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. when i weaned my little crumb, she was 23+ months. i was ready, she was ready. however, it was so bittersweet because i knew she was my one and only. i still cherish the fact i was able to give this wonderful gift to her and share this attachment for so long.

  2. I was the same with my kids. I nursed all three and could give or take it but when it was time to wean my last I actually cried! And again I am a little like a man with emotions (unless I see a sad movie for some reason) it’s really hard for me to be sentimental and weepy. I guess it’s knowing that this is your last baby and you’re never going to do this again that tips you a little over the edge. Enjoy your semi freedom and the next stage in life!

  3. *I* almost cried when I saw the title of the post – silly, I know! I just know that when I last nursed (our last additions were through the miracle of adoption, and I didn’t get to nurse them), it was such a sweet, sweet bonding time! And to think that June is growing so quickly seems impossible!

  4. Glad I’m not the only one accused of thinking like a man. For me all of the lasts have been a bit harder with Olivia knowing the were the lasts of the last.

  5. Those pictures — she is just so precious. I’m sure whatever I’d say about bf’ing would just be a repeat of what others have written above, so I just thought I’d comment to say what a sweetie pie June appears to be.

  6. I am currently in the midst of weaning my almost-2 son. I had hoped he would come to this process naturally, but he is not interested in stopping. I, however, am pregnant and find it really uncomfortable now, and do not want to be nursing two at the same time. So, there are a lot of emotions wrapped up for me in this. I really hope it can ultimately be a positive experience for the both of us.

  7. I can understand the feeling. It is and endof an era for you. I’m pregnant with my last one, and although I really (really) dislike pregnancy, I have very mixed feelings since it is an end of an era for me to know I really won’t be having another baby after this. (I think 5 is my limit, physically, so this will have to be it.) It’s a bittersweet feeling.
    And they grow so quickly! I keep asking mine who gave them permission to grow big, because it wasn’t me! :)

  8. I think breastfeeding is such a beautiful experience to share with your child. And I LOVED every moment. But my body was sending me cues that it was ready to stop breastfeeding when my daughter was about 1 and 1/2 years old. It turns out, though, that my daughter wasn’t finished yet. And she let me know it! So, I gave in for another six months or so and then stopped. She still reaches for them, much like she would a blanket. And I just use that time to hug her. But it certainly isn’t the same as the closeness you feel breastfeeding, is it?

  9. I loved breastfeeding (14 months with my first, and now nursing a newborn). What a magical bond! I was so sad when I decided to wean. It was hard for me to accept that my daughter and I would never have that same bond and close, constant, regular touch again. She is now two, and I can barely get her to hug me for 10 seconds now!

    I treasure my nursing pictures and video. I recently pulled them out to show my toddler so she could see that I breastfeed her, just like I’m breastfeeding our newborn.

    I was shocked at how emotional I got around the time I weaned. No one warned me about that! My hormones were completely out of whack, and it made me extremely moody and sad for several weeks (and I had no PPD or depression before). It is a huge time of change for the body and mind. Take care, and I’m sure June and your other children will give you all the comfort and kisses you need during this transition to the next phase of your life!

  10. I was heart broken when I left my 3rd child when he was 11 months for a trip to New York. I brought the pump with me, but came home to a baby who wanted nothing to do with nursing. So when the opportunity came again (a free trip to New York) when my 4th (and last) was 10 months old, I declined. It was tough to let my husband go without me and havetons of fun, but totally worth it. Baby is now 11 months old and hopefully she’ll make it to 15 months like her oldest siblings. It’s about that time that it becomes less enjoyable for me. Morning feeding is the last to go. I just love to snuggle in bed with just she and I and have the excuse to stay in a bed just a little longer.

  11. Harper is just turned one on Monday and has been down to nursing just once a day for the past few weeks. I’m holding on to it for dear life but she could totally be fine without. The other morning, she sat up from nursing and signed “milk” to me. Like, “Geez Ma, stop teasing me and give me the good stuff.” It was a little heartbreaking!

