Forced Weaning Due to Pregnancy

May 28th, 2011 by Dionna | 181 Comments
Posted in Breastfeeding/Lactivism, Compassionate Advocacy, Feed with Love and Respect, Just for Fun/Miscellaneous, My Family, natural parenting

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I have been avoiding writing this post. Honestly, I hadn’t even spoken the words out loud to anyone until I finally broke down and sobbed to my husband the other night and admitted the truth that has been weighing on me since week ten of my pregnancy:

My breastmilk is gone.

There was a big part of me that was simply in denial. I subconsciously thought, “maybe if I don’t talk about it, it won’t be true.” Or “maybe if I ignore it, my milk will come back.”

But it’s still gone, and despite the More Milk Two that I bought shortly after I could no longer express any breastmilk, I don’t think anything is coming back until my body starts producing colostrum.

Emotionally, this is a pretty tough time for me. I always wanted Kieran to have the choice to wean naturally, and forced weaning due to pregnancy is not what I had envisioned.1 My perceived “failure” to produce breastmilk has sent me into a mini-depression. As I lamented to my husband in the dark hours of the night, I have not been able to form a bond with the baby currently developing inside my body, because I almost feel resentful that I am pregnant. Of course it’s not the baby’s fault, and I know that logically, but these pregnancy hormones can do funny things.

I also know (logically) that I am not a failure – I have given Kieran 3.5 years of an incredible nursing relationship, and if he had weaned naturally at this point, I would never feel that I had failed. It’s merely the fact that the option was taken away because of my own body chemistry.2

Slowly but surely, though, I am coming to terms with the fact that our nursing relationship is changing. Maybe even coming to an end.

So what has losing my milk done to Kieran’s nursing habits?3 Well, so far, he hasn’t completely “weaned.” That is, he still nurses – he just doesn’t get any milk. For any of you pregnant mamas who just cringed at that last statement, I must admit that nursing has not been painful for me during pregnancy. I was slightly more sensitive immediately before I got the positive pregnancy test, but since then it really hasn’t affected me.

I have noticed a difference in his latch, and if he’s still dry nursing by the time my milk comes in, I have a feeling he won’t remember how to nurse effectively (in other words, how to move his mouth correctly to get any milk). He only nurses to fall asleep (he was only rarely asking to nurse at any other time even before my milk dried up), and he’s actually starting to fall asleep without being latched on – he’ll nurse for awhile, roll over, and fall asleep snuggled up next to me. That is a major change from my dedicated nursling of even three months ago. So when he does nurse, it is for shorter and shorter periods of time.

Most surprising to me is that Kieran has made few comments about the changes. When I first noticed my milk drying up, I asked him several times if he was still getting any “mama milk.” Most often he would say yes, but a few times he said no.

Several times over the last few weeks he has randomly come up, given me a hug (while burying his head in my chest), and said “oh mama milk, you are so precious!” (And now here come the tears again!) And then there was the one time where he latched on, said “gross!,” giggled, and ran off. I know that some mamas have said their milk turns almost salty during pregnancy, but that was after I thought my milk was gone, so who knows if he really did taste something “gross,” or whether he was just being silly.4

So this has been my struggle for the past four weeks. I’m ready to share and hear from mamas who have walked this path before me.

If you were forced to wean your toddler/preschooler earlier than expected, how did you and your child handle it? Any tips or wisdom to share?

  1. The technical term is actually “influenced” weaning – see Weaning and the Ways it Happens.
  2. For an awesome post on a related topic, read what Michele wrote so eloquently in her own post-weaning depression post on The Daily Momtra.
  3. This isn’t necessarily a habit, but it is making me sad: coincidentally or directly related, Kieran has been sick for the past three weeks. I can’t help but think that it’s partially due to the loss of all the naturally-designed health benefits my breastmilk gave him.
  4. He’s also been playing with the word “disgusting” lately, so he might have just been trying out a new word.

181 Responses to:
"Forced Weaning Due to Pregnancy"

  1. Theresa   hhhippiemommy

    I have just gone through this (and blogged about it – http://highheelhippiemommy.blogspot.com/2011/05/my-baby-has-weaned.html). For me, it was all a lot earlier…I become pregnant when my baby was only 9 months old. We managed to keep going until a few weeks ago (he’s now 14 months old). I have mixed feelings about it because it was getting REALLY painful. Also, I’m expecting twins, and I wasn’t sure if I wanted to tandem nurse 3 kids! On the other hand, I feel bad that we only made it to 14 months. I’m currently trying to find other ways to bond with my precious little boy!

