Chloe, 20 months old, nursing to sleep.
When I was pregnant with Chloe it was my goal to breastfeed her until she was at least one year old, and then she was born and everything changed. As I held her tiny, warm body in my arms and nursed her for the first time I fell completely in love with her, my beautiful daughter. As each month passed and my daughter grew older, breastfeeding her become such a natural part of our lives. It was during those first few months as a new Mother when I came to the decision that I was going to nurse Chloe for as long as she liked, whether that be before she turned one or after, it was simply going to be up to her.
Now here we are, Chloe is 20 months old and still breastfeeding every single day. In my experience breastfeeding a toddler is much different then breastfeeding an infant, its harder, at least to me it is. Chloe is heavier, taller, stronger, and constantly moving, and naturally with age she has become more stubborn and strong willed, and is able to voice her opinion much easier then before. When Chloe was an infant I could easily roll over and nurse her in the middle of the night without even really waking up, but now those nightly feedings have become uncomfortable, painful, and disruptive to my sleep. Besides waking up multiple times a night to nurse Chloe, I feel like I am constantly nursing her throughout the day as well. These past few months I have often found myself feeling completely overwhelmed by Chloe's constant need to nurse. I miss having my body to myself.
I feel torn, Chloe loves nursing, and since the day she was born it's been a huge part of her life. On the other hand, I know if we continue on this path with no resolution or change Chloe and I's relationship is going to suffer. I never knew how difficult the decision to wean my daughter would be for me, but it is an incredibly hard and emotional one. I'm ready though, and I know that with time and love and patience Chloe will be ready to move on as well.
I've done a little bit of research on gentle weaning and know that this process can take many months, for which that I am grateful for. Our plan at this moment is to start cutting out all of the unnecessary feedings and eventually, I would love to be nursing Chloe only three times a day and none throughout the night. There is so much I am unsure of though, like how to night wean Chloe, what to do in those situations when she's crying and screaming for milk and nothing else will calm her down, and how to get her to enjoy eating solid food more. It's all a little overwhelming to be honest but I know that with love, time, and patience everything will work itself out in the end.
If you have gone through the process of weaning your child, or are currently going through the process, your stories, tips, and advice would be so gratefully appreciated!