Forced Weaning Due to Pregnancy

May 28th, 2011 by Dionna | 186 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.

186 Responses to:
"Forced Weaning Due to Pregnancy"

  1. keiha

    Aw thanks for sharing. So lovely to hear someone else mourn from forced weaning due to pregnancy. We were in a similar situation, but we held on til 4 months pregnant, but by that time there was no milk, sore breasts that I was cringing and clenching every time my 19month old wanted to nurse and she was quite unhappy, more frustrated that it had changed and began to get angry at me! So in the end we just stopped abruptly as we were both in such a state of pain and anguish. I’m now due, and she sometimes sees other babies/friends nursing and just stares then comes to me for hugs and says “sorry” to my breasts… shes still very interested in nursing, but I feel that if we were to start again when baby comes she wouldn’t know what to do and it could possibly be worse for her to have to “wean” again later on… Its really a tough one. BUT I’d like to say a HUGE congrats on the pregnancy and for nursing for as long as you have with so much love. xoxox

    • Dionna   CodeNameMama

      Thank you for sharing your story Keiha – one of the other mamas who commented had to teach her toddler to relatch; I am happy to help you find resources on how to do that if you decide you are interested in tandem nursing! Congratulations on your pregnancy!

  2. bluebellscreams   bluebellscreams

    I’m going through the exact same thing right now and my son is only 17 months. My colostrum has started coming in and I’ve noticed he’ll nurse a bit more often but he makes a face like he doesn’t like what he’s getting :/ I’m really really hoping once the baby is born and my milk comes in he’ll go back to nursing normally. I understand feeling depressed and devastated over this-I feel the same way. I am in NO way ready to wean him yet, and I hate that things are going the way they are. He seems to be handling it just fine though, and that kind of upsets me as well. I know I should be glad he’s not too upset or distraught over it, but part of me kind of wishes he was (is that wrong?).

    I actually made a post about this a little over a week ago if you’re interested. http://bluebellscreams.blogspot.com/2011/05/breastfeeding-bloghop-i-wish-i-would.html

    • Dionna   CodeNameMama

      I can definitely read your pain in that post – poor mama!! But I hope you’ve read some of the responses on this post – so many mamas said that their little ones were able to nurse again after the new baby was born. I hope your little one is able to do the same!

  3. Liss

    I’m currently bfing my 13 month old son, but I want to get pregnant, although I haven’t gotten my menses back. I’m planning to continue bf while pregnant and do tandem nursing, however family and doctors tell me it might be dangerous for the new baby. I love the connection that I have with my boy and I don’t want to lose it. Can some of you share your experience about this? In particular, those who have tandem nursing, was your new baby ok, i.e. healthy, full term, etc?
    Thanks a lot!

    • Dionna   CodeNameMama

      Liss – I would recommend checking out Adventures in Tandem Nursing. I don’t have my copy handy, but it’s my understanding that nursing during pregnancy is perfectly fine for the majority of women. At any rate, that book has information and advice for nursing mamas trying to conceive. I am planning on doing a post in a couple of weeks about nursing during pregnancy, I’ll try to remember to address the safety aspects!

  4. Rebekah

    My husband and I decided we should try to have another baby when my Ben was 18 months old. Well, for us, ‘trying’ means going to the fertility clinic for an IUI. It just doesn’t happen naturally for us. My doctor strongly recommended that I wean in the admittedly unlikely event that I could get pregnant and then miscarry because my body wouldn’t nourish an infant and an embryo. In my head, I knew the chances of that happening were so infinitesimal, but I was terrified of going through the rigamarole of infertility treatments to be met with a miscarriage at the end of it- one that I would have no idea if I could have possibly prevented. So, I weaned Ben. He didn’t complain, and soon he didn’t ask for it anymore. I was sad, though. I had always planned on nursing him until he decided he was done, and I felt like he was cut off so so early. Thankfully we were able to maintain our close bond by co-sleeping and attentive parenting.
    Now that I am nursing my twins, I sincerely hope that I can give them as long as they need. Breastfeeding is one of the sweetest relationships you can forge with your toddler.

    • Dionna   CodeNameMama

      Thank you for sharing, Rebekah! And congratulations on your twins :) I’m sorry you had to wean before you were ready, but I’m glad that it sounded like a gentle process for your son.

