Weaning Week: Going Cold Turkey {Guest Post}

February 9, 2012 | By More

Welcome to Weaning Week. A mini series dedicated to weaning a child from breast milk! If your just now joining us, you can catch up by checking out our first post, Weaning Week: A Look Back!

Yesterday we took a look into Erin’s weaning process from the pump. Today, I have another guest, one of my best friends sharing her story on going cold turkey!

Jessi lives in NYC. I met her when I worked at Jocks and Jill’s Restaurant in Georgia a long time ago. I loved this girl right from the start and knew we were going to be great friends. She’s the type of person that doesn’t hold back on getting into the nitty gritty details of anything. And I mean anything :) . I love that about her, she is as real as it comes.

Jessi and I both got married in 2010 and were bridesmaids in each others weddings.  And we BOTH got pregnant right after. She had a little girl Ela, 4 months before Caden was born. Needless to say she was my go to person all throughout pregnancy. Overall this girl is a great friend, great wife, amazing mom and super hard worker. She’s truly the ideal image of a super mom. Working full time and being a mom I know is hard work so I appreciate her taking time out of her busy schedule to write this post.

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My weaning story:

My daughter Ela was born January 12 2011 and I knew before I had her I wanted to nurse exclusively, which I did; but not without some complications (as expected). I was a working mom and went back  after 6 weeks thus  making nursing even more of a  challenge. Slowly but surely we got the hang of it and Ela ate out of the bottle during the day and nursed at night. Around 6 months I contemplated stopping as she had gotten the recommend benefit and I was struggling to find time to pump at work, but I began to realize I was not ready. I continued to nurse until around 8 1/2 months when I began to have excruciating stomach pains. After a few days I went to the doctor and it was determined that I was having the beginning symptoms of an ulcer. The ulcer was partially caused by the constant stress on my body from being a working mother on top of pumping/feeding almost 45oz. of milk a day. I had two choices:

1. Stop nursing to be able to take antibiotics for one month which the baby could not ingest.

OR

2. Pump and Dump for 1 month.

Well I certainly could not handle pouring out my precious milk for a month, so I decided to go cold turkey. The first word that comes to mind is OUCH! Then came the tears of guilt. I decided before I weaned that I was going to ferberize her at night, although she was only waking once. It took two days of crying for 20 minutes and it was done (sounds much easier looking back). That weekend was the weekend that Hurricane Irene hit NYC. What a weekend to go cold turkey. I strapped on my sports bra and prepared for the storm! (literally) I began to feel uncomfortable after about 8 hours and then really bad around 12. Initially I gave in and pumped for just a few minutes, still leaving my breasts full but “relived”. I went to bed and in the middle of the night, during Ela’s regular feeding I was in SO MUCH pain. My whole body hurt, my breasts were throbbing and I had a fever. I again pumped enough to take the edge off until the power went out. At that point I really had no choice. By this time when I pumped the milk was clear it looked very watered down almost like skim milk. I continued to take Advil and put teething rings in my sports bra. (Which fit perfectly by the way ;) .

Later that night I let down about 3 times in one hour and began to leak. This was the turning point because the pain began to subside.I did not feel 100% better but more comfortable. By the time the power came back on I pumped once more and my milk was totally clear. I went back to work on Monday and did not pump again until Tuesday, then again on Friday. Friday was the last day that I pumped and what a liberating feeling it was. My breasts were swollen for about two weeks following but then they went down … Really down. Five months later I still experience some milk but it is very miniscule.

Looking back Cold Turkey weaning was easy and quick and took only 1 week. The best way to describe it is a mastis for 2-3 days that you don’t try to cure. Overall I made it 8 1/2 months and although I was forced to stop and I felt sad and guilty at times.  I think it was time for me to focus on getting my health back in line. Ela ended up having another 3 weeks of breast milk in the freezer which made the transition to formula a little easier. Overall I enjoyed nursing and the gift I was able to give my little one.

Anyone else go cold turkey? Did you find it to be a painful process like Jessi?

Also, check out her blog; Sometimes The Smallest Things Take Up the Most Room in your Heart. She’s got some great parenting fails and isn’t afraid to admit it! ha-ha :)

Make sure you stop back tomorrow for the last day of Weaning Week! I’ll be sharing my experiences on Gradual weaning and talking all about the aftermath!

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Category: Parenting

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  1. Weaning Week: Breaking Free from the Pump {Guest Post} | March 11, 2012
  1. Erin says:

    great post jessi!! ela is such a gorgeous girl! :)

  2. Jen says:

    Thanks for sharing your story! I have enjoyed reading this and the previous post on weaning from a pump. I am also a working mom, and exclusively pumping for the same reason as Susan’s sister. I hope to go a full year (Maya is 5 months now), but we have some travels this summer, and that may be a good time to start to wean (around 10 months). It is good to read about both experiences!

    Jen

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  4. Jerrica says:

    I have decided to go cold turkey because I figured it was hurting just as bad weaning. I am hoping to go through the pain for a shorter amount of time. There are some questions I would like to ask you if possible. I hope you check these posts and get back to me soon. I was going three hours one day, four the next and now just going cold turkey in so much pain! Baby Micah Lyan is a month old and it is so hard trying to care for him while doing this so I need tips/advice something please. Thank You!