    • Dionna   CodeNameMama

      Oh Theresa – I can read the reluctance and sadness in your post that you are working through. I hope you follow that post up with ways that you have learned to connect now that your little one is weaned! And huge congratulations on twins!! What fun it will be tandem nursing them :)

  2. Bri

    My baby is 10 months, and I am due again in October. We didn’t plan the new one, but we are happy nonetheless. My milk is also almost gone, and can nurse her back to sleep in the middle of the night. My hope is that she won’t forget how to nurse come this fall, and I can Tandem nurse them both.

    • Dionna   CodeNameMama

      Fingers crossed for you! And hopefully she’ll continue to dry nurse even if your milk does completely dry up – so far, Kieran doesn’t mind :)

  3. Amy

    Your son was so blessed to have your milk for 3.5 years! You could never be a failure. Bravo to you. I think that this may be good, gives you time to bond with your new baby. I think the body knows that giving milk to your boy would take away needed nutrients for your growing baby. Nature is running its course. My first boy is still only 9 months, so I have no words of advice, just wanted to say thank you for writing such an honest post.

  4. Hi there! I have no words of wisdom or advice because I haven’t been there, but I still wanted to comment. My little guy is seven months old and I am already dreading weaning and when I think about him stopping, I get all emotional. I don’t know how long we will wait until we are ready for #2, or if it will just happen, but regardless, I have already worried about the next baby causing him to wean before he’s ready. So I guess I just say all of that to empathize with you! I can imagine it is so tough, and I wouldn’t blame it on the pregnancy hormones. Though they are very real, I don’t think there is the need to blame pregnancy hormones for very real and valid emotions that would be there even if you weren’t pregnant and Kieran were weaning on his own, you know?

    Anyway, the comments from the other mamas about how their babies continued nursing even after stopping for awhile comforted me, and so did their encouragement that you nursed him for such a long time, much longer than most babies get to nurse. What a blessing for both of you! <3

    • Dionna   CodeNameMama

      Thank you Adrienne, very wise words on not blaming hormones! I wonder if that’s drilled into women . . .
      Anyway – I’d recommend Adventures in Tandem Nursing – I wish I had my copy right now, but I know she talks about nursing during pregnancy, so it might help ease your mind.
      Wishing you peace whenever you decide to start TTC!!

  5. Grace

    I have three children and I nursed through pregnancy with my second and third babies. My milk also dried up, but my older nursling never actually weaned. They just nursed “dry” during that time. I ended up tandem nursing with each pair. My oldest was 4 when her brother was born and she nursed until she was 6. My second child was 3 when his baby sister was born and at 5, he is still nursing once a day (or so), along with his 2-year-old sister.

    I never set out to nurse so long, but it was such an organic and natural progression that it just unfolded in its own organic way.

  6. Has anyone had to wean due to fertility treatments?

    My 5.5 month old son was conceived using IVF due to my husband’s CBAVD (he was born without his vas deferens, the tubes that carry sperm from the testes) making IVF our only option of conceiving.

    The clinic that has our 4 other frozen embryos has a policy that a mother must have been weaned from producing for 3 months :( The success rates of live births in the pregnancies that follow this policy are so astoundingly high that the clinic has made this policy mandatory. Because IVF doesn’t always end in a sustained pregnancy, the risk of having the hormones needed for producing breastmilk are too risky for me to have in my system (they cause negative reactions with the hormones I will need to take for the frozen embryo transfer for our next pregnancies).

    If I wean at 12 months, the closest our children would ever be in age is 26 months apart (due to the 3 months of weaning required as well as the 2 months of hormone treatment for the transfer).

    Though I would love to have our 1st 2 children 18 months apart, this would require me weaning next month! Waaay too soon.

    Does anyone have any advice? Going to another clinic is not an option. All the ones I have researched have at least a 2 month weaning policy.