  12. It definitely wasn’t part of the “plan,” but my daughter just weaned herself 2 months ago after having recently turned three! I just found the idea of telling my child that I’d decided to end that particular intimacy myself utterly impossible once I was in the thick of it. I was shocked to find myself heartbroken and mourning over it. She is my one and only (I’m 41) so maybe that’s why it was so hard.

  13. I had premature twins so the nursing was always going to be difficult. I ended up pumping for nine months instead after four months of nursing AND pumping. I was still a little sad even giving up the machine. It was the end of an era for me and an end of sitting there while I entertained my babies in their rockers – singing, talking or bouncing them with my foot. I got really good at using all parts of my body to do different things – kind of like a one man band! :-) It’s another stage over, feel a little sad and then move on.

  14. Oh, I recognize your feelings.
    Sad to leave the baby days and experiences behind but you’ve got lots of excitement in store!
    You’re in for a wonderful new era-believe me.
    Just wonderful.

  15. Now that’s a good one! Although your sweet baby June is older than our baby boy (who is 7mo now), I already feel your pain! He started telling me he wants no more at about 6 and a half months. I was shocked! In no way prepared to wean him or anything. Especially since his brothers were nursing up to their first year – his sister, however, wanted no more at 7 months. Instead of taking the long, painful road of denial and fighting against like I did with Mia, we decided (after discussing it with my Husband) that it’s clearly something the baby wants and would not be safe to fight against his natural tendencies.

    I still nurse him. Somewhat – just one meal, in the early morning. And that’s it. My nursing days are over soon and it pains me to think about it. Like you said, it’s bittersweet.

  16. Thank you for this. I am nursing my first baby. I relate when you say, if you weren’t able to nurse it would not have been that big of a deal. I have always approached it as this is important for her, and I will make it to her first birthday and then begin weaning. I keep looking at that date as this idea that I will finally have my body back.

    But hearing you speak about June’s body pressed against yours, and knowing how much they enjoy it, you have changed my frame of reference. I’ll be making my husband take a few photos, and I’ll be sure to cherish this last month or so, instead of obsessing over an idea of freedom. I’ll note every caress, each time our eyes meet, when my baby giggles if I smile at her, and how she obviously feels complete bliss as she battles falling asleep while nursing.

  17. Oh yeah…I cried. Looking back, it is like moving on from one form of communication to another and I miss not “communicating” that way. I am happy to see how “out in the world” they now are but every once in a while I want to gather them back in!

  18. those intimate nursing times are the only things that only the two of you share. it’s a big deal ;) i nursed both of my little people… and in regards to taking pictures, i took plenty of pictures from my angle when nursing. i wanted to cherish that moment when you watch them and either they are staring right at you with love or they could care less because their too busy getting their milk at that time. they really are tender moments to be cherished.

  19. I tried to wean when my son turned 10 months old just because I could only offer “snacks” instead of “meals” at that time. Although I complained about how much time I had to spend on breastfeeding and this or that, I did feel I lost the closest relationship with my baby. So… I picked it up again…. A snack is a snack. Why not! He just turned 14 months old and he is still on my lap, against my belly, holding on the touches with his mommy before he falls asleep…. I don’t know when he’s going to push me away but I want to enjoy it until the day he says bye bye to my breats.

  20. Weaning was such an emotional process for me too! I get weepy just thinking about weaning my 8 month old when she’s older. My oldest self-weaned around 15 months and it was so sad for me. I think I cried for a week. Hugs!