  5. Olivia   OliviaStreaterL

    Oh bless ya sweetie, sending you a hug.

    I lost my milk in pregnancy, but my son carried on nursing regardless, and started again with a vengeance once my baby son was born! So that may be something that happens with you guys.

    I do hear your sadness around the changes that are happening and I would say, let the tears flow, and have faith that things WILL evolve and be all right. I do hear your sadness around the sense of something ending and around the sense of grieving the loss of control over the what happens when. Parenting may be full of these moments but it doesn’t make them easy.

    The sadness may in part be related to the enormous adjustments involved in getting ready for your family dynamics to shift.

    I certainly felt like I was grieving the loss of my relationship with my eldest son. So much so, that the first weekend after giving birth, I cried all week long. That was one year minus one week ago (it is my baby’s birthday on Tuesday!) and we are in a much different place now. In fact, we were in a much different place after that weekend.

    I was reassured to learn – after all my anxieties around the “loss” of my special relationship with Enzo – that the relationship was not lost – that we had gained. I simply did not understand how it would be possible to love two babies, despite everyone telling me that it was, but mother nature did her work for me and it just worked out. I have a very deep, special bond, with each of my babies now.

    The resentment you describe is also pretty common I think, by which I mean, I also had it at first! I was very worried about not bonding with my baby. I did though but it took time for me to adjust. By the end of the pregnancy I was in a much different place. It is amazing how many and how much emotions once can travel through during one pregnancy. Do not blame yourself. I am guessing your “resentment” is really an expression of sadness. Once this baby grows, or is born, I think you will find that feeling shifts.

    I have not gone through weaning yet so that is sort of the final frontier – I really hear your feelings and your grief around this – maybe we will be in the same position later this year, maybe not, but so far we have worked our way through pregnancy, dry nursing, my going through a need to meditate to distract from the “creepy crawlies” (now gone) – and here we all still are.

    • Dionna   CodeNameMama

      Olivia you can’t know how much you have hit the nail on the head – your whole comment! Thank you so much for your reassuring and wise words. It is so good to hear from a mama who had such similar worries!

  6. Jenny   mamababylove

    hi dionna! can i share my weaning story? http://fabnaima.blogspot.com/2011/05/our-weaning-story.html i weaned my daughter at 3 years 5 months and currently 10 weeks pregnant with number 2. i’m happy to say though that our weaning experience was wonderful and I look forward to nursing number 2 and letting my daughter tandem if she still wants to!

    • Dionna   CodeNameMama

      Congratulations on your pregnancy Jenny! And your weaning experience does sound so gentle – many happy wishes that your daughter will be able to tandem if she chooses :)

  7. My first baby was 11mos when I got pregnant with her sister…Luckily my milk didn’t dry up or even significantly drop until the 2nd trimester…And wasn’t completely gone until about 5mos in)…She slowly weaned over the course of my pregnancy. She stopped nursing 2 weeks before her sister was born. I really have a peace about how it happened.
    I’m pregnant again and my nursling is 22mos old… We’ll see how this plays out. I really have a peace about weaning (much more so than I did with my much younger nursling, last time)… If she weans, her needs were met…I did my best to make it available and to allow her to set the tone… IF she continues until the new sibling arrives we’ll tandem. But I remember the extreme grief I felt with my first…It’s a hard transition. Hugs.

  8. Lisa @Granola Catholic   granolacatholic

    I feel for you and the loss of milk. I nursed my oldest all through my pregnancy with my second one. I did lose my milk at one point but Pi was soo excited when the colostrum came in that she did not even mind the taste. Each child is different though. Some wean easily on their own, others you need to bribe with a bike and party after tandem nursing with the second baby for an additional 18 months. Pi was 3 1/2 when I made her the offer of a bike and a party if she could go without nursing one whole week. She did wean herself with a little encouragement and did get the bike and party (sort of). Whatever you decide to do know that it will be what is best for everyone involved. I never intended to nurse though pregnancy nor tandem nurse. I just took things one day at a time, and played that odds that Pi would be one of those 2/3′s that wean themselves during pregnancy.

    • Dionna   CodeNameMama

      Lisa you made me laugh – I can *maybe* imagine Kieran trading nursing for a bike and a party sometime next year ;) I’ll let you know if it gets to that point.
      Thank you for sharing!

  9. rachael

    I’m 40 weeks 2 days pregnant with my 2nd, my milk dried up when I was 17 weeks pregnant and my 1st was right at 17 months old. He continued to try to nurse every night, but wouldn’t get anything. He was never upset about it, though, it was actually, in my mind, kind of painless weaning, plus he had still been waking 3+ times a night to nurse and this put the stop to that without a battle, so I’ve actually slept BETTER since being pregnant (we co-sleep) than before! What a joy! :) My 1st still tries to nurse every 2-3 days, which I’m happy about because I’ve always heard that tandem nursing decreases jealousy issues and is something they can “share” happily. He will latch well and sucks a few times and then usually laughs. I will find out here soon if he takes back to nursing when my milk comes in!
    One good thing about my milk drying up – my 1st got an eye infection around 30 weeks and I was producing colostrum, which is even better than milk for clearing up that sort of stuff! :)
    THANK YOU so much for this article. Seems like the majority of mamas I’ve read keep nursing all the way through and it’s made me feel guilty that I dried up :( it’s nice to know that it happens pretty commonly!

    • Dionna   CodeNameMama

      Awesome on the eye infection! Breastmilk is incredible, isn’t it?! Don’t feel guilty, mama – I think losing milk is really very common. I think you and I are probably in the majority – but I am really happy to hear you’ve known a lot of women who keep nursing during pregnancy. It makes me feel like perhaps we are gaining some ground in this whole “normalizing breastfeeding” movement :)

      • Olivia   OliviaStreaterL

        Oh I’m glad :-) It occurred to me the other day – once we have been through these mothering moments, we can look back on the fear (of loss, change etc), the apprehension, or whatever, and think – why was I so worried? It all turned out as it should have done, and was fine. But at the time it feels like a scary new frontier. I hope I can remember that lesson myself in the future… p.s. And well done for responding to 162 comments :-). Amazing what this post has generated.

  10. zwee

    When my first was 14 months my milk dried up due to my second pregnancy. My little one stopped nursing and just cuddled with me during nap times like we had done when she was nursing. Then when my second one was born two months later, she began nursing again. During my third pregnancy, my milk never dried up and I tandem nursed my first two. Just found out that I am pregnant for the fourth time. Still nursing one often, and the second child only at night. My oldest who is now almost 6 does attempt to nurse every once in a blue moon and is very bored about it, she usually comes around when the youngest one is on, tries to grab the other side. Takes it for maybe a minute and leaves not to return for sometimes weeks. LOL!! But I am letting them self wean. I don’t offer at all, and if they want milk it has to be when I am ready to sit down with the baby and have my top off which isn’t very often these days now that I am working.

    • Dionna   CodeNameMama

      Wow! I love that you were able to nurse two while you were pregnant – I hope that you got a picture of that :) Thanks so much for sharing your story!

  11. Alicia C.   amccrenshaw

    I am so sorry! I’m kind of going through forced weaning of my 2.5 y.o. son, but for a different reason. He got his first, real, yellow boogers cold this week. He cannot breather to nurse at all. I’ve tried everything, short of cold medicines, for him and nothing works. I’ve even tried mixing eucalyptus essential oil with his baby lotion and spreading it on his chest. It works for about five minutes. So far, he’s not too freaked out about it, but I feel bad. The best thing for him right now is breastmilk, and he can’t have any. (I cannot express milk for anything! I’ve sat for hours only to get 1oz.)

    • Dionna   CodeNameMama

      Alicia- I emailed you with some ideas, but if you want me to ask for more input on my FB page, let me know!

  12. Lynann

    My son was born when my daughter was 2yrs, 2mos. She was such a nurser that I didn’t even realize my milk was gone until it had been gone awhile. Crazy, I know. I finally realized why it had felt so different and not really good, when we had to be apart for nearly a week and I had ZERO engorgement. I tried to hand express as well and got nothin’. Did not seem to phase her at all, she continued to nurse until she drooled and I got grossed out. After the milk came back, she didn’t really say anything, which really surprised me. Kinda made me realize that, for her, it was more about the bonding than the milk. When I had no milk, I did feel like a human pacifier, but I got over it. :)

    • Dionna   CodeNameMama

      Ok I had to chuckle about nursing until she drooled – I think we have probably all experienced that one ;) Thank you for sharing!

