My Thoughts on Nursing and Weaning

This morning I poured out the last bit of thawed breastmilk from my freezer stash into a sippy cup and topped it off with some cow's milk, swirled it all together and stuck it in Camille's daycare bag.

For a moment I considered doing what many of us tend to do these days to memorialize a moment -- snap a photo of that last baggie and post it to Instagram with a sappy comment to accompany it. And then I thought better ... first of all, not everyone cares about seeing that. Secondly, a sentimental moment can certainly exist in my own memory without the need to be blasted out via social media. But it was a bittersweet moment! I am so used to opening the freezer drawer to see one entire side compartment filled with gallon-sized ziplock bags of frozen milk baggies, separated by month. That compartment now houses frozen fruits and vegetables. And that's okay!

Bahaha! Breastfeeding joke :)

I really wanted to nurse Camille for the first year of her life, and I did it. I personally consider that to be about 10% really hard work by me, and 90% my body cooperating. I say that because I have several girlfriends who seriously had the want but not the supply. Feeding your child in any manner takes dedication. If your child is formula-fed, you still always have to make sure that you have the proper formula supply on hand. So any method of feeding a baby takes responsibility, planning, and effort.

Here's what worked for us -- this time around. I started nursing Camille in the hospital (obviously). I admit that I had it really well ... never experienced any painful moments, severe challenges, or mastitis. When she was around a month old, we introduced the bottle so that Ian could participate in feedings. When she was three months old, I returned to work. I fully believe that being able to successfully breastfeed for a full year as a full-time working mother is directly tied to the fact that I was able to work from home. The days that I did go in the office were often days that I didn't produce as much or that I accidentally missed or delayed a pumping break. Had I been in the office five days a week, I can't say for sure I would have been able to go as long as I did. In my home office, my pump sat right under my desk every day. Convenient and a visual reminder.

All in all, everything went smoothly and, in the blink of an eye, it was time to think about weaning. We had our Mexico trip planned two weeks after Camille turned one year old, and I really did not want to carry a pump down there with me. Her birthday is mid-May, so right at the beginning of May I started to amend my pumping/feeding schedule. Here's what I did over the course of about three weeks:

Normal pumping/nursing schedule:
7am, 11am, 3pm, 6:30pm, 10pm

First several days of May:
7am, 11am, 3pm, 6:30pm (dropped the before-bed pump which was the one I dreaded each night)

Next several days:
7am, 12:30pm, 6:30pm (merged the two mid-day sessions)

Next several days:
7am, 6:30pm (morning and night only - both nursing sessions at this point, bye-bye pump)

At that point, I had to choose whether to drop my morning or evening feed. I decided to drop the morning feed and give her a sippy cup with thawed milk from my freezer stash. The evening feeding was the more "special one" so I kept that one for a few days, and then that is the last one I dropped.

The last night I nursed Camille was a few days after her first birthday, and it was the day she walked for the first time. I took those first steps as a sign that it was time.

(Note: during the times that I dropped pumping sessions, I was obviously producing less and less. This is when the freezer supply that I'd built up with "extra" milk came in handy ... I used it to ensure that she was getting the same amount of ounces in breastmilk each day.)

For about a full week after that last nursing night, I definitely felt some discomfort. I steered clear from pumping but did express a little milk each day to help. The discomfort felt sort of like a dull stinging. I did have a fear that I would develop mastitis, but one thing that I think worked in my favor is that I ended up with a sinus infection at the same time I was weaning, so I was prescribed an antibiotic and a decongestant. Decongestants can reduce your supply, but this was now seen as a positive to me, and I hoped that the antibiotic would ward off any infection.

So, cheers to making it a year but also to being done! I'm happy to connect with Camille in other ways and super happy to wear certain clothes that aren't nursing-friendly. The only part that really makes me sad? I have to start exercising again ... WAHHH!

If you are curious, here is a "cast of characters" of my favorites related to pumping and feeding.