  21. We had a very different weaning experience. Our daughter got sick at one month old and had to be hospitalized. Because of all the stress, my body stopped producing milk for her. It made me so sad that I couldn’t give her any more milk, but in the situation we were in, it was a blessing because I can’t imagine having to be away from her bedside pumping while we were going through that. It’s hard no matter how it happens and I completely understand your sadness. It is the end of an era as you said and change is always hard. Hope you get to enjoy lots of cuddling with your little one as you go through this transition! : )

  22. Ha! I’ve been told I’m wired like a man before too. I’m not a big fan of nursing either, but weaning has always been difficult for me too. Thinking of you! xo

  23. Thinking of you. I too am on baby #6 he is only 3 months but am trying to hang on to every moment cause he is our last one. I nursed all of mine for the first year. Can’t wait to see what they are going to be like but don’t want it to happen to fast. ;)

  24. Hey Gabby-I predict I’ll feel the same way you do. And I’m with you so much on how you feel about it too-I don’t adore doing it I actually would feel relieved in a way if I couldn’t do it. But I feel I should for my child, therefore I do….and I still think it will be emotional with my last. Sorry you didn’t get that photo you wanted. :( There’s probably one that was taken in heaven.

  25. I have two sons and nursed both into their twos. I weaned the first one when I was pregnant with the second because my breasts were very tender (he was about 2 1/2 years of age). My second was weaned at about the same age. We were on a family vacation and since bedtimes were the times he really liked to nurse, I disappeared around bedtime and returned after he was asleep. Due to the different surroundings and being tired from being on vacation, he didn’t seem to notice and by the end of vacation he was weaned. I loved that close bond and knowing that I was giving them a great start in life but was ready to wean since I nursed each child so long.

  26. At 16 months, my baby boy self weaned together. He announced to me by looking at me, naked in the tub, and while signing, said, “Milk all gone.”. And that was it. Very sweet.

  27. I was not attached to nursing until my latest, my third. I nursed the first two more for practical reasons….it saved us money, it is better for development, it creates an automatic bond, convenient, etc. However, I never really felt that “bond” with my first two. I tried but I couldn’t allow myself to. I nursed one year and then I was done with my first. My second she weaned herself at 10 months. But #3 was different. She was more cuddly and interested in it from the beginning. It was harder to wean her. I grew attached. Plus, I don’t know if she is my last so I relished it more, just in case. It is like a chapter ending. Sad.

  28. Oh, Gabrielle… I so feel you. Leo is 8 1/2 mos. now and has started doing the “pull-off-during-letdown-to-see-if-anything-more-interesting-is-happening-across-the-room” as well as just not being interested in waiting for letdown. He is my last, and there were times in the beginning I didn’t think I’d be sad when it ended. But I, like you, find myself trying to memorize the detatils…the way he pulls in close, reaches up and fingers the top of his ear, gently moving it back and forth. While part of me can’t wait for him to readily join the throng of his siblings at play, a corner of my heart wants him to remain more “mine”. Babylove. There’s nothing like it. :)

  29. weaning was the saddest and hardest thing I’ve ever had to do. My first was 13 months when I weaned him, but I was 5 months pregnant with my second (who is 7 months old now and I’m already sad about the idea of weaning her one day.) My son loved the boob and I have a profuse amount of milk. We both cried the first night that I didn’t nurse him…I just rocked him in my great-great grandmother’s rocking chair and cried while he cried himself to sleep on my shoulder. I love nursing, even though it really wears out my body, I still love it and won’t be able to give it up easily.

  30. Everyone that knows me got thrown off by the fact that I am still nursing my daughter, who is 9 months. That made me a bit self conscious, but I get over it any time its mentioned. And while I selfishly wish I could nurse a little longer, she’s not so interested anymore, and it does sting a little. There is a connection that is so unequivocally awe inspiring that I have to say made me feel incredibly strong. Your piece was so moving, and resonates on so many levels, I think I will try to get a picture, and write it down. Its an amazing experience if one has the opportunity to do it. Thank you.

  31. I nursed Elizabeth about a year but she weaned herself pretty quick with me working full time. I’m still nursing Emily at 16 months waiting on her to wean herself. She nurses manily at night and a few times in the day. I’m not sure bryan really gets it he makes comments about it that makes me think he wishes I was done with it. But I will go as long as I can. She is not real big on cows milk and gotten a little picky about food lately. But been great so far!