    If you weaned when your child was 12 months old or younger did you feel like that child missed out? Is spacing out my children close together more important than giving the previous child 12 solid months (or more) of breastmilk? Any feedback anyone can give would be much appreciated! Thank you :)

  7. Martyna

    Thank you for sharing your story and your feelings. My story is somewhat different, but a lot of the feelings were similar. My first son was only 6 months when I got pregnant a second time. My milk started to diminish right away, and he would get mad a bite me. I worked part time, so he was already taking a bottle, and he started preferring the bottle over the breast. :( Late in the first trimester, I became very ill and was hospitalized for 6 days–this was the killing blow to my already suffering milk supply. I felt like a failure, like I had made a terrible decision getting pregnant again, and I could not bond with the baby growing inside of me. My son was not interested in dry nursing unless he was very very tired and almost asleep. Otherwise, he took a bottle, and since my stash of breastmilk quickly ran out, he was on formula from about 8 months of age. I hoped he would come back to the breast once I got colostrum and them milk, but I was told babies don’t “unwean.” He didn’t really wean though, he was quite attached to the bottle, which had to take the place of the mama milk that suddenly went away. When my second son was born, I was planning on offering him the breast once the initial soreness subsided. But once he saw the baby getting milk, he wanted some too, and soon started throwing the bottle back at whoever gave it to him LOL. He was 16 months at the time, and at 3 and a half he is still very much attached to his nursies. I do wonder if he nurses so much still BECAUSE it had been taken away from him before. I would really prefer for him to slow down at this point, as nursing 2 big toddlers can be very exhausting, but I refuse to forcefully wean him again.

  8. Carolyn Wallace

    Dionna,

    I was very touched to read your story. Thanks so much for sharing it. I don’t have anything more to add to all of the wonderful support you’ve gotten so far—just know that I always had a low supply of breast milk for my son, which always made me sad. Even so, he nursed until 3 years old, and was always somewhat underweight because of it. Since he’s weaned, his weight is just right now, and our relationship is as close as ever. Sounds like you are deeply connected to your son, which (as you already know) is what really matters. I wish you all the best creating the connection you desire with both of your children!
    Peace,
    Carolyn Wallace (aka Peaceful Mama)

    • Dionna   CodeNameMama

      Thank you so much Carolyn – I struggled with supply too for awhile at the beginning (and I’m hoping this time around will be better!). Thank you for sharing!

  9. Amanda

    I am currently nursing my (almost) 2 year old and am about 14 1/2 weeks pregnant. I hate to say it, but I am sort of having to wean her myself. I feel badly about it, but I have been in SO VERY MUCH pain when nursing. There are times that she cries for her “yummy boobies” and I have to say no because I just can’t handle the pain. Luckily, she was only nursing for naps and at night time, so it hasn’t been too bad. I still feel guilty though, as I have no problem with the idea of tandem nursing. I just truly can’t handle the pain. It feels similar to when she was first born and we were working on a proper latch… but much much worse. It will even ache for a time after she is done nursing.

    I just have to remind myself that I have made it to almost 2 years (and I know that it will last after that as she certainly won’t be fully weaned in the next 2 weeks) and 2 years is wonderful! I also have to remind myself that I am growing another baby and need to take care of all of us and do what is right and best.

    Good luck to you… and remember that you are a wonderful mother for giving your child such a fantastic gift for so long. :)

    • Dionna   CodeNameMama

      Thank you Amanda, and congratulations on #2! If you’re reluctant to wean, many of my friends have done a “ten count” for nursing while pregnant (with toddlers) – they’ll let the child nurse “until the count of ten,” and that seems to help a) the mom know the pain will come to an end; and b) the child know they still have access. Good luck with whatever path you choose!

  10. Amy   Amy_willa

    This must be so difficult for you, Dionna, but thank you so much for writing this post! It was super brave to put your experiences out there, and I’m happy to read such supportive responses! You are such an inspiration to me, and a good friend, and I can totally put myself in your shoes and know that I would feel the exact same way. I was lucky to not lose my supply during pregnancy, and it breaks my heart to know that your body responded differently and that it’s causing you so much emotional pain :(

    You know, you don’t have to accept this train of thought, but I was just giving some thought to the notion that you don’t think you were able to let Kieran wean “naturally” like you wanted to – when, in fact, there’s really nothing “un”-natural about losing your supply during pregnancy. Does that make any sense at all? I guess what I’m trying to say is that I believe you have lived out your goal of letting Kieran wean naturally – because even though it is not totally child-led, what is happening in your nursing relationship because of your pregnancy actually IS the natural course of things for your family and your body.

