2 weeks ago I cut the almost-two-year-old off. Cold turkey. Done. Finished. The boobies are history.
Sounds kinda cruel, doesn’t it? Just suddenly, out-of-the-blue taking away her favorite thing EVER?
Well, it actually worked out incredibly well!
Before weaning, she kept me awake pretty much all night long nursing. Seriously, this kid LOVED her some mama milk. Neither of us was getting a good night’s sleep, and during the day if she wasn’t nursing, then she was tugging at my skirt whining to. It was exhausting.
Okay, so I understand you needed to wean… But why cold turkey?
Most of the parenting advice you see suggests a slow, gentle weaning process. First just night-wean, teaching your child that the num-nums go to sleep after bedtime. Then gently stretch out feedings during the day until you are only nursing just before nap and just before bed. Then just keep the bedtime one. Then gently replace the night nursing session with another comfort, and you’re done!
Yeah. About that.
We actually used the gentle approach with my oldest, and she wasn’t fully weaned until 6 months ago at three and a half years old. I tandem breastfed the two girls. Her personality was much different. She would have had a total meltdown with the cold-turkey method.
Seriously, her majesty the drama queen may have died of grief.
But this kid is different. She is very much an all-or-nothing kinda person. When I tried the slow weaning method, it just caused constant tantrums. You see, there were boobies right there that rightly belonged to HER, and this mean ol’ mama wouldn’t let her have them. The world would hear about this grave injustice!
Nursing needed to simply not be an option. Just nope.
And it needed to NOT BE MY FAULT.
So here’s what I did:
The medicine cabinet still had a bottle of Gentian Violet from our encounter with thrush… So first thing one morning, I dyed my boobies purple. Yup. Vivid purple tatas!
It’s a new look.
For good measure I also coated my nipples in paprika.
Then I casually went to get dressed. My child, who always has to watch me change clothes, just stared at me wordlessly. The expression on her face was actually hilarious! She didn’t say anything.
After I was dressed she climbed up on my lap and cautiously lifted my shirt. “Color?” she asked me. “Yes. The boobies are broken. We can’t nurse anymore. They’re broken.”
“Awwww…. Broken.” She carefully leaned forward to test them out anyways… and got a wiff of the paprika. “Stinky! Yuck! Eww, broken.” She announced, and pulled my shirt back down.
And that was that!
No fits, no tears, no anger. It just was.
Starting that very first night we both slept so well! Without nursing to bother waking up for, she was content to simply SLEEP beside me. It was almost miraculous!
Over the next few days she did ask a few times, and all I said was “Aw, I’m sorry baby, they’re broken. Remember? I know it’s sad.”
“Sad. Broken.” She’d agree, then give me a hug and go merrily back to playing. Playing. As in, by herself. As in, not hanging on my leg or tugging at my clothing. Ah, freedom!
What about engorgement?
I am actually almost halfway through another pregnancy, so my supply had really dwindled. On days 3 and 4 after weaning I felt slightly uncomfortable, and leaked a little if the kids jumped on my chest, but that’s about it.
If you are still working with a full supply and need to wean cold-turkey, look into peppermint essential oil to dry up milk.
Will this approach work with every child?
Of course not! There are so many different personalities, and so many different situations. Some children’s world would come to an end with the cold-turkey method.
But this was the perfect solution for our family.
… And the purple does fade… eventually 😉
In Corde Maria
(featured image via flickr user Rick Kimple)