  13. I giggled a bit reading all this just because it is so heartfelt and earnest but since I’ve not got raging preggy hormones or postnatal hormones going on, it really doesn’t seem like something to get upset about. The thing is I’VE BEEN THERE!

    Your milk won’t dry up for long — especially if he keeps nursing AND there’s nothing unnatural about either self-weaning at 3.5 when your mother is pregnant and her milk dries up or continuing to nurse until the real milk bonanza comes in, or taking a break, or whatever. There’s nothing unatural about having another baby when your first baby is 3.5. I know it’s normal to feel guilt about robbing your older children of their babyhood — I’ve been there! But someday you’ll be very very glad, I promise, and nothing about this will seem at all complicated or emotionally charged and you’ll just be glad. I promise!

  14. Jesse

    i too am having this struggle. i so desperately wanted to get pregnant and grow another life, but i waited for fear of my breastfeeding relationship. some people would describe my son as “needy” because at 2 he needed his mommy a lot (and to be quite fair and honest, i needed him a LOT more!) i encouraged our nursing relationship, and have no problem nursing my 29 month old in public. it is our relationship and bond. i am currently 22 weeks pregnant, and about 2 months ago he cut back from nursing every 3 hours during the day to almost non existent. he, too, nurses to sleep, and still does not sleep through the night and needs me to go back to sleep. this has not changed. what has is during the day. it may be partially because my in laws pushed “milk in a cup” for a while on him (once he turned 2 and outgrew his dairy allergy). the most heartbreaking thing to hear is when i offer him my milk and he says “no thank you mommy”. i feel hurt, unsure of our future bond. i almost feel like he doesnt need me, which i know he does, but at times i get sad, like our bond isnt as strong.
    i waited until i (thought) i felt comfortable enough if he weaned i would be okay. then i got pregnant and panicked, what did i do? i love my little burrito growing inside of me, and i long for days when i can tandem nurse. i know he will continue to night nurse- even though i am pretty much sure (though strongly in denial!) that my tap is dry. i already have anxiety about my overnight stay when my second born comes into this world and i am not home to nurse my first born to sleep. i think about the scenarios. i know he will fall asleep in the car on the way home from seeing me and his little brother, and i know daddy can transfer him without waking, but i also know he WILL wake, and he will cry, and i wont be there to nurse him back to sleep.
    (is it normal to have anxiety about that already? it was pretty much my first fear when choosing a hospital birth)
    thank you for being honest and letting me find this blog via facebook, my friends dont get my heartache over my nursing relationship, and my in laws totally dont get it.

    • Dionna   CodeNameMama

      Poor mama! You definitely sound stressed out about your oldest during the birth, and you do want to figure that out so you’ll have some peace about it. Would you like me to ask for you on my Facebook page and see what kind of responses we get? Let me know!

      • Jesse

        haha, i am JUST NOW seeing this!!! so a quick update- my first continued to nurse until just this past december- the week of his 5th birthday he lost his two bottom teeth (within days) and he lost his suction. this was a good time to wean though because i was still nursing his little brother- who was now 2 years and 3 months, and i was also about 6 months pregnant with his little sister!!! i was either going to have to encourage a wean or grow a third nipple ;) i am now still nursing my 11 week old baby and my 2 year 8 month old baby! bringing my second born home from the hospital made my first born nurse so much again!! and it happened when i brought my daughter home too, my second one went back to “baby mode”.

  15. Dionna – thank you so much for posting my Q on the board for me! I don’t know anyone in our situation so getting feedback over there has been very helpful. Thank you for sharing your story :)

    Rebekah – thank you for your post…it’s good to hear from someone who’s been there!

  16. Erica

    Firsts off *hugs*, you are a wonderful dedicated mamma to have give him 3.5 years of nursing. My DD was only 13 months when I got pranget again( night weaned +stopped pumping at work) we made it past the 6 month and I thought great we are going to go all the way! I was horrably guilty of the pragnacy, DD was such a high needs baby the idea of sharing my attention was a major stress and then the fear of her weaning in a forced way so young really killed me. Like I said we made it to the sixth month mark and I thought we where in the clear but low and behold a week later she wouldn’t latch at bedtime and rocked to sleep in my arms then wanted in bed alone. That was it the last time we nursed. I walked into the living room where DH was and sat next to him on the coach and just cried! DD1 is now 2 1/2 and DD2 is 8 months and I have no planes on nightweaning

  17. Amy

    I feel your pain, Mama. I am in a similar boat. I have been nursing my DS for 27 months now and I am currently 23 weeks pregnant. As much as I want baby #2, my first reaction when I found out we were expecting again was guilt… pure guilt.

