The Fashion Magpie Mini Magpie

The Wean.

Any mamas out there weaning their babies?

(If you aren’t, you  might want to, like, check out this post, or do a little shopping, because I’m about to get way in the weeds on a very specific, likely soporific topic.)

A friend of mine texted me after reading this post and asked, politely: “Why the six-month wean?”  I guess she’d gathered that I was feeling a little emotional on the topic.  (LOLOL, #understatement).  I realized I didn’t have much of an answer, except for:

+My mother and sister both weaned their babies at six months, and they’ve been the gold standard for me in so many topics pertaining to minimagpie.

+Because I had trouble nursing minimagpie at first (undersupply), I set a goal of getting to three months, and a stretch goal of getting to six months, and I just assumed I’d never make it past–and the expectation sorta settled in for the long haul, like the unwelcomed wrinkle in the middle of my forehead reminding me that I am in my 30s.

+Because I’ve always had to supplement mini with formula (we use this, which I love for many aforementioned reasons — but one thing I dislike about it is that you need to have it shipped to you and forgo the flexibility of swinging by Target to scoop some up when you’re a little short; you need to stay on top of your supply or you’ll be biting nails hoping you make it until the shipment arrives…ahem ahem, this has happened to me…twice…eeep #momfail), feeding minimagpie takes a lot of time out of our day.  I’ll nurse her for 10-15 minutes and then bottle feed her and sometimes she can be a little slow on finishing.  It can take 45 minutes per meal!  So, six months of dedicating multiple hours each day to feeding her feels like a victory.

Are these legitimate enough reasons to wean?, I wondered, suddenly shocked at the lack of thought I’d given to the topic.  I sat in the basement of our home, distracted from whatever it was we were watching for a good thirty minutes, suddenly enumerating other, unsurfaced reasons pushing me to wean:

  1.  My supply has been decreasing.  At some feeds, she’ll finish within a few minutes!
  2. Minimagpie’s two bottom teeth appeared seemingly overnight when she turned five months, and she has been chomping down HARD when she’s frustrated or finished with feeding.  It’s…not so fun.
  3. I want my body back.  I don’t know if any other mamas have felt this admittedly selfish desire?  Some days, though, I feel plain gross being half-naked and exposed every few hours, wearing nipple pads, leaking, etc. — and I’m often sore, or over-full, or just tired of wearing the same 5-10 nursing appropriate outfits I own.  I’m also ravenously hungry all the time — hungrier now than I was when pregnant! — and sometimes I dream of re-inhabiting my pre-baby body, so pristinely kept and carefully guarded.  (I laugh, now, at my delicate sensibilities pre-baby, before I found myself strapped to an industrial grade pump every other hour in front of friends and family, or occasionally, sighingly excusing myself when I’ve noticed I’ve leaked all over my dress…ah, the indignities!)  And drinking a few glasses of wine without worrying about when I need to feed minimagpie next sounds delightful.  Or just being able to run errands for a few hours without texting Mr. Magpie or mini’s nanny to figure out when I need to be home by.  Of course, these are modest concerns in the grand scheme of things, but I’ll admit them nonetheless.

At the same time, my friend’s question had created a little enclave for me to stop and think: “But maybe I don’t need to wean now.  Maybe I should keep going?”  I felt myself breathe a sigh of relief, as I certainly felt an emotional pull to continue to breastfeed: I have loved the intimacy of feeding her, and I didn’t feel quite ready to let go.  And, though I’ve heard moms spout out facts about the health benefits of breastfeeding or, alternately, weaning at various points, it didn’t seem to me that there was much consistency to them–so I suddenly realized I would need to just rely on my maternal intuition, which was telling me to cut back on the number of times I breastfeed her each day, but continue to nurse her for a little longer.

So, I’ve come to this happy middle ground right now where I breastfeed her at 7 am, 1 pm, 7 pm, and 1 am each day.  Most of these feedings still need to be supplemented with a bottle, and I’m already feeling my supply diminish further, but it’s a schedule that–for the time being–gives me a lot of freedom to run errands, to have that extra glass of wine, to pass her off to her nanny when I need to crank on some work for a few hours straight, to slowly return to a place where I feel like my body is more my own, while giving me space to wean her at a pace that feels more natural to me.

