still insisted on ‘nursey’.

So I took the advice of a friend. I put bandaids on and showed Julia, explaining that mommy has ‘owies’ and Julia can’t nurse anymore. I told her again that the milk is all gone because she’s a big girl now and doesn’t need it.

And guess what? It worked!

It’s amazing the power of a bandaid to a child. I had told Julia many times over the last couple weeks that mommy had ‘owies’ and she couldn’t ‘nursey’ anymore, but she just pushed past and latched on. But when she saw those bandaids, it was clear – Mommy has ‘owies’ and Julia can’t ‘nursey’.

But even though she understood, it didn’t make it easy. She cried and I had to sing, rub her back, tell her stories and finally resort to a little TV to finally get her to sleep. And then she woke in the night and again we had to work hard to get back to sleep without nursing.

But we succeeded and she went to sleep without nursing. And then again today naptime was rough… it involved a lot of back rubs and eventually a little rocking… but my little girl had her nap without nursing.

I expect tonight and then next several nights will still be difficult, but we’re on our way.

If I weren’t 20 weeks pregnant, I think weaning Julia would break my heart. But it’s amazing how a swollen belly and sore breasts that no longer make milk can change things.

I still can’t imagine that Julia won’t always be my one and only precious little baby, but my body seems to be moving forward anyway.



Email Author    |    Website About Susan

Susan Carraretto and her identical twin, Janice Croze, created 5 Minutes for Mom in 2006. Susan loves all social media, but her top addiction these days is Pinterest. She recently published a children's book titled "The Pest Detectives" which you can download now in digital format for free.

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{ 34 comments… read them below or add one }

1 kelli June 3, 2007 at 10:04 pm

I had to stop nursing J at 10 weeks due to meds needed after a horrific car accident (thank God I did not have either of the babies in the car at the time). It was hard on both of us, especially after I had nursed K for months monger until the pregnancy wouldn’t allow it further.

The routine changes, but it’s still a tough thing to leave behind. Hugs to both of you :)

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2 Judy June 3, 2007 at 10:10 pm

That’s a part of motherhood I never “got over.” To this day, when I see a mother nursing her child, my body aches to nurse my babies… and my youngest is 21 years old and in the Marines serving in Iraq! It was one of my favorite parts of times with my babies.

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3 Nell June 3, 2007 at 10:26 pm

I never enjoyed it like it sounds you did, but I did miss the bonding time it offered. It’s always sad when they begin to grow up though.

I cried when Nick moved out of his crib, when we began potty training it made me a little sad…etc.

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4 Becky at the Butler's wife June 3, 2007 at 10:30 pm

That band aid thing is brilliant. It has been many years since I nursed my “babies” (24, 22, 16) but I remember changing the routine. Instead of dinner, nursing, bed, I went to dinner, bathtime (with lots of fun and playing) and then story and bed. Just the change in routine helped.

Blessings to you both!

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5 Kara June 3, 2007 at 10:32 pm

We weaned Baby about a month ago (no more milk) and sometimes when he wakes up at night I miss nursing him back to sleep. I can’t say I “loved” it though I liked it, but it was just a special connection.

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6 lifeasamama June 3, 2007 at 10:54 pm

I have to say that when I was pregnant, I never understood why moms would talk about how much they loved nursing, how there was such an emotional bond, etc… And I promised myself that the decision to wean would be purely rational and not emotional.

Yeah. I love nursing my Peanut. Many of my favorite moments are nursing… it’s so intensely intimate between the two of us. I can’t imagine not nursing her. I have to say when I read this post, my heart grew heavy at the thought that someday I’ll have to stop.

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7 melody June 3, 2007 at 11:10 pm

Susan, such a sweet post. And Julia’s adapting should assure you the bond you share as mother and daughter is strong.

You may no longer be nursing her physically, but you will always nurse her emotionally and spiritually.

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8 problem girl June 3, 2007 at 11:53 pm

It broke my heart to stop nursing too. I loved it and I still miss it to this day. You did so awesome to nurse as long as you did though. You’ve really done wonderfuly for your little girl.

