Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Weaning My Two Year Old

Hi There.  Yes, I have 2 year old twins and yes, one of them is still latching on twice a day--more if I'd let him.
I'm quite torn about weaning.  I have loved breastfeeding more than I ever thought possible and really don't want it to end.  I wish I was still breastfeeding both of them but it's only Grunter and I as Whoop Whoop abruptly left the boob with a laugh when he was 18 months old.
When I was pregnant, I vaguely remember being a bit ambivalent about breastfeeding.  I was kinda like, yeah that would be cool if it works.  But did I take a class?  Nope.  Read any of my breastfeeding books? Nope.  Open my breast pump or sterilize the parts or figure out how the damned thing worked until the twins came home from the hospital (by the way, don't be stupid like me and do this)?  Nope.
My attitude was a bit "Eh, it will either work or not and if it doesn't I'll be bummed but lots of people use formula and it's all OK."

I never could have predicted the intense reaction I would feel to the possibility that this might not work.
When it looked very much like a failure, I put everything I had into making it work.
Grunter got it faster than Whoop Whoop and if it weren't for him, I would have quit and gone to bottles.  Whoop Whoop put me through hell.  When I think back to those TEN weeks that we struggled with him latching on, I cringe.  I'd love to have happy memories of the newborn days, but I don't.  That was not my reality.  The untreated PPD, the colic, the low birth weight, the troubles with breastfeeding, the eating every 2 hours, the extreme sleep deprivation, the low milk supply, the slow weight gain.  It was all hellish.

So when the breastfeeding finally 'clicked' and it did, though probably not right at 10 weeks, more like around 4 months for me, I knew that I'd give it everything I had.
And I did.  Through countless clogged milk ducts and painful recurrences of mastitis and yeast infections and more sleepless nights, I gave it everything I had.

At some point, it became joyful.  I LOVED tandem breastfeeding my twins.  I cried when I had to stop using my double breastfeeding pillow, but little did I know it was only going to get better and better and better.

Breastfeeding a toddler has seriously been one of the best things I've ever done in my life.  It is so rewarding and FUN.  Yes, it's fun!
Right after the twins started toddling about we moved our mattress to the floor and it created a giant play mat of sorts for them.  Our snuggle place, our breastfeeding place, our reading books place.  The decision to move our mattress to the living room floor was the best one we've made in a long time.  They love it.  We love it.  Kids over for playdates love it.  And the way they can crawl/toddle and now walk and climb into the bed with us is priceless.  The way one of them will stop breastfeeding to walk to the book shelf and come back to hand me a book to read while they are having "mommy milk".

Whoop Whoop, even though he spontaneously self-weaned, still asks for 'mommy milk'.  For him, this time is snuggle time with mommy in bed.  He's on one side with his 'moo milk' and Grunter is on the other side nursing.  When Grunter commands "Other Side!" W2 knows to scramble over my body and they switch sides.  I hold them both in my arms and my life feels so full and complete.  I love it.  I kiss them both and W2 tries to kiss Grunter and Grunter pushes him away and W2 want to kiss him so badly but Grunter is having none of it.  It's so sweet and I don't have these intimate moments with them any other time of the day.
I'm loathe to give them up.

Around Thanksgiving I cut out the 'after nap' nursing session (which went horribly with much wailing and tears and tantruming of Grunter--it lasted about 2 weeks and was awful).
Now we are down to 2 sessions a day--after waking and before sleep at night.
My supply is dropping and has been for over a month.  I knew it when Grunter started crying and pulling off saying "milk OUT".  Poor thing was so frustrated and pissed out that there wasn't much milk.
There have been nights that he doesn't ask to nurse.  Sometimes 2 or 3 nights in a row and I wonder....what now?  But then he asks again and we're off to cuddle.

I've been explaining to him that the mommy milk is slowly going away and I don't have much anymore that's why I can't give it to him in the afternoons (oh yes, he still asks for it sometimes!).  He seems to accept and understand this and says "Moo Milk".  Yes, you get moo milk instead.  "Moon, mommy milk."  Yes, when the moon is up and it's dark, you will get mommy milk.

