Keeping it real for 21 months: A candid convo about our breastfeeding and weaning journeys
Breastfeeding Savannah Rose was an answered prayer. And the thing is, it wasn’t just my prayer. It was my grandmother’s prayer, and her grandmother’s prayer, and her grandmother’s prayer…
While on our breastfeeding journey, Savannah showed me a fearless, patient love, she taught me about sacrifice, boundary setting, and the power that lies in letting go of structure, control, and other people’s ‘opinions.
And what’s crazy is, Sav’s been that way since the beginning. From the moment she came from Heaven and planted in my womb, I could feel her quiet confidence, strength, and unapologetic decisiveness.
Growing, birthing, and sustaining Savvy for 21 months changed my life and strengthened me in my divine feminine power.
21 months of late nights that blurred into early mornings. 21 months of two souls, intertwined — stretching, reaching, pulling, dancing gracefully as they evolve. 21 months of learning to adapt, and over come challenges. 21 months of feeling empowered and in love with my body and its capabilities. 21 months of gratitude. 21 months of feeling like I was doing some of my most important work. 21 months of dark desperate moments of wanting to give up. 21 months of the ever (not so) encouraging question from loved ones and friends, “So how long are you going to breastfeed her?” 21 months of feeling connected to other breastfeeding women who were on the journey with me or who had gone before me. 21 months of learning about my little babe and rediscovering myself daily. 21 months of being intentional.
And although I was exhausted toward the end, I wanted Savvy to wean when she was ready.
Or at least that’s what I told myself.
For 21 months.
But there came a point when I was just completely touched out. It’s going to sound really harsh and almost makes me feel bad putting this on paper because then the words are real, and permanent. But honestly, I started to resent being touched by anyone, especially our little babe demanding the boob. There was a shift, a strong one. From deep loving, empowering feelings while Sav was on my breast, to me dreading every second of it. And not long after that, it dawned on me — Breastfeeding her was no longer worth it. Of course, we all know the facts right? The health benefits are unmatchable, and the emotional and spiritual benefits are invaluable. But how beneficial was it if my spirit wasn’t in a good place? Poor Sav was picking up on my energy and our nursing sessions were becoming something unfamiliar, and distant.
At this point Savvy was about 19 months old and was nursing once before naptime, once before bedtime, and a few times through the night. (Coffee anyone?)
I was ready to have my body back, but Hubby was still overseas (you can read more about that here: https://www.lovealwaysjas.com/single-post/2019/03/14/Long-distance-lovin-with-littles) and I just felt weaning her on my own was not an option, especially a month before our little family’s international move to Tokyo!
So we continued.
In December of 2019, we were reunited with Hubs in Tokyo, and though I would have had his support, I thought, nope, still can’t wean — that would just be cruel! Too many changes for the poor baby! A 17 hour time difference, a brand-new city, a new home, a new culture. So stripping her of the one piece of familiarity she was holding on to? JUST WRONG.
This was the narrative I chose to own daily.
On top of that, both Savvy and I got bronchitis and ear infections about week after we moved here.
I remember nursing her and just being so drained and over it, but then feeling immense guilt because — again, I knew the facts. I knew that long-term, and short-term, there was nothing better for our sick little babe than the antibodies she was receiving from my milk.
One night I completely broke down to Julian. Through oceans of tears I explained that I have to press on because Savannah needed me now more than ever and couldn’t possibly take any more changes
He just rubbed my back and said, “Sure she can. Sure you can.”
I nursed Sav for a few more days, but the day she woke up without a cough and a runny nose, (one more time for the people in the back) the day she woke up without a cough and a runny nose!! — Julian stepped in.
Savvy and I did our bedtime routine — baths, warm rub downs, picking out pjs, dance parties, and tidying up her room, then I handed her off to dada and he laid down with her until she fell asleep. We did this for about a week, and I continued nursing her once day, before her nap.
After a week, I made sure we were out exploring our new city everyday at nap time, that way she’d take in all the sights and sounds, and then pass out in the stroller. (Wooo Whooo! Calories burned and baby down without nursing!)
I stuck to this schedule like white on rice, as my grandma would say.
At this point, Savvy was napping without being nursed (thanks to our strolls), going to sleep at bedtime without being nursed (thanks to Julian), and sleeping through the night without being nursed (thanks to the good Lordt ha).
The true test came the following week, our first rainy day in Tokyo. Buckets of water falling from the sky. Mother Nature was pushing me to our next phase, she knew we were ready. The first time, I‘d have to put Sav down for a nap without nursing her and with out pushing her in the stroller. (Eeeek). But would you believe when nap time came, I took her upstairs, sat on the edge of our bed cradling, rocking her, and she fell right asleep?!
Wow wow wow.
We did it!
This was our routine for the next couple weeks but honestly even though I hadn’t nursed Savvy in like a month, I was in denial. I was like oh, its just a matter of time before she will scream and cry and fight me for the boob. She’ll want to be nursed and I’ll give in because my mama-heart just won’t be able to take it.
But that never happened. Savvy was done. Dare I say, I think she was done before I was. :-)
It’s been like 6 weeks now, and most nights, my God-send of a Hubby puts Savvy to sleep. When he’s on work travel, I’m on double-duty so I take care of nap time and bedtime, and some times she fights me. But not for the boob — Generally for her cup, her book, her baby, her Peppa Pig, her Paw Patrol, her park, her bubbles, her piano, and her snack, her anything she can think of to stall the inevitable of her head hitting that pillow. haha
And do you know what, other than my flat-as-pancake boobs and this second round of postpartum hair loss (BTW WTH?!!! The people lieeeed! They did not tell me post-breastfeeding was going to be a whole new postpartum body, and experience, and adjustment! Lawd! That’s another blog post for another day), but I love love love love love this stage with our little one!
Savvy’s an independent, strong-willed, feisty, confident, fun-loving, cuddle bug. And because we aren’t nursing anymore, we spend twice as much time loving on each other. She always wants to be close, because that’s where she’s been.
I just Love her to life and owe my hubs the world for helping us wean in our own time, in our own way.
Let me know if you have any questions or want to chat about our breastfeeding, pumping, or weaning journeys!
I'm an open book. ;-)
For more of my posts on this topic:
Switching it up, cooking with breastmilk:
Bringing home the bacon...I mean breastmilk:
Our ever evolving breastfeeding journey: