Monday, 12 May 2008

The hard work begins

Warning: Anyone not interested in the trials and tribulations of weaning a 2 year old should just move on to the next blog in their blog roll!

I have started weaning Jasper. I'm not in a great rush but he is 2 now and I would like him to be finished before he is 2 1/2. Its a funny thing breastfeeding. You work so bloody hard at the beginning to get them going, and then you just cruise for a while (well, a couple of years in my case) and then you've got to work just as hard even harder perhaps to get them off the boob at the end.

With Lily, I was a lot further along the way to weaning by the age of 2. I had nightweaned her easily at 22 months and just before her second birthday, I stopped feeding her on demand and put her on a schedule. So, by the time she was 2 she was only having 4 feeds a day and nothing at night. I slowly decreased her feeds until she dropped her last one when I went into hospital, 13 weeks pregnant with Jasper, when she was almost 2 years 5 months.

Jasper is a very different child. My attempt at nightweaning when he was 19 months old was a dismal failure. Instead of calmly accepting it and starting to sleep through the night like his sister, he screamed every hour or two, every single night for three months until I gave up and gave in. So at his second birthday he was still breastfeeding on and off all night and on demand during the day too. A friend here told me she was advised to get them on a schedule during the day, before attempting to nightwean so I've decided to give it a go - he is pretty much the opposite of Lily, so why not try the opposite of what I did with her?

So this week, I created a nice excel spreadsheet, with all the possible day feeds he was demanding - yep, all TEN of them! And I'm amazed to report that after a week of attempting to discourage frequent feeds but giving in if he was really upset, he is down to two or three feeds a day (plus however many he's having at night - I'm barely awake so I don't know!). The plan now is to convince him that he only needs 2 a day - to go down for his nap and to go to bed at night (plus the nighttime feeds - they don't count at the moment). He did this today - he just had a feed before his nap and before bed so I'll be trying to keep that up tomorrow.

I'm really pleased with how he has gone, given that my plan was to drop one of the 10 feeds a week so he's basically saved me 8 weeks of slow weaning. He obviously just needed a bit of a push. And if I haven't been motivated to do anything before hand, I have to perfect opportunity to try and nightwean again in July as the neighbours downstairs are going to be away for a couple of weeks. I hope all he needs for the nightweaning is a bit more of a push too. We'll see.


Rosebank Magic said...

I look forward to reading your next instalment in this long running saga. Did you do what Jo did and have a talk with him about what you are trying to do?

misschris said...

Weaning is so hard. I really feel for you. It took me two months to wean Little S and it was such a headache. Lots of tears on both our part.

Emily said...

Good luck, Penny! You'll get through it soon enough. :)

Penny said...

Hey, I think it was *me* who gave that advice to Jo! Yes, I've talked to him, he's pretty cool with it but he doesnt say much about it :)

Chris - its really hard isnt it..

Thanks Emily :)

French for a While said...

C'est pas grave. Our three year old just finished with it. And you know what, it's OK to a little longer than what is considered 'acceptable'. Each child is different -- that's what one must remember.

Penny said...

Really? That is so cool! You are so right that all kids are different - I fall into a trap of comparing these two and they are like chalk and cheese. While I'm not in a huge hurry with Jasper, I sense that he wont give it up without a bit of a shove along :)

The Telfers In France said...

I remember when I decided to wean my second child. It was just after we had weaned the calves on the farm - quite an occasion with lots of dust and lots of noise, with the cows and calves separated by an electric fence. Our 4 year-old knew that weaning was a traumatic process, so when I told her I was going to wean her little sister she was very upset.
I understood why when she asked "but will she still be allowed to live with us?"!