Monday, 20 October 2008

The weaning story

As you know, some time ago, I was in KL for a work trip for like 5 days 4 nights. So we were thinking of using that period of time to wean Isaac off my breast.

At that time, before the trip, Isaac was still fully breast fed. He would latch on and drink from me whenever I am home. Which meant he could latch on on weekends and on weekdays - at night after I come back from work, and in the morning before I go to work. He would get up during the night to drink as well, usually at least 2 or 3 times a night. say 1am, 3am and 5am.

He refused any other milk that didnt come from me, and was dispensed to him, from me. He didn't want expressed breast milk in a bottle/cup/spoon/straw. Neither did he want formula milk, nor fresh milk, nor soya milk.

Frankly, I am very reluctant to wean him off. I have had a good run on The Milk Trail ;) In the beginning, it was The Milk Trial for me - it was difficult, it was trying, it was painful. But I got pass that, and blessed with lots of milk, I have breastfed Isaac for more than a year.

I enjoy the feeling of closeness that latching on a baby brings. It is something that we share, something no one else would give him. It is an understatement that a bond is created between a mother and her baby when she breastfeeds him/her. I can't find the appropriate words to describe the beauty of it all.

My sister and I were both blessed with the chance to be able to breastfeed our babies. My mother often watches us as we latch on our babies. One day, she asked my sister, how does it feel like, to breastfeed. When I heard that she asked about it, I immediately felt very sorry for her that she didn't get the chance to breastfeed us.

Being a mother of the 1970s, my mother was one of the many mothers at that time who went to work in order to be a dual income family, so we could have a more comfortable life. With maternity leave being 4 weeks (or less?) at that time, full time work, and formula milk being perceived as superior to breastmilk, most mothers chose not to breastfeed.

What happened to your milk then? I asked her. "I ate pills to stop the milk."

"Oh." I said.

Suddenly, I just felt so sad. Sad that she never got to experience breastfeeding. Sad that I never got breastfed by her. Sad that we did not get to enjoy the closeness that breastfeeding brings. Would I be closer to my mum if she had breastfed me? I don't know. Perhaps. Maybe not. I don't know.

Suddenly, I felt so thankful that I was and am able to breastfeed Isaac.

Even in today's times, not everyone who wants to breastfeed is able to do so. A lot of people I know have problem breastfeeding successfully for long periods of time. Be it supply problems, or latching problems, or a non-understanding work culture...

I am just thankful.

So, now, to wean. Did I mention why?
1) Coz we're trying for another baby and they say it's tough to get pregnant while still breastfeeding... (But not impossible!!!)
2) Coz it's not good for the baby within, if the mother is breastfeeding due to "splitting" of nutrients... (But the body is smart enough to do that!!! internet say one!!!Lactation Consultants say one!!!)
3) Coz the milk will change quality during pregnancy... (But if Isaac doesn't mind...)
4) Coz breastfeeding will make my womb shrink and they say it's not good for the baby within... (But it has been done and they say so long as it's not an at-risk pregnancy, it should be okay...)

okay okay, so you see how I'm setting myself up...


Plus Isaac's still not drinking any other milk... so...

ANYWAYZ we have started to wean him off his night feeds. Coz that's another case altogether. Babies, whether breastfed or formula fed should be able to get through the night without drinking since they're 4 or 5 mths old. We'd be putting this off long enough, so we decided to persevere after I came back from KL.

At first, he still woke up at his usual timing of 1pm and 3pm, wanting to drink. He'd throw tantrums when I refused to let him latch, but we persevered... gave him a bit of water, and just sat out his tantrums...

Then, I thought: "What if he's really hungry?" So I started to give him food before he sleeps, like some bread, or cheese, or even porridge, if he'd take it. And he usually would take some food, and guess what?! He started to sleep longer!

I realised that if he ate quite a lot, he can sleep through to 5am thereabouts, but if he didn't eat a lot, he might wake up at 3 or 4 am... so he was hungry! hahahaa...

Anywayz, it's been slightly more than a month now, and he's pretty much sleeping through the nights. He'd eat some before he sleeps, still suckles to sleep, but once he sleeps, which is about 9+ or 10+, he'd sleep though to 4 or 5 am.

Quite often, he'd wake up at 4am, wanting to drink. Then I'd tell him: "It's too early, Isaac. Go back to sleep. Awhile more, ok? Mummy knows you want to drink milk, but it's a bit too early. Sleep first. Sleep." Then he'd go back to sleep. Not much tantrums now, unless he ate very little before he slept and he's really hungry.

But he's still drinking in the day, before and after I come back from work...

So... that's the weaning story... to be continued...

Sighz... dunno it's weaning Isaac... or weaning me... :p

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