Why am I writing this extensive monologue?

Well, a few months ago, I wrote a bit about some of the inner monologues we women engage in, unbeknownst to the dozens of strong women with which we surround ourselves.  We isolate ourselves from others, assuming that no one else will relate or care, or worrying that we’ll expose our most vulnerable selves.  I often find myself in a headspace that is uncharitable to my genuine experience of motherhood: “Well, that woman clearly made it through a c-section without whining about recovery; so should I” or “Hey, I don’t hear many other moms talking about how emotional they were about moving their babies from a bassinet to a crib, maybe I should just shut up?”  By writing this out in such excruciating and potentially inane detail, I hope that there is some other mama going through a similar roller coaster ride who finds assurance that she is not alone and that her emotions are valid.  (Then again, maybe most other mamas have this weaning thing figured out in a way I don’t.  See?  There I go again.)

Further, I have learned a *lot* from my Magpie Tribe, and maybe some of you have wisdom to pass along to me, or words of encouragement.  (But, please, no shaming-disguised-as-advice.  You know what I’m talking about.  All moms do.)  Or maybe there are other moms out there that just need me to throw out some of my thoughts on the topic so they can react to them and come to their own conclusions, whether we land in the same place or not.  Because I was really struck by the fact that, had my girlfriend not asked “why the six month wean?”, I might be pushing myself to wean earlier than I feel comfortable, and for no legitimate reason.

Women helping women.

Please share your thoughts below.

And also, my most recent minimagpie discoveries:

+We aren’t supposed to use bumpers in mini’s crib until she’s at least a year old, so that’s the plan — but I’m already eyeing these for when she hits an appropriate age.  How adorable is this radish print set, on RIDIC sale?!?!?! (Does anyone else’s baby get her arms and legs stuck through the slats?!  I’ve heard that these breathable mesh crib liners are OK to use in lieu of a bumper even when babies are little.  Thoughts?)

+For older babies: I recently read an ecstatic review of these habit tracking watches for kids.

+Precious North Face windbreaker on sale for a good deal.

+I know Native Shoes are uber popular for toddlers/little kids because they breathe easily and slip on, but are a lot cuter than crocs.  These canvas sneakers have a similar silhouette and come in great colors.

+Do you know how much I would have loved this as a child?!  My own little compartment under the seat to store Barbie and snacks?!?!?  So cute.

+What sippy cups do you use?  We’ve started giving minimagpie a little water in this transition cup.  I’ve heard good things about this, as they learn to drink from a straw, and this, because they can’t spill, and these, because they’re uber-cheap and get the job done.

+Just discovered these, by the company that produces minimagpie’s laundry detergent.  #SOLD.  I’m constantly wiping down her activity center, her seat, and the toys she hurls to the ground…

+This is one of my favorite pieces in minimagpie’s fall wardrobe — and it’s now 30% off!

+Too cute.

+Pricey, but precious.

ICYMI: my favorite monogrammed goodies in mini’s room.

18 Comments

  1. You’re welcome! Congrats on your move to New York! Make sure to join the “UES Mommas” Facebook group (even if you don’t plan to live on the UES!!). It’s a private group, but it has loads of members and so it’s super active. You have to wade through some weird posts sometimes like anywhere, but it’s a fantastic resource for recommendations and tips. I don’t even live in NYC anymore but I still find it useful!

  2. Regarding your sippy cup question, we just transitioned and I worked hard to find a solution I like: no (or little) plastic, with the ability to take EVERYTHING apart for cleaning (fear of mold and yuck). Small Lifefactory bottles + Dr. Browns standard silicone sippy tops are working beautifully for us, and wash so nicely in the dishwasher. Good luck!

  3. Just wanted to say that I appreciate these posts even as someone without an infant — I’m bookmarking them all so I can come back to them when the time is right. Thanks for all of your insight into what motherhood is like!

    xx MK

    P.S. I’m going to direct my best friend to your blog … she is weaning her three-month-old due to a host of breastfeeding issues and I know she’ll appreciate the insight!

    1. Hi MK! Tell your girlfriend to go easy on herself…in case I didn’t make it explicit in my post, my major takeaway thus far is “you do you! You know yourself and your baby best, so you will make the best decision.” And, thanks for reading these posts even though the challenges they address are down the pike for you. Maybe you’ll be more prepared than I have been?? Haha.

  4. I was also going to say that faster feedings don’t mean a supply drop, just more efficient nursing! But that doesn’t mean you can’t or shouldn’t wean if you’re ready.

    I have a 2 year old. 27.5 months to be exact… Closer to 2.5 than 2 (wahhhh) and I nurse him on demand when we’re together. (I stopped pumping when he was a year, although if I go away for overnight I still pump to avoid clogs or mastitis.) I don’t know if he’ll be done before I try to get pregnant again and it’s hard, so hard, to think of not having my body to myself for at least a little while. Some days I’m totally over it, other days I’m delighted by his love affair with nursing (never has another human shrieked with delight when I expose my breasts! Ha!)

    You’re doing great, and so is mini. Keep doing you… And keep sharing these monologues ❤️

    1. This is what I needed to hear this morning, Melissa. Thank you for your grace and kindness. And, I totally hear you on wanting your body back, even if only temporarily, before #2. I wish all mamas were like the mamas leaving comments on this post 🙂 xoxo

  5. I love reading your posts about minimagpie. My twins were born on the same day so your product reviews have been extremely helpful as a new mama – thank you so much! Due to delivery complications, I’ve always had low supply and supplemented with formula. I had similar goals…BF/pump for 2 weeks..1 month..3 months..etc! Truly amazed that I’ve made it this far and so grateful. At the same time, it’s a daily question of whether I should stop given the pros/cons. I don’t have answers but felt compelled to comment that I’m right with you!

    1. AH! My soul sister! Right there with me — babies born on the same day and thinking through the same issues. Thanks so much for writing and making me feel like less of a loner over here. We can do it!

  6. I’m only 2 weeks into this mom thing but I’m also struggling with my supply and supplementing with formula and it’s really great to know I’m not alone! It’s so easy to assume breastfeeding happens easily and everyone else can do it no problem. It definitely keeps me going to know I’m not the only one:)

    1. Hi Shannon! FIRST, congratulations!!! I’m so excited for you — I loved reading your comments during your pregnancy and have been wondering when I’d hear the good news. SECOND, totally relate to what you’re going through and you are NOT alone. You should read through some of the comments on my “milkmaid” post, too — lots of other smart and brave moms who went through exactly what we have and had lots of words of encouragement and practical advice (one mom wrote to remind me to drink a lot of water — I do think this helped a bit with supply, along with oatmeal). It doesn’t make it any less emotional, and when it’s you and YOUR baby going through it, you’re like, “NO BUT WHY CAN’T WE JUST HAVE A NORMAL BREASTFEEDING EXPERIENCE” — BUT, it’s also a relief to know there’s this wide tribe of women who have your back and are marching alongside you. You got this!

  7. I’m new to your blog but absolutely loving it! My son is nearly 14 months, and I vividly remember this time (it seems so far away now, even though it wasn’t!). Honestly, for me it was the teeth and the biting that did me in at around 7 months. It was just time. I was already down to only two nursing sessions a day, with formula in between, and there was literally zero drama with just stopping cold one day after he bit me for the fourth time. And it was quite freeing to be able to have someone else feed him…I always had that guilt that if I was around, we should of course be nursing. You can still have that special cozy time even with bottle feeding, I assure you! I had a very easy time nursing, and while I think back on those days fondly, I definitely do not long to breastfeed.

    A tip on the formula – I was also a Hipp devotee! I used the UK version from this seller: http://www.anewyorkbaby.com/apps/webstore/ I had issues with shipping on Formuland, but this seller is located in Dobbs Ferry, NY and she ships LIGHTNING fast (for free!). She’s always available on email and Facebook too if you have any questions on the formula types. etc. I have literally no association with her other than being a happy customer. I am now thrilled that my son drinks organic whole milk that is readily available at Whole Foods. 🙂

    For the cups, we never went for a proper sippy and went straight to straws. Better for oral development, apparently. It took him awhile to get the hang of it, but one day it clicked (maybe around 8 months?). We love Zoli Bot and Think Baby straw cups. Admittedly, at nearly 14 months he still likes drinking his warm milk out of his Comotomo bottle pre-bedtime. I figure he won’t go to college with it, so I’m not too fussed about it.

    This was far too long – but love your blog and I’m thrilled to have found it! 🙂

    1. Thank you so much for this delicious morsel of goodness today! First, I kind of love that you were like, “and…we’re done here.” No fanfare, just a practical reaction to your little barracuda treating you like his chewtoy. Smart and pragmatic and I like it. Second, GREAT rec on the new source for Hipp! I just wrote this today, but I’m moving to NYC in the next few weeks, and I’ll definitely be using this company!!! Thank you x 1000. I agree on Formuland — sometimes I get my shipment in two days, other times it’s closer to five, despite always checking 2-3 day shipping. (Hm.) FINALLY, you’re the THIRD person who has advocated the straw for oral development, and I love these recs. Thank you x 1000!

  8. I think your 1 & 7 schedule is a great balance if you’re looking towards weaning. I had a monstrous time nursing my 2nd – 2 months straight of mastitis, bleeding during feedings (horribly cracked nipples from a bad latch), and a tongue tie – and desperately wanted to throw in the towel. I never thought I’d make 3 months, but then I did. I totally feel you on wanting your body back and fretting over supply issues. Been there, done that. But something always kept me going. We ended up making it to almost 18 months and at that point I felt his age dictated weaning more than anything else – extended breastfeeding was never something that interested me.

    With my 1st, I had to exclusively pump for close to a year due to reflux issues and I was beyond ready to ditch the pump.

    Looking back, some of my most cherished moments were spent nursing and rocking my babes to sleep. It was worth every agonizing moment and there are times I wish I had done it for longer, but then again, I remember how liberating it felt not to be tethered to someone or something. What will you regret more – sticking with it when you were ready to move on, or weaning before you were completely ready to let go?

    (Regarding your supply dropping, she might be at the point now where you’ve both hit your stride and feedings are just really efficient, hence the shorter feeds. I compulsively timed my feedings and worried about this constantly, but then when I pumped I’d see how much I got and relax. The whole supply and demand of nursing is mysterious, but legit.)

    Whatever, whenever, you decide, know that you’re doing the best thing for yourself and therefore, mini.

    1. Thanks, Jen, for the encouragement + empowerment! YIKES, it sounds like you were put through the ringer when it comes to breastfeeding both babies and WOW/HOTDAMN/ZOMG you are amazing for making it to a year and 18 months respectively, in spite of those challenges! So impressed with you. Good point about the supply thing — maybe she is just much more efficient! Hadn’t considered that…xoxo

  9. I’m in a similar quandary – not sure when I want to start weaning? There is something so wonderfully intimate about breastfeeding (and convenient – if the baby’s hungry, well, I’m there!). But at the same time, I would like to choose outfits without needing to consider how nursing-friendly they are. I guess, in short, I just don’t know.

    Re: bumpers – we got a beautiful one from Restoration Hardware on ridic sale and can’t wait to use it! We did end up getting a mesh crib liner a couple on months ago, though, when the baby started scooting all around her crib while she slept (or was supposed to be sleeping). We figured it was okay because we wove it taut between the slats?? At least now she doesn’t wake up because she’s stuck…

    1. Hi Jennifer! You’r exactly right — that’s the toughest bit about it. There aren’t instructions and I feel like I got SO much conflicting information from various sources when it comes to weaning. So, we have to trust ourselves and just make the move when it feels right, which, maybe, it never quite will? But, I am SO with you on being excited to dress myself without having to think about nursing access. I’m either horribly bored of all my clothes OR exhausted from having to change into multiple outfits a day. Keep me posted no how things are going!!

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