    At our 20 week ultrasound, baby looks great (whew!), but it also revealed Placenta Previa (only .8 cm away from the cervix). I’ve been placed on “pelvic rest” and told not to do anything that could cause strain or contractions… including breastfeeding.

    As uncomfortable as nursing is, I am still doing it (against doctor’s orders). We have mostly dropped the afternoon feedings (unless he naps in the bed, then he expects it) and we’re down to the initial bedtime nursing, several times during the night, and a brief snack in the morning. I’ve tried many of the night weaning techniques from Sears and Pantley, but haven’t had any luck. When he wakes during the night, he always wants to nurse back to sleep. Sometimes, I can pick him up and rock him, but when I try to lay him back down in the bed (no matter how long it’s been), he wakes again and expects to nurse. I have tried to offer substitutes, but he wants nothing to with anything else. In fact, when I try to offer him something else, he’s been getting angry and sad and saying “I NEED THEM!” and crying hysterically.

    Based on doctor’s orders and not my own desire, I’ve been trying gently encourage weaning. I have not had any contractions, but I also don’t want to put Baby #2 at any unnecessary risk. I’ve been doing “don’t ask/don’t refuse” for months now, but again, he shows no sign of stopping. I thought that the changes in milk flavor or quantity might discourage him, but he is still going strong. I feel so horrible about trying to get him to wean before he’s ready, but I just don’t know what to do. I had planned on tandem nursing if it came to that, but it seems like that might not be in our best interest any more.

    I’ve never really been able to express, so I honestly don’t know if there is anything still in there, although when I ask him, he tells me yes. If there is, indeed, any milk left, I am wondering if I should try to encourage it to dry up (I heard cabbage leaves can help). I started bawling just doing my research about it. I just don’t know what to do. (If any mamas out there have any advice, I’d also appreciate it!)

    Sorry to rant about myself, but I just wanted you to know that you’re not alone. From reading lots of others’ responses, it sounds like a lot of us are dealing with similar situations and feelings. You’ve done an amazing thing letting Kieran nurse for as long as he has and you should be very proud of your accomplishments. I also hope you’ll let go of any negative feelings towards your new one and embrace the new life within you. It’s hard, I know, but you’re an amazing woman and can do anything you put your mind to. Good luck, Mama!

    • Dionna   CodeNameMama

      That sounds so hard, Amy, and I’m sorry I don’t have any advice for you. I’m happy to ask on my FB page for you, and I’d also recommend the book Adventures in Tandem Nursing.
      It would be so hard to try weaning when your little one is able to vocalize how much he needs that nursing connection!
      I will keep you in my thoughts, and please let me know if you’d like me to post something for you on FB.

      • Amy

        Thanks! That would be great if you could post something on FB. The only feedback I’ve received so far is “there’s no need for you to stop nursing.” I really don’t know if that’s an option for us. If I have to encourage my milk to dry up, what are the safest and gentlest ways for a pregnant mama to do that?

  18. Emily

    First of all, I believe that weaning while pregnant is and can be natural weaning. Women have been getting pregnant while nursing for thousands of years. It’s just a different situation for every mom and nursling when it happens.

    My first was just a couple weeks shy of his first birthday when we got pregnant with the 2nd. He was still 80/90% breast for nutrition. That continued until I noticed a decline around the 4th or 5th month. Not really sure because he kept nursing. We did night wean during the early pregnancy. My wonderful husband took care of that. He continued to nurse but it dwindled to 1-2 times a day. He could sign for “nurse” and “please” and I would let him when he asked. Until the third trimester. Somewhere inthe late 7th or 8th month it was too much for me. But by this time we had started a game of him blowing kisses (raspberries) on my belly. He was maybe 20 months when I had to cut him off and asked him to “blow on mommas belly” instead. He signed “nurse please” maybe once or twice for a couple days and that was it. After the baby was born he tried to nurse, rather he looked interested and came up to my nipple. I was willing to let him try but all he did was bite. I actually let him try a couple more times in the tub but it was biting again. He had forgotten. I was a little sad but ok.

