May 19, 2009,
C.A. asks from Sun Valley, ID on May 14, 2009
Weaning My 18 Month Old
Here is the dilemma... I am still Breastfeeding my 18 month old. He breastfeeds 5 to 8 times a day, he takes the cup when he is thirsty for a few ounces of water.
I am going to Hawaii with my husband in 3 weeks for 8 days W I T H O U T BABY!!!!
I know is time to wean him, but at the same time I know he is still so attached and it will be hard on both of us. He loves his grandma and he is staying with her, but I am still not sure about leaving him.
Should I postpone my trip?? should I try to wean him now before I go away?? should I bring him with me?? Should I enjoy my last few weeks of breastfeeding and then leave?
NEVER THOUGHT IT WAS GOING TO BE THIS HARD. PLS HELP!!
A.S. answers from Salt Lake City on May 15, 2009
this is completely my personal opinion, but I think 8 days is too long for an 18mo old to be away from his mother and father. Take him with you.
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H.W. answers from Denver on May 15, 2009
A La Leche League leader can help you sort out the pros and cons and how tos if you decide to wean or pump or take baby with you. You can call any of the leaders near you or their 1-800 number. Find a leader or the # at www.llli.org - look under resources - find a local group/leader.
You say you could take baby. A compromise that *could* work for all is to take Grandma with you? Just a thought. I know many moms who have done this - some it's the only way they take vacations now, even with their 5+ in age kids. They like the family vacation aspect, but they love the freedom to leave kids with the designated babysitter for a while each day.
Good luck in your decision!
1 mom found this helpful
S.P. answers from Provo on May 15, 2009
I took my nursing 16 month old on a cruise with us last year and I am SO glad I did not leave her. With as much as she did still nurse, it would have been more miserable for me to not have her and she would have been very upset not to mention hungry. Yes it was different having her there but weaning was not an option. Weaning took place last summer and was very gradual and therefore easier on us both. She was eventually weaned by October when she was 25 months old. Best advice I can give because only you know how you or your son would react is to go with your gut.
1 mom found this helpful
R.S. answers from Washington DC on May 15, 2009
Weaning isn't easy, but will be worth a much needed relationship enhancer such as a 2nd honeymoon with your husband. I went through something similar. Eliminate one feeding at a time, the morning feeding worked best for me as a starter, but remove the 1st feeding at his best time of day. If you necessary wean him to barely sweetened milk and then slowly desweeten it once he is taking it well.
Three weeks is not a lot of time, but you can do it. 18 months of breast feeding is awesome! Ask yourself this, in five years will it matter if you weaned you son at 18 months, or if you waited till he weaned himself in the next few months.
M.R. answers from Boise on May 15, 2009
I would say he is plenty old enough to be gone from you for 8 days. The delimma I see is that if you give up cold turkey and stop when you leave you will be miserable on your trip. Your body can't just stop making milk so you will have to pump when you would normally feed him. Or, just eliminate one feeding every few days until he is done now. If you choose to pump on your trip you will probably start to make less milk because a pump is less efficiant than you baby and then when you get back he might be done or you can enjoy your nursing relationship a bit longer which would make the whole process so much easier. Go and have fun.
K.D. answers from Denver on May 15, 2009
Go without baby. I have a friend who had good success going cold turkey while she was on a trip. If you want, you can try before hand, but it's probably easier to do it when it's not available. He will drink for Grandma. For you, cabbage leaves ease the pain very nicely. Sounds weird, I know, but I'm doing it right now with baby number two who decided to go cold turkey once we started. GL! Enjoy your trip!
J.C. answers from Pocatello on May 15, 2009
After 18 months of breastfeeding, you deserve that trip! Go and have fun - without your little one! I would start weening now, 3 weeks should be plenty of time - and by the time your trip rolls around, he will be fine.
B.J. answers from Provo on May 15, 2009
Having just done a 12-day trip to Hawaii with my 10-month old, I think it was absolutely the right decision to take him...this time. BUT if we have the chance to go again for 8 days (which, btw, seems like a much better length for a trip, with or without baby) when he is 18 months old, I will absolutely leave him. It is important to take family vacations, and fun to play on the beach with kids, but it is also ESSENTIAL for husband and wife to have time like that alone, without the kids.
You could try pumping enough milk for him to have a bottle or two a day while you are gone, and continuing to pump twice a day on the trip, if you aren't quite ready to wean him completely.
T.C. answers from Provo on May 15, 2009
I actually like what Sally said. My husband and I took a trip to Hawaii last year, by ourselves. Our son was 3 though. I know have a nursing 12 month old, and I know it would be hard for me to leave him for a week. An 18 month old might be different though.