  32. I have had tugs about that last one too (four not six). I keep thinking that’s why there are other people’s babies in the world. To love. Then maybe grandchildren. But it’s so cosy to be with tiny babes (if exhausting) that letting the era go feels very sad. And mine’s three & I still feel (& as you know she’s adopted so I didn’t even nurse her). But still… (I nursed #3 for almost five years, not on purpose, but that’s another story…). Happy second year June!

  33. It really is a bittersweet thing. My second baby is only 12 weeks old and I’m already ready to quit nursing because we’re not planning to have anymore and I just want to get back to “normal.” But at the exact same moment, I cherish each time he nurses because I know it will soon be the last and that makes me sad. It’s a truly sweet experience to provide for your baby in such a miraculous and natural way.

  34. I love nursing. I am blessed that I’ve had an easy time of nursing all three of my kids. Our youngest is 6 weeks & I love the smile he gets when he sees the breast coming his way. And the milk-drunk smile afterwards? Can that be any cuter??!!

    I look forward {in some ways} to being freer once I’m done breastfeeding. However, I know the time flies by & I will be tear-y when it ends so trying to enjoy it while I’m in it. BE IN THE MOMENT, right?! Easier said than done…

  35. Oh my goodness! look at all these posts! Weaning is such an emotional time! I’ve been nursing my egg-dairy-soy and nut allergic son for almost two years- just started the weaning process for his 2nd birthday.. I’m sooo sad! It’s been the hardest thing I have ever done with my restricted diet..but I know for my sanity.. I need to stop- but it’s the most amazing gift! I cry every time I thing about….weaning!

  36. My sixth is two and quit nursing at 14 months. I also knew he’d be my last and found myself unexpectedly mourning the transition! It’s a precious time.

  37. Hi there,
    I did love nursing, and I nursed my daughter Hope for 14 months! She used to rub my cheek while she nursed and it was so sweet. On the final day, I did have my husband take a picture. It was a struggle to get my milk started and I had to take medication to get myself to lactate because my labor was kind of intense, and then I had to have a c-section. We have just found out that my tubes are blocked, so Hope might be our only. For that, I am entirely grateful that I fought so hard to nurse and that I did it for the time I did. I love being a mom and mommy milk is good stuff!

  38. Alysson Hartmann

    Your post made me start to cry, if that answers your question. I don’t know why it is so emotional but I tend to think of nursing as sort of a union between your two bodies that when you are finished nursing you will never have quite that same union again. It is a reminder that you raise them to leave you.

    I am currently nursing my 6 month old but weaned my 2 year old around her 1st birthday as well and it was incredibly emotional for me, even though I knew I would have another.

  39. My eyes welled up too – reading some of the comments. I nursed all four of my kids. My son, I had to abruptly stop (cold turkey) at 11 months, because I was treated with Methotrexate (chemo-therapy) and had no choice. and the triplets, I nursed ’til just about 10 days short of their 1st birthdays. I loved nursing, even though it was much more difficult to figure out how to nurse triplets. Their little fingers and hands just resting on your chest…but as precious as those moments were, I have to say I had the extremes – cried and was not ready to stop nursing my first child, but soooo relieved to be done (and have freedom) nursing the girls (triplets). Gabrielle, to have nursed 6 kids, is amazing. So many of my friends did not want to nurse at all. It is such a personal choice and each has to do what is right for them, but I applaud you!

  40. My baby Annika turns 2 on the 17th. We stopped nursing about 2 months ago and it is very hard on her. She was quite ok for about 6 weeks, but now wants to nurse. So, she tries to nurse and sometimes for a long time, but there’s nothing left. She does not mind a bit, she is colse to me and enjoys it so much. I feel guilty…
    Your baby (and all your other kids, too) is beautiful and thanks for sharing your life’s stories.

  41. well gabriel..all of your children must thank you for nursing them all. How old of your child’s longest-feeding?Honestly, my 1st boy didn’t get exclusive breast milk. He had a formula when he was 3 months. But I will try on for his sister, I’m planning on to give her only breastmilk untill 12 months

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