Now that Dot is 12 months we’ve been slowly trying to transition to cow’s milk. She’s been formula fed for the past 3 months so it’s feels a little more straight forward this time. But in the past weaning from breast milk to cow’s milk is a difficult, and emotional process. Breastfeeding is such a moment of connection that feels hard to let go of. Today we’re sharing a few stories from other mothers about weaning in partnership with fairlife ultra-filtered milk…
Right now I’m mixing her bottles with half formula and half fairlife ultra-filtered whole milk. Here’s what I love about fairlife if you’re unfamiliar: it’s delicious, real milk – essentially the best quality cow’s milk – that’s filtered to concentrate its goodness with 50% more protein and 50% less sugar.
It’s not only the natural favorite for transitioning babies, but it’s also our go-to snack with cookies. I don’t drink whole milk a lot but when it comes to cookies I’m quite partial to the fairlife ultra-filtered whole milk (and so is Edie!).
I love nursing but it does feel like I’ve lost my freedom for a while and I’m always anxious to get it back. When Henry was a year old, I was ready to move on (as least I thought), and we planned a big trip to Mexico with his siblings. We were at my parents for Christmas right before, and my plan was to slowly wean while we were there. The problem was, I kept on getting those darn breast infections, and it ended up taking much longer. I had to pump while we were away, and he wasn’t taking well to the bottle and cow’s milk we left my parents with, which ended up making for a stressful trip away.
With Edie, I nursed her for longer. I continued to nurse her in the mornings and evenings until she was almost 2 years old and then realized that I really was ready to not be so tied to every morning and evening routine. I wanted Jared to be able to fill in just as easily as I. The process was much more emotional though with her since I didn’t have a timely reason, like I did with Henry and the travel plans.
With Dot, I had a lot of travel planned when she was 10 months and having that deadline was good for me mentally. I started cutting out nursing feedings and adding more bottles of formula. Because of her lower weight, we had been supplementing with formula anyway, so the transition was a little smoother as she’d been having extra bottles for a few months before I stopped nursing.
Then, when Dot turned a year a couple weeks ago we started mixing her formula with cow’s milk. At first we added way too much cow’s milk and she was uncomfortable, so we scaled back and have started to increase it little by little every week. She actually loves it and prefers it over a formula-only bottle now.
Here are a few other stories from my friends about their experience weening their babies:
Realizing baby needs more food. “Weaning was a very slow process for us. It began when my daughter started waking up multiple times in the night because she was hungry. At first, I was confused, but then I realized she needed to eat more solids. As I fed her more solids during the day (and she returned to sleeping through the night – yay!), nursing sessions naturally dropped off. To make sure she didn’t get dehydrated, I’d give her a sippy cup of water at every meal. Each month we dropped a feeding, so by the time she turned one, we were only nursing once, maybe twice a day, and I started giving her cow’s milk in her sippy. And the last feeding, the pre-breakfast one, ended as soon as I stopped being so lazy and started giving her actual breakfast. I don’t think she even realized that she was no longer breastfeeding. Now if I could only figure out how to wean her from the binkie!” – Erica
Not losing the connection. “I found that I didn’t have to give up the snuggly closeness that I enjoyed with my baby during breastfeeding sessions as he still wanted me to hold him while having his bottle.” – Talia
Mixed Emotions. “When I stopped nursing I felt such a mix of strong emotions. The last thing that physically tethered my babies to me was over! Forever! And I knew I would never have that maternal experience again. I also felt joy and relief that it was over as well! I birthed four babies in less than six years, so I also felt like “Hooray! My body is just for me again!” More than anything, I was overcome with gratitude, for birthing and nursing and everything my body was able to do to give me those memories and experiences.” – Michelle
Baby led weaning. “Weaning my first child was fairly easy. The plan was to wean her at 1 year. She was only breast fed and as we got closer to her first birthday I merged her day feedings and fed her mainly table food. She was down to an early morning feeding and a feeding before bed. A couple weeks before she turned 1, she woke up one morning and didn’t grab at me to nurse like she usually did so I rolled with it! I went out and bought some cows milk that day and gave her that during and after dinner and never looked back. She maybe reached at me to nurse a couple of times after that but it was a fairly quick and easy transition.” – Ashley
Thanks to fairlife ultra-filtered milk for sponsoring this post and making delicious, better for you milk we all love. Photography of Dot, Edie and I by Stephanie Gardner for Say Yes.