I would base your decision on what you want out of the trip. If it is for fun and relaxation I would totally take your baby with you. You don't have to pay for the flight at his age, and Hawaii is a beautiful place to take children.
But if you want the trip to be a relationship builder for just you and your husband, I would try to wean him and leave him with grandma if you feel he can handle it well. You may still need to pump though for your own comfort as the milk decreases, so you don't have problems.
Either way could work, just make your decision based on what you want for yourself, your husband, and your baby in this situation. Good luck!
V.E. answers from Denver on May 17, 2009
I would say take him with you or postpone the trip. Yes, it is very important to go away and have adult time and quality time with your husband. But he is still nursing 5 to 8 times a day! That is a lot to take away even gradually in the next 3 weeks! Even if you get him weaned, what will replace the nursing? Hawaii will always be there, and you can have an adults only trip another time.
You say that you "know its time to wean him" but there is no set guideline to wean. It recommended to BF for at least the first year. It is what you are comfortable with. It also seems like you are hesitate. If you have doubts about it, don't do it. You're his mommy, and you know he (and you) need the nursing time to unwind, and be together. In my opinion, if you really felt it was time to wean, it would have been done by now, or mostly done. Going cold turkey off one nursing a day is a big difference than 5 times a day.
Just a FYI, my son was 14 months when he weaned himself, and my daughter is now 14 months, she is showing no intention to wean, and is still nursing about 5 times a day! I have taken one overnight trip away from her, she went a total of 18 hours and she did fine.
In the end, it is truly your choice. Follow your heart and mommy instincts.
A.W. answers from Denver on May 18, 2009
Hi, Go, Go, Go! My husband and I went away when my little one was only 5 months old and I cried the entire first day, but by the 3rd day when we were coming home I wished I had more time to reconnect with my husband. Knowing that your little guy is happy with grandma will make it so much easier. It is also important for them to build/strength their relationship. It is hard to plan it and imagine being away, but well worth it.
I would say it is also a great time to wean. I would start now so that it is not so difficult on your body or your little guy. By the day you leave you could have it down to only morning and night. It will also make it easier on grandma. Good luck to you and have fun!
J.L. answers from Provo on May 16, 2009
If your are still nursing him that much, I wouldn't just throw it on him cold turkey. Work him down at least. It might be rough on Grandma and him if you don't. My kids were down to only 2-3 feedings at a year, and I gradually worked them off of those. It also will be hard on you. With my son, Getting rid of the last feeding was hard. I was really sore, and even though he was okay with it, I really just wanted to nurse him for relief. That was just letting go of the last feeding. Weaning is easier however, when someone else takes over. The nightime feeding, I just had my husband go in to calm him down, until he went to sleep. When they wanted it at the other times, I would just distract them with other food. I don't know, I hope that helps. Good-luck.
M.H. answers from Denver on May 15, 2009
This is a tough one. I nursed my DD until she was 28 months old, and only weaned b/c I was pregnant and it hurt so bad to nurse her. I would probably be tempted to take him with me, but that is me. And you better take a good pump, so that you are not super uncomfortable and/or end up with a breast infection. If you are going to wean, first cut out all night time feedings, for several days, then go down to three feedings for a week, then two for 4-5 days, and then one for 4-5 days, and then eliminate them all for a couple days before you leave. It would be really mean (for both him and grandma) to continue with 5-8 feedings a day and then leave. It will be hard, but at 18 months, you can talk to him a little. Explain that your breasts are going night-night, he is a big boy, and then just be consistent. Weaning my DD was the hardest thing I ever had to do.... at 2 she was still nursing 4-5 times at night, and 5-8 times during the day.... it was really tough, but good. We did night time first, and I would just go in and hold her while she cried and asked to nurse, and then day time. And then I started sleeping through the night again. Anyway, it will be hard if you decide to go that route, and you will need to be extra patient with him, and make sure he is getting enough fluids and extra calories as well.
L.T. answers from Salt Lake City on May 15, 2009
You can wean him off in the next 3 weeks, but you have to be really dedicated and determined. He's 18 months so he can take regular milk from a cup. When I weaned my kids, I would dilute some breast milk (BM) and or formula with regular milk and put it in a sippy cup. I would decrease the BM while increasing the reg milk each day. Also as most of us know, have your hubby and grandma do most of the feeding now if they can. Have your son spend several hours with grandma and even a few practice sleepovers. I have 5 kids and it was so hard to wean the last one. I breastfed her until she was 2 and a half. The best advice another mom gave me was to just "stop breastfeeding her" especially any feedings after 7pm (no middle of the night feedings at all).
