Weaning June

Not long ago, June said goodbye to nursing.

This was the 6th baby I’ve weaned, so it wasn’t too shocking to me. My body stops producing a lot of milk around the baby’s first birthday and my babies have each let me know — in subtle and not-so-subtle ways — that nursing was no longer as compelling as other food sources. : )

I’m not a very sentimental person. My sister said she think my brain works like a man’s, more practical and problem-solving. And I think she’s right. But I felt very emotional when I realized June was giving up on nursing. (I’m starting to cry right this minute as I think about it.)

I kept trying to really pay attention during those last few nursing sessions — not knowing which would be the final one. I watched her little curling fingers and felt her little tummy against mine. I kept thinking I should ask Ben Blair to take a picture so I would have a record of it — but then I couldn’t bring myself to interrupt the sweet moment. (Dang! I wish I had a photo.)

It’s hard to imagine I won’t nurse a baby again. So strange. And the funny thing is, nursing isn’t even something I adore. I’ve nursed all my babies, but if I hadn’t been able to, I don’t think I would have minded much at all. I guess that’s why I’ve been thrown off by this emotional reaction to weaning June.

Maybe it’s something about feeling like it’s the end of an era for me.

What do you think? What is weaning like for you?

P.S. — I snapped these photos of June on her first birthday, right after we cleaned all the lemon tart from her hair.

158 thoughts on “Weaning June”

  1. I’m not an overly sentimental person either, and I was quite shocked at the depth of the emotions I felt about nursing. It was by far the sweetest thing I’ve ever done and I relished every. single. minute of it.

    When I weaned my last at 20 months, it was all I could do for the next week or two to keep from scooping him up and starting again. :) I’d give anything to be able to nurse a baby again, but I am still outrageously grateful to have done it at all.

  2. I have four children and was surprised about how I felt when our fourth (and we knew final) baby weaned. She is almost 7 now and it’s been that way with every “milestone” she reaches; last one in pre-school, last one to lose a “first” tooth, last one to start kindergarden. I am so happy, though, to not be moving “backwards” which you know happens everytime you bring a new baby into a family. We are moving “forward” and I’m happily anticipating all of the great things we’ll do as a family, and that each of my children will do as individuals.

  3. Such a precious post!!

    While it is taxing at times, I LOVE nursing my babies, and I dread the day when it is no longer part of our lives. So I feel your sadness.

    I have been nursing for close to five years with no interruptions. My first, Silas, was 18 months when I learned I was pregnant with Enid. I nursed all through my pregnancy and then nursed the both of them for a year. Enid is now two and a half and is still going strong. I know the end is coming sooner than later, but it will certainly be a day of sadness for me. There is something so comforting and yet also so empowering about the whole nursing experience.

  4. Those photos of Baby June and Ben Blair are precious! The title of this post and the photos made me feel weepy.
    My baby will be 1 soon. I don’t like nursing. But I am already anticipating the end of nursing to be bittersweet for me.
    Thank you for sharing your feelings, and those lovely photos, with us.

  5. I remember that exact moment with my littlest. I cried too… even though I said that I hated it the first four months. It’s a very tender and sweet moment and I think a rite of passage that they go through… even when they choose it for themselves.

  6. Such sweet, sweet memories.I believe there are few, if any, experiences and/ or recollections, that can compete with the joy and peace of nursing a baby. Pure connection with the babe and the heavens! My memories now include peace and quiet! Rare and lovely, indeed!

  7. I don’t remember my older two weaning, but I remember when my third child did (at 3 1/2). Even though by that point nursing was driving me up a wall, I still felt sad that it was ending. This time around, I’m taking lots of nursing pics along the way and even making little videos so that I can pull up the memories whenever I’d like.

  8. Off the subject- but I love, love when you post pictures of June and your husband. More than any of your other children, she is a little mini-Ben and I find it just adorable.

  9. 1) whoa, it’s a mini-Oscar Blair!
    2) So does this mean there will really be no “Gabby and Ben plus 10”? ;-)

    I need to come to France. I really adore your family. xo

  10. My baby (hopefully the first of many) is only 5 months old; this still made me tear up. When I first got pregnant, my sister told me that one of the parts of babyhood she loved the most was nursing. I was baffled. All I had heard and read was about getting a proper latch, the pain, soreness, cracking, bleeding, etc. Then of course, my sweet baby was born and even though it was rough at first and can still feel like a chore at times, I know it’s a closeness I will miss one day. So I try to just soak it in for now and enjoy the special little moments we have together.

