Baby J is finally sleeping through the night consistently! This has happened in correlation with weaning. Up until a couple months ago, I went back and forth on whether or not I was going to start weaning him from nursing at a year or keep going until he was 18 months or two. At one point, it looked like I would be released from my Army Reserve obligation before my contract was up, since we’ll be moving to Spain. Then we found out we won’t be moving for a few extra months- after my contract has been fulfilled. This means I still have to attend Army Reserve drills, including two weeks of annual training away from my family.
I know from experience that I can’t pump enough breastmilk to freeze for two weeks. There’s no guarantee Baby J would even accept it, because of my excess lipase levels, even if I scald the milk before freezing. I’ve tried this before, and he rejected it. If you’re unfamiliar with lipase, it’s an enzyme that breaks down the fat in breastmilk. If, like me, you have too much of it, the fat breaks down more quickly. The fat is what makes breastmilk taste yummy to babies, so the lipase will quickly make breastmilk taste soapy. The older the milk is, the soapier it will taste. Scalding milk immediately after expression and before storing will help inactivate the lipase. There’s a negative. Scalding breastmilk will destroy some of the nutrients, so it should not be a baby’s primary source of nutrition.
Starting at around 8 or 9 months of age, I tried getting Baby J used to goat’s milk. It’s easier to digest than cow’s milk, and some studies have indicated goat’s milk is more nutritious, as well. I tried up until he was a year, but he just was not a fan. He’d eat goat’s milk yogurt sweetened with fruit or organic coconut palm sugar, but that was about it. Once he turned a year, I started giving him cow’s milk. He drank a little bit here and there, but wasn’t too interested.
At his one year well-baby appointment (he was 12 months and 9 days), the doctor told me Baby J had dropped to the 20th percentile in weight (he was 70th at one point, then 50th). She expressed surprise that he’d barely started drinking cow’s milk, which surprised me in turn. It never ceases to amaze me that the American Academy of Pediatrics will recommend one thing, and my son’s doctor of the moment will recommend another. If you’re thinking right now that I should get a new pediatrician, it’s not that easy. My son’s assigned to a team of doctors at a military family clinic. He’s seen a different doctor every appointment since he was born. I should note that part of the reason for his weight loss, may be that he’s an early walker. He’s more active than the average 1-year old, so that will make a difference in weight.
Anyway, I told the doctor that Baby J had barely started drinking cow’s milk, and she recommended that he drink 24 oz. of whole milk a day in addition to nursing. Keep in mind, I was still nursing him, 6+ times a day. The very next day, I started weaning him. It actually hasn’t been too bad. We got out of the house everyday, so keeping busy would distract him from nursing. I offered him whole cow’s milk, and he started to average about 8 oz. a day. It’s still not 24 oz. of course, but I’ve also been giving him cottage cheese, pepper jack cheese (boy loves spicy), and yogurt.
I’ve also been feeding him more solids, all around. Again, the doctor was surprised that I was nursing more than solid feeding, but all the literature I’ve read from reputable sources like the AAP have said that breastmilk should be the main source of nutrition until a year, with everything else just supplemental. So as far as breastfeeding since starting the weaning process, Baby J has been nursing when he gets up in the morning, once mid day, and right before bed. I was only engorged the first day, so my supply adjusted quickly. I’m not too concerned about only nursing three times a day. I have time to wean him all the way, so there’s no need to hurry, right? You know, when I was breastfeeding every two hours around the clock for months on end, sometimes I hated nursing. But now that I’m doing it less, it has become more of a bonding moment when I get to snuggle my baby close. Weaning has made nursing not just bearable but enjoyable.
How old was your little one when you weaned? Was it a long process or did your baby wean his/herself?
- American Academy of Pediatrics peer-reviewed journal: http://pediatrics.aappublications.org/content/106/Supplement_4/1302.full
- Kelly Mom: http://kellymom.com/bf/pumpingmoms/milkstorage/lipase-expressedmilk/
- Science Daily: http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/07/070730100229.htm