When I stopped, at first she was upset and kept asking me to feed her but after 2-3 days she was fine and didn't want it anymore. I did feel guilty but that is normal.
Each baby is different so you have to really see what will work for you and him. If it gets down to a few days before your trip and you don't feel comfortable going for 8 days, you may need to change the dates. Even though there will be change fees etc, your peace of mind is what is most important. You might try 2-3 days away at first and then increase your time away.
A.S. answers from Denver on May 15, 2009
Even if he weans tomorrow, you'll still be dealing with leaky, achy breasts, hormones from stopping, and the melancholy that comes with ending a breastfeeding relationship. I'm a very independent person that doesn't like to be touched, so nursing was very tough to get used to and I counted down the days until she weaned, but it was still a little sad when she did. I would imagine at 18 mo's it would be even tougher to get used to being you again.
My humble opinion is you either bring baby or you postpone the trip. My guess is, if he's still feeding that often during the day you both still want to keep going. Why make a change like that so abruptly? Hawaii will always be there ready to separate you from your cash.
J.F. answers from Colorado Springs on May 15, 2009
Hi C., I feel for you! Tough to decide what to do, especially since it sometimes seems like the whole world thinks you need to wean at 12 months. I think, depending on what you want from this trip, you should consider taking him. Weaning doesn't have to be hard--I ended up nursing until my daughter was 2 yrs and 3 months--I NEVER intended to continue so long, but she still wanted to nurse before bedtime, so I continued until she was ready.She wouldn't settle in one night and said something about not having milk on that side--which was because she wasn't settling in--so I took that opportunity to wean. I told her we could read extra books instead of nursing, and she went for it. She asked to nurse the next night, and I reminded her about the extra books, and said that I didn't have milk anymore anyway, and she was fine with it. No trauma for either of us. I'd been ready to stop for awhile, but waiting until she was clearly ok with it made it so much easier for both of us and I have no regrets. Good luck with your decision!
J.N. answers from Salt Lake City on May 15, 2009
Go ahead and wean him now. It'll be a lot easier than going cold turkey when you go on your trip. You just have to patient and determined. Cut out any non-nap/bedtime nursings right away. Offer him milk in a cup or a snack instead. Sit and cuddle if he wants. Then, start cutting out naptime nursings, replacing them with other routines (hopefully there are some routines already in place). Cut out the bedtime one last, again replacing with other routines. You'll want to move quickly, so that he has at least a week to adjust to no nursing before you go.
Plan a couple of days when you get back to spend focusing on your son. He's probably going to be clingy for a bit - wanting to make sure you're not going anywhere. Plan some fun things to do with him and give yourself plenty of time to just be mommy for him.
Enjoy your trip!
H.F. answers from Pocatello on May 15, 2009
If the two of you are not ready for weaning then don't try to wean just for the trip, chances are that he will still want to nurse when you get back. He will most likely do fine without nursing when you are gone though, he will probably still want to nurse when he sees you again. You can express just enough milk to keep youself from getting uncomfortable and so you will not get plugged ducts. Have a great trip!
L.N. answers from Salt Lake City on May 15, 2009
Like others have mentioned, it sounds like you need to choose between starting to wean right now so it's not cold turkey or pumping while you're gone. Sometimes even after you wean you'll continue to make milk, so it could be possible that you don't pump at all while you're gone, and you could come back and continue nursing. But we can't make that decision for you. You say it's "time to wean," but I don't think arbitrary age limits make sense as long as you are fine with breastfeeding. The one other thought I had was to make your son's stay at grandma's special, if you leave him. Get him some special foods or a new toy.
J.M. answers from Denver on May 18, 2009
My 14 mo old is still breastfeeding 5-6 times a day, so i understand! If you don't want to give it up, but would like to have a vacation without children, my advice is to bring the pump and maybe just pump a few times a day to keep your supply up. That way you don't really have to make the decision! It would be a pain, but just another option i thought I'd throw out there! Good luck
S.S. answers from Provo on May 15, 2009
Do what YOU feel is right for you and your baby, even if it means postponing your trip. Good luck!