  11. After almost 3 years, I still miss nursing my youngest son. I contemplate having another child so I could nurse again. I was only successful nursing my 3rd child and am amazed by the benefits, especially with the bonding. I wish I could have tried harder with my older 2.

  12. Sara Weinberg

    Dear Gabrielle,

    First of all, I love your blog. I have been following it for a couple of years now and it resonates on so many levels for me.

    I cried each time I weaned my three children (and tears are welling up right now as I think about it). The last was particularly hard, especially since she was over two and because I knew she was my last baby. Although you can never recreate that particular closeness with your child, as you know there are always many other ways to be close with him or her.

    Treasure your little baby June!


  13. My baby is named June too, she turned 1 in April, and we’re (I think/hope) near the end of our nursing run. I think I might be more ready than her-we’ll see-neither of us can commit one way or the other. She is my last baby too-a few months ago I realized no one would on accident try to eat from my nose or tummy pooch again-it made me feel a little bit tender about it all coming to an end.

  14. wow I could barely read this… I think I have the same brain- very practical and am surprised when I get emotional about some things and yet I’m sure when the time comes that our daughter weans it will be bitter sweet and will take me of guard.

    She is 7 months this week and never took any interest in a bottle- she was all about Mom! And as a result she doesn’t use pacifiers, which is fine except at times when she is teething and just wants to use me as a pacifier. I had a rough 48 hours of that this week… and reading your post about weaning and all of the subsequent comments renewed my perspective and love about breast feeding… I do love the bonding and never really understood what that was until being in the middle of it.

    I have a few pictures of her at the beginning just getting the hang of it and although they are not flattering of my still puffy pregnant face I am so glad my Husband snuck in and took them. And now I will continue to have him document our feedings. Breast feeding is so intimate in so many ways, and like you said about their fingers, their little movements… it’s those times that you see how they are growing and developing. Our daughter used to rub her feet together but is growing out of that now, and I miss it.

    So perhaps we can all find comfort in finding other ways we can bond with them and seek out other opportunities where we can watch these little developmental milestones. And be grateful for the nourishment and bonding that has laid such a strong foundation of our relationship with our children.

  15. My son named by boobs around his first birthday and I figured it would be a while before he was ready to let go of them. He finally gave it up around 20 months and the awkwardness of holding a toddler in my arms to nurse and the relentless shifting of positions made me ready to give up the ritual. I missed it at times, but shortly after, he started to cuddle more and more when we laid in bed. So, as I lay in bed with his little hand under my shirt I appreciate his touch and no longer miss the nursing.

  16. Thank you for posting this. I work helping moms breastfeed and it is great to see an honest discussion of breastfeeding. It is normal. Not everyone feels the same about it, but our babies need it. The more we talk about it, the more normal it becomes. And the bond is amazing. Breastfeeding is about more than perfect food. It is a relationship between you and your baby. There is no arbitrary month to stop at. La Leche League says, ~So long as is mutually desired. I would be curious to know how breastfeeding is perceived in France.

  17. I nursed Hazel to 2 and 1/2 years and I would’ve gone longer had a dentist erroneously told me nursing was causing a cavity. Later, as the cavity worsened, I went to a second pediatric dentist (the best one in town) and he told me the nursing was fine, it was the way I was letting her eat snacks, like goldfish crackers, and juice boxes that was creating the decay. As soon as I changed her snack habits, the decay arrested and has re-calcifed with regular brushing and flossing. I wish that first ignorant dentist hadn’t told me to stop nursing. she cried so hard when one day to the next we “had” to stop. She was so attached to nursing. It was her lifeline and only comfort- she didn’t use dolls or blankies to sleep with. I can tell that it has left somewhat of a scar on her.

  18. Weaned my second, and last, baby a few months ago and felt exactly the same way, except that I LOVE nursing after the painful first days are over. (Nursing, I said not pumping, the very evil twin of nursing for a mom who works away from her baby). I loved the intimacy, the reminder to sit quietly with my babies, and I loved most of all the unique ability to make another human being so absolutely and totally content in every way even though he’d been screaming bloody murder just a few moments before. We modern Jews don’t talk like this very often but nursing for me was the closest I have ever felt to being part of God’s perfect plan.

  19. I hear you loud and clear, Gabby! I recently experienced some similar emotions with my third son, Lucien. He was the first to wean at nine months. I was surprised as I was expecting to nurse into his first year. But he had other plans and he let me know it.
    I loved nursing my three children and feel fortunate that it worked for us. However, I always tried to keep an open mind about weaning – not having expectations and going on so long as it worked for both of us. So when Lucien lost interest I tried to be accepting and thankful. BUT in a little corner of my mind (or heart) there was sadness for those special moments that now would be only memories.
    We think (!) that he is our last child and it is very difficult for me to identify as a woman who is done with the baby-making part of her life. I just don’t recognize that person :)


  20. i’m right in the midst of this with my lucy girl! i’ve never been sad for a 1st birthday or the end or nursing…but yeah, this time has been weird. lucy might be my last…we’re not sure. plus, today #2 graduated from preschool, #1 finishes up 1st grade next week…somebody pass me a tissue!

  21. We all get it…I took a photo from my mummy angle on my phone one day, and then recorded her little noises another…but I can’t really listen to it as it makes me nostalgic and sad at the same time. I think how you did it and etched the moment in your memory though is much more powerful than pictures (or recordings).

  22. I had such a hard time weaning my son (two months ago). He was 16 months, and it was time. I wrote on my blog the following:

    So last night, in his darkened room, we sat in the rocker, and for the last time I breastfed my big boy. I cried a little. Seems silly until you are there, but I’ll admit the tears fell. The last of his babyhood is slipping away.

    Tonight will be the first in James’s entire life where he will go to bed without booby milk. I think I’ll have a harder time than him.

    I think it all holds true still.

  23. I bought my baby girl a Sophie for her first birthday! She loves it.

    I nursed my first two boys for a year and baby girl weaned herself at 8 months. I was really sad about–mostly because formula is gross to me, and ridiculously expensive–but also I don’t know if we’ll have more kids, and I really miss the closeness, and the feeling that she’s getting something from me that she can’t get anywhere else. I don’t love nursing, but I was sad when she was done. Really sad. My friend has a picture of her nursing (tasteful) and I wish I had one.

  24. I’ve been there too. Let yourself take an overly long bath (or other enjoyable, mommy-only activity) and give in to having a little pity party if you need to. You can go back to being your strong, sensible self after the water is drained. :)
    I had to wean my oldest when she was just four months old. She had severe allergies to dozens of foods and would react to them through my breastmilk. There was just no way for me to have a safe diet and still nurse her. It was my birthday when her doctor said we had to stop. I cried in the office. With my second, we spotted the allergies early (he was 3 weeks old), and it was easier emotionally for me, because I’d already been through it once.
    I wonder if you’ll feel the same end-of-an-era sadness when June hits other independence milestones, like starting preschool? I think I will when Henry does.

  25. The last time I nursed Luke I was sitting at dawn on my sister’s couch in Walnut Creek and he was seven months old. I had the worst migraine of my entire life (it last another four days) and Luke had just gotten his top two teeth, which combined with his bottom two made for some very painful nursing and he was ready to end it. However, the migraine let up just a little bit and he didn’t bite that very last time and I still remember it.

    There is something about the end of things that always makes me weepy. Luke is about to change schools and I’m thrilled about it but every time one of his current teachers tells me how much they will miss him I get a huge lump in my throat and I can barely talk.

    I am so impressed that you nursed six kiddos! Huge kuddos to you!

  26. I just weaned Ivy, and if you know me you know that is a big deal. I am right there with you. So ready to be done but wow- really- this is it! I had a good cry or two and then feel so ready for the next chapters to begin!


  27. I was working full time with my first so was only able to nurse to about 6 months so with my second, since I was home full-time, I nursed until he was 18 months and just finished two weeks ago. I was only down to one nighttime feeding anyway and he seemed like he could take it or leave it so I decided to just be done one night. I totally made my husband take a picture though!

    It’s such a real milestone of “not being a baby anymore” and especially knowing it will be your last one after six, well I don’t care how unsentimental you are, as a mom that has to affect you. :)

  28. What an appropriate topic for me too!

    My son’s first birthday was almost two weeks ago. He nurses mostly at night and I love that snuggly time. I am going to a conference in a month out of town. I could bring my son or my pump, but it seems impractical. I will be at the conference from early morning to late at night.

    He is likely ready to wean, but I am the emotional one about it. This may be my last baby. I want to have a third, but that may or may not happen and I’d probably have to wean to make that happen. I am old, a few years over 40 so I don’t know if I will conceive with ease. Is this my last baby? Can I wean my baby?

    Well, thanks for sharing. It helped to know others are going through this.

  29. Breastfeeding was something I looked forward to when I had kids. When we found out we wouldn’t have biological children I was so sad that they would miss out on breastfeeding. When researching adoption I learned that I could breastfeed. I prepared for 2 months before our little guy was born and started to feed him when he was 2 days old. It was an amazing experience and has been for the last 8 months. I produce most of his milk and only have to supplement a few ounces a day. It makes me sad to think about weaning him since it has been such an amazing bonding experience.

  30. And what’s really getting me is seeing these pictures of June and then under the You Might Also Like is a thumbnail of her swaddled in that blue blanket and looking absolutely tiny! I mean, really…

  31. The first few times I was shoved away like a stalk of broccoli was very painful… but she came back and I did as you described. I paid attention to each little detail, knowing that soon I would not be able to have the experience again. And then one day I realized that we hadn’t nursed in two days… in four days… since last week. It slowly went by and today we are completely weaned at 14 months. This is my first child, hopefully not my last, but weaning was emotional for me as well. It is an end to a very special time for mommy and baby. Hugs to you and June!

  32. Too true. My babies never gave up on me – my milk gave up on them. It’s the full time work + travel. The pump just didn’t do enough. Still, I made it 9 month with each. If I could have just nursed I’d probably have enjoyed it more and lasted longer. Pumps are just modern versions of medieval torture devices. : )

    But anyway – I get that “what the heck is this emotional thing?” quite a bit. I know we aren’t having (and I don’t want) more kids. Seems lately my daughter leaves a phase and I get all “aw, I’ll never do this again!” teary. It’s baffling.

  33. I wish I had a picture of me nursing one of my babies too! I think I told Noah to take one once, but he didn’t because he thought that it was weird (we have different views on what’s weird and what’s not). And I totally sympathize with the emotion. related to weaning. Oliver has been weaned for a year and I still miss it.

  34. I just started weaning my third, and final, baby today. My sweet Thomas. Your post said exactly what I’ve been feeling the past couple of days. Even though it will be nice to have more freedom, I can’t help but be emotional as well. I’ll always have such sweet memories of nursing my babies.

  35. I hear ya! I have 2 children. I did not nurse my first one. I tried. But I didnt try hard enough. It didnt really bother me much at that point in my life. I was fine with bottle feeding her. When the second came, 5 years later, I gave it my all. I went in knowing that I was going to do it this time. No excuses! The first weeks were horrible but wonderful. After we both got used to each other, I cherised every feeding. At 10 months, my supply was lacking and I decided it was time. My heart ached as I made that decision. I understand your tears. Mine were there for a few weeks. But it finally passed. When its your last baby, its so hard.

  36. I did have my hubby take a picture of me nursing my 4th when I knew he was probably giving it up soon. With all your picture taking, I’m surprised you didn’t. You could try to recreate a scene – she probably wouldn’t stand for that!
    I would love to have one of those beautiful closeups of a baby nursing in black and white. I don’t think my husband would let me hang it anywhere he would spend any time around. And I don’t know if it would be better if it was a pic of me – or just someone. I definetely don’t have a model figure “up there”, and I think other people might think the whole idea was weird.

  37. i weaned my fourth and probably last baby at the beginining of the year. I too blogged about it! it certainly is bittersweet. Sometimes I think about having more babies (guilt factor) but then I think I am ready to move onto enjoying time with my now children (and almost tweens) not babies! its time to enjoy without all the baby paraphernailia and be able to do more stuff with the older girls.

  38. I hear you. I loved, loved breastfeeding, and I was planning on going until about 16 months, but following my baby’s lead most of all, whether that was at 18 months or 12. I didn’t see any stopping point in the near future, however, and we were happy partners. But my enthusiastic eater of solid foods weaned herself at 14 months…I was so sad to see that sweet time go, though I was at peace that we’d at least made that important 12-month mark. As it became clear that nursing was less attractive to my baby, I did the same as you–saw each feeding as possibly the end, and wrung out every little drop of happiness that it brought me.

    I love breastfeeding for the same reason that I love pregnancy–the indescribable closeness to a small, sweet person, who may never be so close to you again.

  39. I’ve only been breastfeeding for a month and I nearly cried reading this! (Maybe it’s because I’m only four weeks into motherhood that I am still so quick to cry…) Like you, I wouldn’t say that I LOVE breastfeeding, but once I read this and thought about not doing it, all of a sudden I feel much more attached to it.

    That part about paying close attention to those last nursing moments, not knowing which would be the last, is seriously killing me!

  40. Oh, I feel your emotional tug-of-war. I’ve nursed all my babies too – and my youngest (8 1/2 mo) weaned at only 4 months – I’ve gone anywhere from 11 months to 2 yrs with nursing so this one really threw me. I was really weepy for a week or so (and I am NOT a crier – also, very practical in my approach to mothering). We are hoping for one more child, but not sure that will happen due to a severe injury my husband suffered when #5 was only a few weeks old. So, it is bittersweet. Freedom from being tied to a chair every 2 hours, but that small thing that ONLY YOU can give to/share with your baby being gone … sigh.

  41. Sweet post..I felt the same as you wrote about breast feeding to begin with. My body stopped producing enough milk around 5 months for my son. He was having reflux also so we weaned him and started him on formula. I wish I could have nursed him for longer though. I got emotional the last time. I knew it would be the last time, so I asked my husband to take a photo. I love the photo but it still doesn’t really capture how I felt or what my son really looked like nursing, only my heart could capture that.

    Hugs to you :)

  42. You had me in tears with this post! (of course being 8 1/2 months pregnant, everything brings me to tears :) I think you’re right about a sudden unexpected sentimental attachment when you realize this is the end of an era. We’re expecting our 5th and most likely our last baby and the last few weeks I’ve really started to appreciate the gift of pregnancy even more– scheduling my first every maternity photoshoot so I can remember this experience I’ve been blessed to have 5 times when usually I shy AWAY from cameras when huge and pregnant. I have a feeling weaning this one will be just as bittersweet as you’ve described with your June!

  43. I had the same reaction to what I thought was my last. That was three years ago. But I just found out recently that we are expecting our 5th, so I guess I get to do it all again! :) Now I have mixed emotions…LOL! God really has a sense of humor!

  44. You just captured exactly how I feel! I also have a practical/problem-solving brain and was never passionate about BFing yet I was pretty sad when my daughter weaned at 11.5 months. I’m happy to have my body back and more freedom, but I still feel teary when I think back to the experience of nursing. This is my first child, and I’m learning there’s a lot of inner conflict that goes along with motherhood. (p.s. I love the name June.)

  45. I only have one child but am pregnant with my 2nd. I had been trying to get pregnant again, but wasn’t having any luck. I knew it was most likely due to the fact that I was nursing (I guess I was hoping I was one of those women who could get pregnant while nursing and continue nursing throughout the next pregnancy) but I wasn’t so fortunate. So around 14 months, I weaned my son. It seemed natural and like he was ready to wean and was much easier than I expected, but I was so sad even though I know I’ll have more to nurse.

    On the bright side, I got pregnant the very next month after I quit nursing. :)

  46. i love the moments i have with my little guy while nursing him (and loved nursing my daughter, too!)… he loves to reach out with his chubby little hand and hold my arm while he nurses… it melts my heart, i love that he needs me! nursing is truly a magical gift — you should feel proud that you have been able to nurse 6 babies… there are so many mummies out there who cannot nurse. with each passing phase comes a new one though — so many things to look forward to, and so many great moments to remember.

  47. Thanks for the “savor the moment post”. I am 42, nursing my 20 month old who is my 7th and I just was thinking that this might be the last. I take all the pics in the fam and am rarely in them myself. I will have one of the kiddos take a picture tomorrow.

  48. I loved nursing my first – he was such a cuddler – but he weaned himself at 13 months and I was ready to be be done too. My second (and last) is not at all a pleasure to nurse. He bucks and kicks and grunts the whole time. His dad describes the spectacle as watching a rodeo. Still, since I know he’s my last baby, I’m sure I’ll be a blubbery mess when we wean. Luckily, we should have several more months of “rodeos” ahead of us.

  49. Oh. This post made my heart ache, in good ways and bad.

    At 2 months, we learned my daughter was allergic and I would have to stop breastfeeding. I was relieved, but much later felt guilty and sad about it. I got my chance to make up for it when my son was born. I breastfed as long as I could, taking my pump along with me on business trips so I could keep up my supply.

    I enjoyed breastfeeding so much the second time, at least after the awful first weeks (why don”t women warn other women about this?!). Truly, I loved the way he’d run his little fingers over my face and clothes. I loved snuggling with a baby in milk-coma. I only wish I’d known to appreciate our last day of nursing. To be honest, I cant remember it at all. :(

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