Medela Pump In Style pump (obtained at no cost thru my insurance coverage)
Medela Harmony manual pump (LOVED having the flexibility of being able to pump on-the-go, no electrical outlet necessary -- more "work" but quicker and a must, I think, for a nursing mom!)
Hands-free pumping bra (to me, this brand is better than the Medela one -- its very soft, too)
Medela bottles (started off with 5oz bottles, then moved to 8oz bottles)
Bottle brushes (again, my very favorites after trying out several)

Freezer Storage:
Honeysuckle storage bags (after reading a TON of online reviews, I decided to go with this brand and have absolutely loved them!)

Lanisoh nursing pads (used these in the early days)
Reusable nursing pads (LOVED these -- used them exclusively starting around 3/4 months in. Note: hang to dry ... do not put in dryer)

NEW SALE- You Pick- Mix & Match Organic Bamboo Washable Waterproof Nursing Pads- Set of 2 Pair

Comfort While Weaning:
Cabbage leaves! Stick some in a sports bra and replace once wilted. Seriously!
Ameda Comfort Gel pads - chilled from the fridge
Or -- a cheaper option -- a gel bead filled eye mask (like this one)

Ameda ComfortGel Hydrogel Pads

There you have it ... and if we are lucky to give Camille a sibling at some point, I hope to have another great experience with nursing!


  1. Storing this - I should just start a folder "Aprils advice"! Thank you x 1,000

  2. April! I just stopped nursing James two days ago!!!! With him probably being our last baby, it was a bit harder, emotionally, for me than it was with the girls...but he is loving his bottle of whole milk and we are still getting in plenty of snuggles during feeding time :) hope you are having a great week!!

  3. Weaning is always my least favorite part of nursing. I love sweet snuggling babies and at a year they just don't seem to want to slow down! I'm trying to concentrate on the positives you've mentioned - freedom away from the babe and any clothing options! Can't wait to wear summer dresses again!

  4. Thank you for sharing! I am so happy that you were able to have a successful nursing experience. :) I wasn't able to nurse my daughter for long, and your graceful wording and the way you offer support for ALL moms is noticed and appreciated. I'm definitely going to save this post for when I give nursing our second a try!

  5. Congrats, April! That's amazing! Good work, Mama! I've been pumping 6 times (or more) a day, 4 of those in my classroom (with no kids, duh!) to make it so my little guy makes it to at least a year. And he nurses too. Phew! It's hard, hard work, but every single second of it has been worth it for us.

  6. Congrats mama! That is amazing!! I wanted to thank you for what you said at the beginning. The fact that every journey is different and that feeding your child in any way takes dedication. I tried, really hard, to nurse my son, but I just didn't produce enough. I tried to take supplements to increase my supply, tried pumping, tried everything and he just wasn't getting enough. Ultimately his health and him getting enough nutrition was all that mattered and I don't feel like less of a mother because of the fact that I formula fed my son. Like you and Camille now, we bonded in a different way and that's ok! I loved your post and congrats on being finished!

  7. LOVED reading this! My goal is to nurse Nancy for a year too. So, so, so appreciate your wisdom and you sharing this!!! :)

  8. Such a great post! I would love to nurse for a full year but I also know that may not be realistic. Especially working as a nurse!
    Ally - Life as I know it

  9. great post! i really want to nurse violet for a year too.. and im so thankful to be working from home so i hope that works out for me too. i love my reusable nursing pads! xo jillian - cornflake dreams

  10. Thanks so much for sharing about your experience. I'm expecting in October and I'm really hoping to be able to nurse. I will definitely be referencing this post! Congratulations for nursing for one year!

  11. Such wise words and a good perspective. I was pregnant with #2 when I nursed our little for the last time and to be honest I did not even know it would be the last time :(. We had already dropped the pumping and we were down to just once in the morning and just like that she never nursed again. I now wonder if I will have similar experiences nursing my son who will be born in about a month!

  12. Perfect! I will definitely be referring back to this here soon! (Tear...sort of...) I'm hoping to make it to a year as well. 8 months in...and I do have an office job, so its tough, but so far we're making it! Just out of curiosity, how many ounces of breast milk was Camille eating towards the end? I'm worried my stash may be getting a little low. I was hoping with him eating more solids, the required oz might go down for when he goes to school, but not so far - he's a tiny little human garbage disposal!!


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