    Now is a diff story. My second was barely 6 months old when we found we’re pregnant with number three. NOW I had all the guilt. NOW I had all the odd feelings about the new baby. I want the baby but I don’t want the milk to go away when she is DEPENDENT on it. Definite guilt and depressive feelings. We really didn’t expect my fertility to resume so soon. I was all but resigned to the fact that we would have to give her formula and that it was ok and she would survive and I had given her so much already.

    But then we received a blessing. We were connected with a mom that exclusively pumps for her baby and had an abundance of extra milk frozen. She gave us all of it!!!! Our deep freezer is half full of her milk! There’s enough for months and we would be able to get more from her and some other friends who are willingto donate. I still nurse and she still gets something from me. I know it’s not much bc she has started to whimper about it. We nurse then offer the bottle of friend’s milk and she takes nearly 15-20 oz in the bottle. I am completely willing to try to make it through the whole pregnancy nursing her even if it’s once or twice a day just so she’ll be able to nurse when the baby is born.

    • Dionna   CodeNameMama

      How wonderful that you were still able to give your little one breastmilk! I am constantly amazed at the connections between nursing women that allow stories like this. Thank you for sharing!

      • Emily

        I _highly_ encourage all Breastfeeding moms to go to La Leche League meetings or talk talk talk to other breastfeeding moms to make those connections. Borrowing milk is not a bad thing. I figure my baby is getting _extra_ immunities since she gets mine and the other moms’ antibodies.

        My guilty feelings have been vastly relieved due to this blessing of a donation.

      • Emily

        Wow, I have such an update on this. Third baby was born 11-11-11 via c-section due to placenta previa. He was only 34w5d, premie. DD fully weaned from the breast in 2nd trimester. I felt totally detached from her, like she wasn’t even my child. I completely had weaning depression and pregnancy anxiety but didn’t realize it until 6 months after third baby was born. We were able to borrow breastmilk from MANY different moms through all pregnancy. Then I started pumping some of my milk for her. I would feed baby on one side during night then pump the other side in the morning. I had to resign myself that she might not relatch as was my hope. But I made the breast available to her, took baths with her, offered but said ok when she refused. After many months she put her mouth to the nipple but didn’t suckle. Many weeks later she mouthed it again. Around 9 months after birth she actually nursed once. I thought if she never did again I’d be content because we reconnected this one time. One time she nursed when upset in the night. Then, 3 weeks after her 2nd birthday and 3 weeks befor the third baby’s first birthday, she relatched completely. I offered in morning instead of pumping and she took it, then she took it at naptime, she was all breast and no more bottles after that. I tandem nursed a 1 and 2 yr old for a whole year. The next summer we became pregnant with baby 4. 2nd trimester, milk started to go away. DD said, “mommy where the milk go?” I said it was because of the new baby. She came back and said, “why you do that, mommy? Why you give the milk to the baby?” I said it just happens. She stopped nursing on her own. No guilt. I felt like she was my daughter again. 3rd baby weaned a few weeks later.

      • Love this story, Emily! Thank you for updating :)

  19. Jennifer A

    Dionna, I have a question, and I hope it doesn’t sound as if I am belittling your feelings, because that is not the intent. Why is it that your son choosing not to nurse as much due to you not having as much milk because of your pregnancy not seen as weaning “naturally”? The way I see it, you got pregnant naturally (based on what was stated previously in the comments), and your milk production has slowed naturally, so why is it not natural for your son to want to wean at this time? Again, I ask these questions as a compassionate yet curious individual, just wanting to understand the difference in your mind. Is it perhaps possible that this is just the way that it was supposed to happen for him?