We'll be going away in a month and it's going to be even harder for me to nurse him in our house in Costa Rica.  I won't be able to 'watch' Whoop Whoop while he nurses.  Our bed is not on the floor.  It's going to be hot and sticky and sandy.  Nursing a hot, sticky, sandy toddler doesn't sound nearly as dreamy as a clean toddler in a clean bed!
Plus, well....I never in a million years would have dreamed I'd be breastfeeding a 2 year old!  It's crazy considering how it started.
So, I think I'm going to start weaning.  Maybe.  I could change my mind tomorrow.  Or maybe laying in a hammock with a sticky toddler will be dreamy and I'm just obsessed with being clean and sticky-free.


reproducinggenius said...

I am still nursing my two-year-old once a day but only on some nights. Right after he turned two we were down to the wake-up and bedtime nursing. I have found that the slow weaning process has been really great for both of us. Over the past month or so, he's skipped nursing a number of times. My philosophy has been that I don't offer it at all, and if he asks for it other than at bedtime, I distract him and say "only at bedtime," but if he doesn't ask for it at bedtime, I don't push the issue. I'm finding it's easier on both of us this way, as I don't take abrupt change well, and neither does he. It's such an interesting process!

I have to say, though, nursing in a hammoc with a sleepy two-yaer-old, however sticky and sandy, sounds pretty sweet.

Verity Foxy said...

Every word you've written about breastfeeding and your attitude at the beginning was me. To a tee. And I feel the same about weaning my boys too. They're only 13 months and I've gotten them down to twice a day. I will start work soon and have figured that I need to wean from the morning feed, because they nurse for so long and it will be too tight time-wise for me to be able to get ready for work and get to work... Just thinking about it makes me so sad. I don't want to do it, which is why I'm continuing the night time feed. But sometimes I question myself. I am totally not ready to give it up but feel so pressured to.

I never thought I would love nursing as much as I do. Your post was so perfectly written... it's so nice to know someone out there feels the same way I do!!

Good luck!

K J and the kids said...

I just envy you guys who have done so good breastfeeding twins. Way to go lady !
I imagine he'll slowly back off and your production will dwindle to nothing until they both (your breasts and Grunter) wean each other.

Good luck.
My favorite is how they switch sides :) too cute.

Marcia (123 blog) said...

You are so amazing - I love this post!

Mine was so very different but I love reading about the alternative and the hammock sounds pretty darn dreamy to me.

You could just dust the sandy kid off with some talcum powder :)

anofferingoflove said...

i love the part about how they switch sides too - how sweet!

this issue is so very close to my heart (or breast?) ;) right now. about a month ago, i cut Bird down to twice a day (bedtime and first thing in the morning). then, a few weeks ago, we cut the nighttime session. this morning...i cut the last one. this will be our first day ever of not nursing (sob!)

im envious of the moms whose kids peter off on their own, Bird has always been demanding about it and would still probably nurse all day if i let her. each step down has been a struggle. a brief struggle, but still...

it's *such* a hard thing to end, even though i was ready. my only 2 cents is not to rush it if you aren't truly ready to be done...nursing a sticky hot toddler in paradise doesn't sound so bad, after all ;)

wishing you lots of luck in these next steps of your relationship with Grunter ((()))

Jill said...

i can just imagine the switching sides - adorable!
i felt exactly the same way about breastfeeding before the wigglers were born. i figured i'll give it a shot and if it doesn't work out that's okay. and then came the issues with supply and weight loss and the like and i was beside myself. it really is a strange thing isn't it. now at 13 months i still nurse magoo - something i did not think i would still be doing (cindy lou pretty much said no more around 9-10 months.) i imagine it is difficult to stop. the time spent staring at their little heads and holding them so close is amazing. hope it goes well for you! and two year olds - WOW!