I wrote the beginning of this post a few months ago and just finished it yesterday. One of my biggest joys is being able to share my motherhood journey with you all. From the bottle of my heart, thank you for following along with us all.
Otis is well over a year and our breastfeeding journey is coming to an end. He’s 14.5 months old as I type the beginning of this post. It’s incredible how my body has done such incredible work to allow me to breastfeed Otis for so long. If you would have asked me at month 2 if I would make it this long, I would never have envisioned it through the constant and painful clogs. But damn. I am so freaking proud of myself for so many reasons. Breastfeeding came easy to me in terms of Otis latching right away. I was lucky. But the hard part for me was working through clogs and the demanding schedule that comes with being someones meal ticket. It’s a wild thing because it has both been some of the most challenging times as well as the most fulfilling. Those quiet moments together with Otis while nursing were all special.
It was when Otis was 10 months old that I realized he would quickly be 1 and I had always envisioned my end goal being 1. Since feedings were still easy and going smoothly, there wasn’t any real reason to stop a good thing right? I think many women ask themselves this same question. I should just keep going right? Because it’s easy, I am lucky that things are going well. In all honesty, at the 10 month mark, I was ready to have some of my body back. That statement is hard to say sometimes. Making a choice for yourself is just as important as making one for your baby. I was ready to have some more flexibility. I put that pressure on myself because feeding was so easy at that point. Questioning my decision to wean. I feel like each decision is so emotional and personal. In the end, I knew it was time for me. Otis was already eating less each feeding so he was naturally weaning a bit due to all the solid foods and snacks he was eating. So that made things easier on my boobs. I knew I would want to drop my feeds cold turkey because I was DONE using a breastpump. Otis was still drinking milk 5 times a day at this point so I picked one of the afternoon feeds to drop first. Since Otis was used to taking bottles, I wasn’t worried about him not having a breastfeeding and replacing it with a bottle. I was a nervous wreck the first feed I skipped. I probably asked Blake 50 times if he thought it was a good day to do it. But just like that, I skipped my first afternoon feed and replaced it with a bottle of formula. And guess what? He took his bottle no problem. And just like that, I had weaned one feed. I was worried how my boobs would feel the next day. Just a tiny bit of fullness but after 2 days my boobs had adjusted and I had no issues. It’s amazing how your body adjusts so quickly based off of a babies needs. I waited about a week or two and then dropped another afternoon feed. My goal was to drop all 3 daytime feeds and just breastfeed morning and night by his first birthday. Each feed I dropped I replaced with a bottle and didn’t pump or anything to relieve my boobs. They just naturally started producing less.
By the time Otis turned 1, I was just breastfeeding in the AM when he woke up, and in the PM right before bed as part of his bedtime routine. Being able to rely on bottles during the day was a breath of fresh air. I was still able to have my special time with him morning and night but the new sense of freedom was liberating. I was ready for it. The next decision was which feed I would ultimately decide to drop last. Since I felt my boobs were a bit more full in the mornings, I decided to drop that feed last. I dropped my night feed and went about our bedtime routine per usual except bringing that bottle into play. We had our special night and just like that, we were down to 1 feeding. Now it was the hard part. I kept the mornings for a bit trying to figure out when I would be “ready.” I was terrified to pull the trigger. Let me explain.
To fully stop breastfeeding to me was a symbol of growth. It was a clear signal that Otis was moving forward past those early newborn days and quickly growing into his own little person. I think the sheer fact that life was transitioning and moving forward was the most emotional part of my end to breastfeeding. My sweet little Oats was really becoming such an independent little person. Seeing him grow has been something out of my dreams and the sheer gravity of that was welling up as I approached the day I had decided to drop my last feed. I picked a day I knew we would be busy and had to leave the house in the morning to help make the transition a little easier on me. Our last breastfeeding together was peaceful and reflective. I know some people don’t get the luxury of choosing the day they stop, or even having the choice to start. There is so much about breastfeeding that is hard for so many. So the fact I literally picked a day on my calendar to make this transition was very special. As we sat together the tears welled thinking of this journey finally coming to an end. But then, a glowing smile. Because you know what, WE DID THIS THING. And I was really fucking proud of what we accomplished both together, and with Blake’s support. We all went through this process together. And I was grateful for the experience. While the beginning was a challenging rocky road, we sat here together, peaceful, enjoying this time together, as the sun drenched the room. I was ready. He was ready. And just like that, I had stopped breastfeeding.
Originally I asked Blake if I could sleep in that day after I dropped my last breastfeeding and he would feed Otis to kind of change up that rhythm for myself. But in the end, I just wanted to be involved and wake up my sweet little guy and give him his bottle. I know your hormones are constantly changing when you stop breastfeeding but I think because I did it gradually, I didn’t run into any issues emotionally. Yes it was a strange new place to be, but it was also equally amazing. In a way, I appreciated our bottle time even more, got to snuggle his head a little closer, and just enjoyed our feedings just as much as before. I am also happy to report I had zero issues with my boobs after dropping my last feed. I as shocked. I think I was so scared because of all the clogs I had experienced in the past but it was just clear that I knew my body and mind were ready to make this transition.
I often get questions about how we made this transition and I wouldn’t say it’s something I could “give advice” on but to merely share my experience because this transition is so different for everyone. I will say, after years of fertility treatments, being pregnant, and then caring for another life so directly in the form of breastfeeding, I have been giving my body to others for a long time. It’s the first time in years, I am truly in my own skin, with myself. I have to say, it feels a little bit strange, but also completely beautiful. It’s true what they say that these seasons in life fly by. I never took a minute of it for granted. I am smiling as I write this because I am just so proud of myself. What a freaking accomplishment!!! To all my mamas out there, whether you breastfed your baby for 1 day, 100 days, or decided breastfeeding wasn’t for you and formula fed your baby, You are all rockstars for going through this feeding journey with your families. It’s hard no matter which path you take and Mamas need to be celebrated more for the amazing things they do for their families.
These photos were from our last feed together. I selfishly took them to cherish. Also one photo from the first day of our new feeding life together. So lucky to have these memories. Don’t mind me while I smother Otis after seeing these photos again today.
Ashley - Thank you for sharing!! My lil guy is 10 months and I was just thinking today that I needed to figure out a plan. It is such a special bond that I’m not quite ready to stop. I’m definitely bookmarking this post to come back to when it’s time for me to get serious about weaning. Thank you!
eat.sleep.wear. - OF COURSE. It’s all such a unique journey and wishing you the best when you decide its the right time. xoxo Kim
Elsie - This post came at the perfect time for me! My son Jet is almost 14 months old and I’ve been trying to slowly drop feeds, but I’d course a stomach bug had him back to nursing a ton! Does Otis still drink formula? Trying to figure out the proper transition! I know every babe is different though. Thanks for sharing your story!
eat.sleep.wear. - So glad it came at the right time! Otis is on all cows milk now. We still gave him formula after 1 as we transitioned to milk 🙂
We didn’t force the milk and always had the formula as backup. Hope this helps! xo, Kim