    • Dionna   CodeNameMama

      I was trying to differentiate more between “child-led” and “influenced” weaning. I can definitely understand why people view this as “natural,” especially because of the amount of spacing between the two. I’m just being technical ;)

  20. I am 23 weeks pregnant and still nursing my almost 28 month old toddler. Before pregnancy he was feeding between 4 and 6 times a day (i partially nightweaned him at 14 months and fully nightweaned him at 2) and he mainly gets comfort from me through cuddles (hes a very cuddly boy!). Now he is only nursing about 2 or 3 times a day – always when going to sleep and when he wakes in the morning (though sometimes he wants to get straight up and i have to talk him into his wake up feed).
    I have persisted through excrutiatingly, teeth-clenchingly painful nipples, (though had found it was mainly the first minute after latching that was the worst) and this lasted about 2 or 3 months but has since passed – i hope it doesnt come back again. I noticed during this time that i couldnt squeeze any milk out but comforted myself in the fact that as with pumping, there is probably more in there that the child can get out than you can, and also that he continued to nurse to sleep anyway, even if there was nothing there.
    I have noticed in the last couple of weeks that my colostrum has come in and he has had no aversion to the different taste. I ask him “Is it yummy?” and he smiles and nods with booby in his mouth! Hopefully he will keep nursing into tandem with the next.
    By the way, I also have had feelings of not connecting with my unborn baby due to my attention being so diverted with my toddler and from what i hear from others, this seems to be normal. A friend of mine had the same issue with her 2nd pregnancy and told me that what helped her was writing a letter to the baby expressing her feelings – this turned into a journal for the baby. I am hoping to get around to starting that one soon!
    All the best with the rest of your pregnancy, birth and breastfeeding journey. I look forward to reading more about it…

    • Dionna   CodeNameMama

      Thanks so much for sharing your experiences. Journaling is one thing I keep meaning to take up – I did with Kieran from very early on in pregnancy, and it was so nice to go back and read through those thoughts later on (and I plan on giving it to him someday). I’m glad to hear that these are very normal feelings!!

  21. Amber   AmberStrocel

    I started the path to weaning my first child when I was struggling to conceive my second. I had low progesterone, which is related to nursing, so I started to set limits. And eventually, when I did finally get pregnant, I weaned my daughter completely.

    At the time I was very conflicted about it. But in retrospect, I’m actually very calm about the choice. I can see that the nearly three years we breastfed for gave her a great start, that weaning is a natural part of childhood, and that ending the breastfeeding relationship didn’t damage us or take away anything that we had gained through our nursing years. It’s taken me some time to get here, but I honestly have no regrets about ending our breastfeeding relationship when we did.

    The final thing that absolved my guilt happened about a year ago, when my daughter was 5 and my son was not yet 2. I had somehow ended up in my daughter’s bed with both kids in the middle of the night, and when my son woke up to nurse in my groggy state I tried to nurse my daughter. She would still occasionally ask to breastfeed, and I would decline, but I felt guilty about it. Anyway, when I tried to nurse her she just burst out laughing and said, “Mom, you have the wrong kid!” I could see that while she still craved closeness with me, and maybe wanted to do what her brother was allowed to do, she had actually moved on from breastfeeding, and she was totally OK with that.

  22. Zoie @ TouchstoneZ   TouchstoneZ

    I’m sending you big hugs. Having nursed through 3 pregnancies, and each very different, I know there are so many complex emotions on both the mama’s and children’s sides of the breastfeeding relationship.

    The one constant I found was maintaining that loving bond is so important. Breastmilk and breastfeeding may change, but the nurturing remains.

    Whether he weans, continues breastfeeding throughout your pregnancy, or takes a break and comes back when the milk/colostrum comes in, the natural rhythms that you’ve already established through breastfeeding will serve you both and give time to transition into this new step on the journey.

  23. Gaby   tmuffindotcom

    Oh mama, this is hard! This same issue was the hardest part of my second pregnancy. Such guilt…my toddler continued to nurse and then all of a sudden he was down to once a day..then every 2, 3 days. He weaned for a month until we were traveling and I offered the breast so he would sleep on the plane. My colostrum had come in and he was back full force. You just never know. Never say never, and it might not last forever!

  24. robin

    i was forced to wean my first baby, while 4 months pregnant with my second. i was particularly depressed about it because my first at that point was only 15 months old, and had only 2 months before, BEGAN nursing. i had exclusively pumped for her before that. she had pacis’ though, so i guess that’s why she was able to “remember” how to nurse. when my second was a month old, i decided to let my first try nursing again. now my children are 3 years and 18 months :) both nursing strong!!

  25. Krista   krissyfair

    No, you haven’t failed him! And you ARE still letting him choose. He’s choosing to nurse even though the milk is less/gone and you’re still giving him that choice. You haven’t cut off the relationship and that’s what he’ll take away from this.

    You’re doing an incredible, wonderful, amazing thing!

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