I breastfed Ben for about two and a half wonderful years. We had a rough start but the journey was worth it. When Bry and I decided to wean him, we were ready because 1. we reached our two year goal, 2. It was during the summer break so we weren't to stressed about keeping his schedule and 3. we want to give Ben a sibling and because I had a difficult pregnancy with him, we thought it would be best to wean before trying for baby number 2.
I was nervous, scared but determined. I think that's the first step to successful weaning, you have to be sure you are ready. I asked for tips from moms who have weaned. They were very supportive and encouraging.
During our first night, I braced myself for a lot of crying. I read somewhere about using band-aids to explain to the child that mom's "mum-mum" has "ouchie" so he can't nurse. That's what I did with Ben. Thankfully, he understood. Of course, there were tears along the way. During the first couple of nights, he'd asked to nurse but would remind himself about my "ouchie" and stop. It was heartbreaking, I tried to give him more hugs and told him I was proud of him. It was tiring, too because I had to find other ways to soothe him when he'd wake up in the middle of the night, often times carrying him. Bry was a big help. At first, Ben would resist when it was his dad comforting him at night, but my boys eventually found their own style. We even tried having myself sleep in another room so they would not have any choice. (You would think that would give me a good night's rest but I kept on waking up wondering how the boys are doing) Anyway, we knew we made progress when Ben would sometimes call for papa in the middle of the night as oppose to always looking for mama. I also give Bry credit for encouraging Ben to sleep on his own without having someone to carry, rock or tap him. Bry would just lie down in Ben and they'd talk until they both fall asleep.
Nowadays, we just lie down beside Ben until he sleeps on his own. On some nights he'd ask for a story so that he can hear our voices until he falls asleep. He always wants me to face him though. He'd ask me to turn whenever I roll on the other aside. On a good night, he can sleep soundly for 8 hours straight without waking us. Of course there are still nights when we had to cuddle him when he wakes up in the middle of the night, but no more feedings. We make sure he finishes a glass of fresh milk before going to bed so he doesn't get hungry in the middle of the night.
Does he still remember being breastfed? I think he does. There have been rare occasions when he'd pretend he's a baby and ask to "pretend nurse" for a minute or two. (I'm fully covered but he'd want to be cradled) I don't make a big deal about it because I know he's just playing pretend.
I miss breastfeeding, but I am glad that we weaned Ben when he seemed ready. It has been a wonderful journey for our family, and it seems that we won't have to wait very long to start on it again ... yup, after two false alarms and a lot of prayers, we're pregnant :) Now, when we were praying for a sibling for Ben, our plan was to have another little one then that's it. But God seems to have plans of his own because he's giving us twins! We're 16 weeks now, happy but anxious, always hungry yet always nauseous, sleepy and tired all the time but can't relax because worried of the work ahead. We hope that you pray with our family for a smooth pregnancy, safe birth and that we may be able to successfully breastfeed these little ones. We'll need all the support we can get. :)