    I love Kieran’s description of your milk as precious! What a sweet moment that must have been!

    • Dionna   CodeNameMama

      Thank you Amy – that means a lot to me! I do feel so much better that Kieran has continued to dry nurse – it does make it feel more child led. And who knows – maybe he will tandem when the time comes. I’m definitely not giving up hope :) I hope you are doing well with your two!! Let me know if you need any support!

  11. Jen

    As others have said, it very well may not be over for you and your son :-) I got pregnant with DS2 when DS1 was 12 months almost on the nose. He nursed all through pregnancy, and I am quite sure there was no milk for several months in the middle. Around 38 weeks he got quite ill with an ear infection, and nursed almost constantly during the day for several days in a row; that brought in the colostrum. I do think you have to simply maintain an open mind through this process…I thought DS1 was going to wean when I was around 30 weeks, as he did not nurse for a couple of days in a row at all. He just as suddenly picked it back up, milk or no milk–and continues to nurse now that DS2 is 3 weeks and the milk is abundant. Tandem nursing comes with it’s own challenges, so keep faith that nature will unfold as it should for you and your family. While I treasure the memory of nursing my older son while in early labor with my newborn–my water actually broke while I was laying in bed nursing my 20 month old!–throughout my pregnancy I felt somewhat indifferent about continuing to nurse/tandem nursing. It is not up to us entirely!

    • Dionna   CodeNameMama

      Thank you Jen! I have to say – Kieran’s 3 wk cold might have something to do with the guilt I’m feeling, it couldn’t have hit at a worse time :( But you’re right – I do want to maintain a positive state of mind. Thanks so much for sharing!

  12. My heart breaks for you a little. This has been a big fear of mine and I’m trying to be very proactive. My Sasha is 20 months old now and I am so not ready for our nursing relationship to end. I don’t believe she is, either. I’m 8 weeks pregnant and eating every flippin’ two hours to help nourish all three of us. I try to make sure I get some oats in at some point every day and trying to stay as hydrated as possible. I know I could do better. (And I’m not saying you failed in ANY way.)

    I’m just scared it will happen to us. We’re very relaxed with meals and I don’t want to have to worry about Sasha’s nourishment beyond what we do now. I nursed my older daughter for 3½ years before she self-weaned. You have done an AMAZING job, being there for him in this way for that long! I’m also really glad I read that first comment… hopefully things will resume for you. I love the idea that nursing is a bonding opportunity for siblings.

    • Dionna   CodeNameMama

      Thank you Jorje – I will keep you in my thoughts as you go through your pregnancy! One thing I wish I’d done was start the More Milk Too *before* my supply tanked. Also, do you have Adventures in Tandem Nursing? If not, I’m going to write a post just as soon as I get home about nursing during pregnancy – I’ll include any tips she has in there on maintaining supply (but it will be a couple of weeks – we’re here until June 7).
      You can do it!!
      p.s. talk to Amy of Toddler in Tow or Lisa of YoHo Graphix – both maintained supply during pregnancy!

  13. Sheila Pai   aLivingFamily

    Did you write this post just for me? Obviously not, looking at all the stories, but I have been suffering inside for weeks now and here you wrote a post on the very thing troubling me.

    I’m 8 weeks pregnant. My daughter is 19 mo. I’ve been horribly nauseous for weeks and nursing is painful. The worst the reaction I have to nursing that others describe. I can barely stay there and let her nurse. I feel angry and frustrated and want her to stop nursing. But really I don’t want her to stop nursing. She’s already cut down so much and is so sweet and understanding the majority of the time. I had planned to nurse her to two years, but every session feels like a hurdle to get myself over.

    I am so grateful for all these stories about older children taking up nursing again. It gives me hope that even if we stop completely that we could continue. I almost wish that I could guarantee if she weaned now she would start again. I feel too worried about her stopping altogether to start weaning her myself, but I do try to balance my own need for sanity and for a positive relationship with her with her need to nurse. I will wait and see about the taste change.

    Here is something that happened this morning that gave me some hope. My daughter started giving “babies” milkies right around the same time our own nursing relationship got difficult and more negative. She gives them milkies from her “butteat” (bellybutton). Well today she had a dolly who wanted milkies and then asked for the other dolly because that dolly wanted milkies too. She nursed both dollies from her butteat. So so sweet. It helped me imagine that she is open to sharing milkies with a baby.