S.W. answers from Salt Lake City on May 15, 2009
Hi, C.-- I'm confused by the responses that suggest leaving Baby home so you can "go and have fun." As if taking him will eliminate the fun? Yes, it will be a slightly different trip, but I am not convinced that a nursing mama will be comfortable or happy being away from her baby for eight days. I like the suggestion of taking grandma (if it's not too much added expense), or of looking into your hotel arrangements to see if there are certified baby-sitters available there so you and your husband can have an evening out alone at a fancy restaurant or some other adult activity. Postponing your trip may help, but it may just delay your stress and pressure.
Side note: I grew up in Hawai'i and think it is a child's paradise. Sitting on the beach is relaxing, but so much more fun when there's someone to build sandcastles with and look at tidepools with. It's not as if you're going somewhere that would not be fun for him.
Time periods for weaning are arbitrary, and only you and your child can determine when it's the right time. Weaning is a process, not an event, and the more gradually you do it, the less likely it is to be traumatic or stressful for either of you. La Leche League recommends moms in medical emergency situations where the must stop breastfeeding not drop more than one nursing/pumping session every three days to allow your body to adjust milk production so you won't get plugged ducts or mastitis. Three weeks is *technically* enough time to wean if you *had* to (like, say, for chemotherapy), but you'd be going really fast and likely stressing everyone out. Trip to Hawai'i+plugged ducts=no fun for anyone, so use your best mom judgment on this one. Remember, you have to wean TO something, whether it's more healthy snacks or snuggles or reading stories or, as I accidentally did with my first son, pretzels and Winnie-the-Pooh videos. You can't cut something this important out of his life without adding something else wonderful. It can take awhile to determine what your replacement activities will be, and it would be very hard work for Grandma to be figuring that out in your absence.
I really recommend contacting your local La Leche League Leader about this. She will have some insight that will be both medically accurate related to breastfeeding and respectful emotionally to you and your baby. She may also be able to lend you the books "Motherng Your Nusing Toddler," and "How Weaning Happens." Both are excellent resources and have helped me a lot, with info I've not read anywhere else. You could find them cheap online, but since you're in a hurry, you might want to see if your local LLL group has them nearby.
Nursing is such a short season in your mothering career. Only you can know what's best for your and your baby, but if you continue to be a senstive, responsive, intuitive mama I know you will enjoy however much longer is left of your breastfeeding relationship and be able to look back with no regrets.
J.B. answers from Colorado Springs on May 15, 2009
I guess the first thought is, what is your cut off time for nursing? I mean, how long do you really expect to nurse your son? I nursed my son for 13 months and started weaning him so it wouldnt be as hard if I did it longer becasue they get too acttached. So if you met your goal of nursing for 18 months then start weaning now, it should only take about 2 weeks and then have one week of testing it out with him and not nursing while you are home. I believe that Hawaii is a place for a getaway, not kids. I have been there a few times and I know I would never bring my son, you deserve a vacation and a little personal time with her husband too, so dont feel bad about leaving your son with a grandma, he's in good hands. But yeah, just think about what your nursing goals and think about how long you really expect to nruse, this seems to be a perfect time to start weaning. You dont even need to give him bottles or formula, at that age. My son hasnt done bottles or anything since he was 15 months, he just goes to bed on his own and eats solids throughout the day at each meal with me.
I dont know, this may all sound a bit much, but I just think you shouldnt cancel your trip and you should feel comfortable leaving him with a grandma. Nursing him for 18 months is great, but you have to wean him some time and the longer you wait, the harder its going to be.
So good luck and i hope you enjoy your vacation- Hawaii isgreat!!
N.B. answers from Oklahoma City on May 19, 2009
GO ON THE TRIP! He's 18 months, if he likes bottles you could always do some pumping since it's probably just the sucking that he needs for comfort, because by now he's getting the majority of his calories from regular food. I would say start weaning, if you are thinking about it, it's probably time even if he doesn't think so. Your mom has been through the weaning stage and the crying before, she survived and will again, no worries, GO HAVE FUN WITH YOUR HUSBAND!!!
K.G. answers from Pocatello on May 14, 2009
It is hard to stop nursing! Who knew it would be so hard to stop, or missed so much when you do stop? It's totally up to you whether you stop now or not, but if you want to go on your vacation without your baby I'd start weaning now! try eliminating one feeding at a time. Start with one in the middle of the day and a few days later take out another one. Keep doing this with the nighttime feeding being the last one you take away. Maybe doing it gradually will make it easier on both of you. Another idea is take a pump with you and resume nursing when you get back... I'm just not sure how well he would do if you were suddenly gone and he couldn't nurse! Oh, and I left my boy with his grandma when he was 18 months and he did just fine! He will have fun, just enjoy yourself if you do decide to go without him. Good luck and have fun!