Weaning Breast feed

Swati, Jagriti 52 batch sharing

We had begun the process of stopping the breastfeed in the middle of the night when she would wake up. This wasn’t easy as she had been used to it from when she was a baby. But learning from a friend who had navigated through this phase by talking to her 2 year old daughter, I tried the same. So, the suggestion I made to my daughter of drinking water and going back to sleep, worked for a while. Then teething with canines started and that set us back. We had a few more of these starts and stops, one such phase had us trying Papa sleeping next to her through the night. In the last few months, I started seeing a dependency pattern between breastfeed and sleep (especially afternoon nap) There was always a gap, or we always tried to keep a gap, but the lines were blurring. It was also obvious that it wasn’t something she couldn’t do without, and in my absence she could go on without the breastfeed. It became obvious to me(something my husband saw months ago) that she did not really need the breastfeed and we were making a dependency develop.

With my conviction in place, I could finally speak with her, let her know that I really wanted her to be free to take a nap or sleep, whenever she needed or wanted to, without depending on breastfeed. And this was a conversation we had when she had been crying and asking for a feed a bit before sleep time.

What happened next is what convinces me about the ability of my child to find her own way, to manage her emotions in a healthier way by herself, to have the ability to be self-reliant- She thought a bit and reached out for a finger puppet. Put the finger puppet on me, and said- ‘Milk is over!’ and that was that! She found her own way to come to terms with this big transition. I have known of other ways this transition is usually done, where the child may, may not be an active part of the process- sometimes with a switch in who sleeps next to the child (which is likely to involve some crying to sleep), sometimes applying neem oil, or some such repelling taste to the nipples, so the child herself stops (this I find a cruel way, to end an experience that had been so nourishing both emotionally and actually)…

I am grateful for my learnings through Jagriti, and all the books, and people that have helped me see things from the child’s perspective. I wanted to share this experience particularly over here- I feel that there might be a lot of learnings from Jagriti that are embedded here in this experience.

She did in the following days and sometimes even now, ask me if she can have a little breastfeed, but when I reminded her, she asked to have milk from the fridge, or like last night, said bye bye again to breast milk.