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9 chris June 4, 2007 at 12:14 am

I think weaning is the hardest thing in the world. I nursed Bean ’till 10 months and I wanted longer but she was ready to be done. It broke my heart because I knew she was my last and that I would never again have that wonderful experience.

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10 Julie June 4, 2007 at 12:39 am

I nursed for almost 2 years. It was hard to stop, but just like you, I had realized that the time was drawing near when I would have to. Thanks for sharing your story!

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11 jen June 4, 2007 at 12:43 am

wow 2 years is actually a long time to nurse
well done to you

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12 Gracey June 4, 2007 at 1:15 am

I nursed my little one until she was not so little anymore at 22 months. It was a very difficult decision on my part but one day in autumn she seemed to have a nightmare and bit me hard. It hurts so much it even bled a little. That helped me decide to wean!!

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13 Aasha June 4, 2007 at 1:32 am

I cried when my 11 month old girl decided she had had enough boobies! I stopped early with my son and regretted it so I promised myself that I would go much longer with my next but she had other plans for me. She still pokes and pulls at them but that’s about it!

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14 Adventures In Babywearing June 4, 2007 at 2:14 am

Oh, precious!! I don’t know what it will be like for me… Gray is 20 months now and I can’t ever imagine our nursing time coming to an end. I love what you’ve written here!

xoxo
Steph

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15 kailani June 4, 2007 at 4:50 am

I give you so much credit for nursing for so long. I didn’t even last a year.

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16 Lu June 4, 2007 at 6:38 am

Congratulations for going so long! You did great! Maybe you’ll be able to get some rest and prepare for the new baby! Good luck with the sleeping!

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17 Carey June 4, 2007 at 6:57 am

What an amazing accomplishment to have been able to nurse for so long. Good luck with the sleeping. Now your body can rest and prepare for your new little one.

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18 Candace June 4, 2007 at 7:51 am

Weaning is the hardest challenge as a parent that I have faced yet. Of course, my daughter isn’t quite 2 yet but lol… We decided to wean at 21 months about a month ago. naps and bedtime were the hardest part. It took about 3 or 4 days for naps to get better. Now we just rock to sleep in the chair and then I lay her down. Most days we can get 2 hours this way. Bedtime ironically was easier the first night she crawled into her soft chair and fell asleep. The second night she wanted to rock and now most nights we rock to sleep. This way we both get our cuddle time!!!

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19 Jennifer, Snapshot June 4, 2007 at 7:58 am

This is just one of the changes as they continue to grow up! But, yes, you will soon be nurturing another little one.

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20 Shelly June 4, 2007 at 8:04 am

I feel ya. My heart broke when my daughter self weaned at 20 months due to my low supply during pregnancy. It was so bittersweet.

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21 Sharon June 4, 2007 at 9:01 am

Such a sweet post. Your little girl is lucky you nursed her for so long. :)
Have you ever heard the Poem “Wean Me Gently”? It’s so perfect.
Here is the link:
http://tinyurl.com/2e9snm
It makes me cry! Congrats on a beautiful nursing relationship. I hope the transition goes well for you all.

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22 mama k June 4, 2007 at 9:45 am

So so sweet. A reminder to cherish the moments I have now with my nursling as he is growing fast. It’s great that you were able to keep it up for as long as you did! I’m sure you have many sweet memories and many more to come with the new baby.

I’m going to remember that bandaid trick.

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23 Kristin June 4, 2007 at 10:06 am

Your post encouraged me on so many levels! I love nursing my baby but have heard from so many people that I shouldn’t be nursing her to sleep because then she’ll never learn to go to sleep on her own (because there are so many 30 year olds out there still needing to nurse to sleep). Anyway, I cherish our times in the rocking chair and am glad to know that when the time comes she’ll figure out a new way to sleep.

My baby is 9 months old tomorrow…I can’t believe how fast time is going by. I’m savoring every moment.

Thanks for sharing,
Kristin

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24 oh amanda June 4, 2007 at 1:29 pm

Weaning is so bittersweet. What an awesome gift you gave her—for 2 years!

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25 Chappyswife June 4, 2007 at 3:27 pm

I know it’s hard, Susan. It was hard for me with my last two boys. Congratulations on your pregnancy, though. You’ll be “back in the swing of things” before you know it! :0)

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26 Erna June 4, 2007 at 4:08 pm

Rach had to stop “comfort” nursing right when I went to the hospital for a month long stay as we awaited our second. I had run out of milk a while before and found it hard to wean her fully. The band-aid idea is a great one. I think the hardest thing for me was the fact that Rachel was so used to nursing to sleep. I’m glad the transition is going well for you two.

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27 KC June 4, 2007 at 11:26 pm

awwwwwwwww.. such a big girl, and yet still sad for a mommy. Little man is now 2 years and 21 days old and for the last 2 weeks I have got him to go to bed at night without nurseing(this is our 1st nurseing we are dropping) I have resorted to TV or really a Thomas the Tank DVD to sooth him to sleep because if I’m anywhere around he had a melt down trying to get me to nurse him. So he is sleeping in his pac n play these days infront of the tv and dvd player, anymore there is no fight he lays down watches about 10 minutes of Thomas and he drifts off to dream land, He still nurses though if he wake in the middle of the night(or at 5:30am when he hears daddy leaving for work) and he is still nurseing at nap time.. I’m thinking nap time might be the next to go.. but we are doing this in baby steps.. my milk is still there in full force(I nursed sweet pea for 29 months so I think I should be ok while I wean him slowly) What I’m thinking is that with summer about hear and this being my older kids last week of school that Little Man will be too busy to think about nurseing though the day and he will just give up those nurseings on his own. It’s those middle of the night ones I haven’t figured out yet.. because I don’t want to give up my sleep.. and yes I can sleep perfectly fine with him latched on LOL..
my goal is to sort of let him self wean but to have him totally weaned by or before 29 months old. Wish me luck.. and good luck to you as you get your baby girl sleeping though the night without the nurseing..

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28 Gretchen June 4, 2007 at 11:30 pm

Even though my kids are 8 and 10, I still feel like the weaning process is ongoing. No matter what stage they’re at, we need to be cognizant of giving both roots and wings at the same time. How I fight giving the wings! :) Nursing sounds like it was especially special to you and your daughter. I’m sorry for your loss. But…I can assure you that a new stage is just around the corner. Blessings!

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29 Jenn June 4, 2007 at 11:41 pm

Nursing is still one of my favorite things to do with Zachary – even at 3, even with people telling me to wean, telling me he’s to attached – no matter, it’s a wonderful experience, and I cant imagine being where you are – it’s such a bitter sweet moment, but good for you! :) Your body was telling you it was time, it’s good you listened!!!

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30 Mommy Dearest June 5, 2007 at 12:19 am

I think weaning a child is always heartbreaking. Just think: you’ll be doing it again in about 20 weeks! :-)

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31 Janne June 5, 2007 at 5:23 pm

(((HUGS)))

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32 Val June 5, 2007 at 9:58 pm

I knew you’d have lots of comments :) Weaning is such a bittersweet time for mommy. It was so hard for me with baby #2 because I knew it was my last time. Reading your post made me cry . . . bringing back memories . . . but I know there are so many hundreds more (great) memories to come. This was just one teeny tiny chapter in a huge book. Same for you. Cherish that time and hold on to it. Remember forever those sweet looks she gave you while nursing. It’s something only you will hold a special place in your heart for and something you and Julia will forever share a bond with. Love to you!

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33 sara - The Estrogen Files June 5, 2007 at 10:39 pm

That’s so hard. I know how it is and I hope you’re doing okay. Hug that girl up for me!

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34 Cole's Mama June 8, 2007 at 1:04 am

This post made my heart sink in my chest. After over 13 months of nursing my son, my milk supply (which has been a struggle since the beginning) is drying up for good this time and we are facing the task of weaning our boy. He loves to nurse. And after all the struggles we faced trying to keep him nursing that first year and not have to supplement with formula, the idea of weaning tears into me. I know that I will nurture him spiritually, emotionally, and physically for the rest of his life. But the nursing is our last big mommy-baby connection. He’s becoming a little man. I thought his umbilical cord stump falling off was hard, this is even more difficult. It’s been such a part of our daily lives for his whole life.

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