    Oh, this is not a smooth or easy road, but the little gems and the stories of others along the way do ease the pain of the bumps. I am grateful for your taking the time and consideration to share your journey openly so that the rest of us can heal a little from our own potential wounds and hurts.

    sheila

    • Dionna   CodeNameMama

      Sheila I’m hoping the pain gets better for you!! I mentioned this to a previous commenter, but I’ve known pregnant/nursing mamas who do a “ten count” – they’ll let the child nurse “until the count of ten,” and that seems to help a) the mom know the pain will come to an end; and b) the child know they still have access.
      Regardless, your story of your daughter nursing two babies is so sweet. I hope tandem nursing is in your future!

  14. I think Dulce hit the nail on the head! My son was 16 months when I got unexpectedly pregnant and he is also an intensely sensitive little soul. We went through a very painful process when my milk disappeared between 8w and 12w. I definitely did more crying than he did and it was hard to keep the guilt at bay. In hindsight I’m so thankful for the other ways of connecting and bonding we learned during that time and that we both learned that our relationship was secure even through major shifts such as that. He shortened the duration very quickly and by the time I was in my third tri he was literally just popping on and popping off before be and he continued that even after the milk came in. A few weeks after his brother was born, he started nursing like a champ again and now he’s almost three and still going strong. If he had been ready he would have weaned, but he wasn’t (thankfully!), and I’m sure the same will be true for your son <3 On a practical note, we did spend quite a few weeks working on a lazy latch after he started wanting to nurse normally again, but I believe just the latching on and off during pregnancy kept him from "forgetting" how to nurse.

    • Dionna   CodeNameMama

      I’m very interested in hearing how mamas have retaught their little ones how to latch – I definitely feel Kieran’s latch getting lazy.
      Thank you so much for sharing your story!!

  15. Meredith

    A big hug to you, and thank you for sharing. I just went through a similar thing (am 5 months pg now), and it was definitely an emotional time. I was probably more ready than you are to be done, but I sympathize with your intentions and your heart for your son and the desire to give him your milk as long as he wants it.

    I’d also like to echo what Amy said. Though this wasn’t a wholly child-led weaning, this *is* a natural weaning. I’m sure millions of toddlers throughout history have been brought to a place of weaning for this exact reason. The fact that he’s had 3.5 years of nursing (within the time frame of many self-weaners)coupled with the fact that he doesn’t seem to be grieving or traumatized, can allow you to feel good that you probably aren’t pulling the rug out from underneath him. This weaning happened in the process of growing your family and through natural changes in your body, so maybe you could think of it as a different kind of “natural weaning?” It seems, even though it’s been hard for you, that it’s been gentle on him, and that’s a blessing for you both.

    Even if that gives you no solace, huge kudos to you for giving the gift you gave him for all this time. He will surely reap the emotional and physical benefits for the rest of his life!

    • Dionna   CodeNameMama

      Thank you Meredith – the fact that he is dry nursing does give me solace :) Congratulations on your own pregnancy! Best wishes for a peaceful birth.

  16. feelings of resentment toward your unborn baby — i totally feel you. i am 20 weeks along now and had to wean my son earlier than i’d wanted as well. that along with not being able to pay as much attention to him because of morning sickness, and having very short patience, i did not love or bond (or even really want) my unborn baby until about two weeks ago. not that i wanted a miscarriage, or ANYTHING like that, but i kept thinking, “we should have waited…”

    now at 20 weeks, i am finally falling in love with my baby and excited for this new life. i can’t wait to meet him/her. it’s okay to feel the way you do, and understand that it IS the hormones, and that you will love this baby just as much as you love kieran… in time. :)

    • Dionna   CodeNameMama

      Thank you Whitney – I’m glad to hear you’ve bonded with yours already! I have a post scheduled (that I wrote immediately after finishing this one) about bonding with your unborn baby when you’re not excited about the pregnancy. I plan on trying a few of the suggestions myself – I *really* need to start a journal (I did with Kieran and loved it!). Congrats on your pregnancy, and many wishes for a peaceful birth!

  17. Patty

    I got pg when my oldest was 3. She wasn’t ready to stop nursing so we didn’t. My milk dried up at 11 weeks and my colostrum came in at 23 weeks. She was thrilled. I went on to tandem nurse for 2.5 years. Nursing while pregnant was hard at times but was the right thing for my family. I’m glad we both hung in there.

    • Dionna   CodeNameMama

      Thank you for sharing Patty. Not only is it refreshing to see all of the responses about kids dry-nursing or re-nursing (that’s not the right term, but you know what I mean!) after the birth, it’s also so heart-warming to read about all of the mamas who have nursed well into their kids’ third, fourth, etc. years. :)

  18. Karlen

    I don’t like that your post suggests that getting pregnant FORCES you to wean, as this is not always the case.

    • Dionna   CodeNameMama

      I did use the word “force” in the title – to clarify for you, that word choice was coming from my emotional reaction to what I see happening. I use the technical term (“influenced”) later in the post. There’s a link to an article that describes the different types of weaning if you’re interested.
      And I agree, not all children wean during pregnancy – there are tons of responses that say just that here! (Even if breastmilk does dry up – kids are amazing!)

  19. I know exactly how you feel about the little bit of resentment. I was so worried that my daughter (21 months old at the time) would stop nursing when the milk dried up from pregnancy. But she stuck with it. It felt like little rocks going through my ducts, and I didn’t really enjoy it, but I wanted to keep going as long as she did.

    The coolest part was when I knew I was making colostrum. Because out of NOWHERE she started gulping one day around 15 or 16 weeks! I was crying and so excited! We had made it through the “desert” phase of dry nursing and now we were in the promise land again!!!!
    Now she is 32 months old and the new guy is 3 months old and she gets her “milkas” a few times a day and shares with her brother.

    You are brave to share you story and true feelings. You will help so many others by exposing your emotions and bringing your worries out in the open so others can see they are not alone.

    • Dionna   CodeNameMama

      I love the feeling of elation I get just from reading your post!! Thank you so much for sharing, and it has been amazing to read these stories and responses from other women. We obviously need to talk about this more as a society!

  20. Jessica | Cloth Diapering Mama   clothmamajess

    **hugs**

    Congrats mama on nursing for such a long time!! AMAZING!!

    I remember my last nursing session with Nathan like it was yesterday…the memory creeps into my mind very frequently. I was pregnant, actually I was about 10 weeks…I was miscarrying and didn’t know it…I thought the nursing was causing cramping and had barely any milk left…so I weaned him and in about 12 hours he had moved on and we snuggled to sleep instead of nurse…I was a wreck over it. I may have known subconsciously that I was miscarrying but looking back, at first I sooooooo wish I hadn’t weaned when I wasn’t even going to carry that prengancy to term…but it all worked out in the end. I became pregnant 6 weeks later. I will admit I was depressed for a good portion of the pregnancy and had high anxiety right up until delivery. Then it all came full circle with the gorgeous first latch and first gaze upon my new perfect rainbow baby.

    I feel your heartache…I’ve felt it too…I feel it even know as I’m sitting here pumping for my 1 year old (i have to work today) and I’m only getting 2 ounces of milk…its not comforting to feel that your body is “failing”…even though I know its not failing…my milk is there when baby needs it and he’s old enough to wait for mama to come home and he’ll probably nurse all night!

    sending hugs and support from another milk loving mommy!

    • Dionna   CodeNameMama

      Oh Jessica – what heartbreak you had to deal with!! Thank you so much for sharing, and I wish you continued success pumping for your little one. I do not respond to a pump at all, so I can also relate to that feeling of frustration. Good for you for sticking to it!!

  21. Andi Crater

    Hang in there Momma! Sofia was 18 months old when I became pregnant again. In the beginning, she would tell me that my milk tasted funny or that it was “yucky”. To be totally honest, it really hurt my feelings! Eventually, my milk began to revert back to colostrum, and that is when I saw the anger in Sofia. She would tell me, “I mad at you Momma. Babas broken, no milkies in dem!” She always had the saddest little face when she would tell me that :( We continued to nurse though. Even though at times it was very painfull, and most of the time she would tell me that there was no milk in there. After Emily was born, Sofia had a bit of a difficult time figuring out the proper latch again, but she got it! She was overjoyed when my milk “came back in”, and at times told me there was now too much milk! She is still happily nursing at 30 months old and Emily is nursing right alongside her at 16 weeks old. I know it is hard now, but there is still hope that he will continue to nurse and still be able to wean when he is ready :) ((HUGS))

    • Dionna   CodeNameMama

      Oh my goodness! It would be so hard to see a child be angry because of milk changes!! Big hugs, and thank you for sharing – you are amazing for sticking it out and continuing on :)

  22. Julie

    That IS natural weaning. Pregnancy is natural, and one reason you are drying up is probably because he wasn’t nursing much anyway. I VERY gradually lead the weaning process with my daughter and she weaned at 3.5 too. She was very ready at that age. It was bitter sweet, but she was proud of herself and we had a weaning party and everything, and she did become an even better sleeper at that point too.

    • Dionna   CodeNameMama

      I was trying to distinguish more between “influenced” and “child-led” weaning. True child-led weaning is completely the child’s choice – it isn’t influenced by the fact that breastmilk has dried up. But like I said in the post, it kind of feels more child-led since Kieran is still dry nursing. We’ll see! (It’s splitting hairs in a sense though, I understand where you’re coming from!)

  23. Lauren @ Hobo Mama   Hobo_Mama

    Big hugs to you. As you know, we’ve been there, too. It is an emotional experience, and I totally understand the feelings of guilt and regret, even as I would never suggest they were necessary.

    Mikko’s latch changed during dry nursing, as did his nursing frequency. When my milk came back in postpartum, I noticed a couple things: It didn’t hurt to have the baby nurse (oh, blessed relief), but it did sometimes still to have Mikko nurse, I think because of his lazy latch. But over the past week, it’s gotten better, and he is definitely getting milk now — maybe not as effectively as before; I’m not sure. And he’s wanting to nurse all the time again. This can be tiresome when I’m trying to latch on a flailing newborn at the same time (hello!), but I think it’s meant a lot for easing his transition into big brotherhood.

    All this babbling to say that I hope you can continue through this pregnancy with peace that you are bringing great joy into your family’s life with this new baby, and that the love and connection you’ve given Kieran will sustain him, no matter what happens with the nursing.

    • Dionna   CodeNameMama

      Thank you Lauren! I’ve been anxious to hear how you’ve been doing in your first weeks of tandem nursing. The one time I tandem nursed Kieran and Rhonin (his cousin), I think I could see how it might be (ahem) challenging.

  24. Mary

    I could’ve written this about 2 months ago when my milk dried up seemingly overnight around 6-8 wks pregnant when I was still nursing my then 14-month old. It was not a planned pregnancy (our others are 3 and 4 yrs apart and nursed for over 2 yrs each), so I felt sad for the time I’d “lose” with just the two of us. I thought continuing to nurse would be no problem. Well, she suddenly started asking for “wawa” (water) after nursing during the night and began losing weight and having constipation (which was *never* an issue prior). I reluctantly started giving her first my frozen pumped milk and finally some organic toddler formula at night after she had nursed (long story- yes, I could’ve tried cow’s milk but wanted what she was getting to be as close to my milk as possible). She continued to nurse but *loved* that milk at night, sometimes asking for it even prior to nursing.

    Fast forward to the 2nd trimester… we had just found out the baby was a boy, and I started bonding to him, touching my belly more, enjoying his kicks, etc. Seemingly, just as I had accepted and welcomed his presence in our family, he was gone. We lost him about 10 days ago at 16.5 wks gestation. It was quite a physical ordeal, and I have just begun to sort out the emotional side, but I can’t tell you how wonderful it has been to continue to nurse my sweet toddler. I thought of weaning her several times and it would’ve been easy. I am *so* grateful I still have that. It has been great to hold her, spend time with her, and let her make me laugh during this time of grief. Yet to be able to still nurse her is healing beyond words. Today my milk sprayed when she detached, surprising the both of us. It is amazing the way your body flows right along with all of the changes. It gives me renewed faith in my body during a time that I could easily dismiss it as betraying me.

    • Dionna   CodeNameMama

      Oh Mary, I am so sorry to hear about your loss. What an incredibly positive outlook you have. I hope that you continue to heal and gain peace. My thoughts are with you.

  25. I’m sorry this is hurting you. My kids cut down nursing (and nightweaned on their own) during subsequent pregnancies but held on to tandem nurse with younger siblings for varying degrees of time. I hope you find peace and can embrace your wonderful relationship in its changing ways.

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