Monday, April 19, 2010

Weaning Milk

I started the process of weaning my son when he was about 26 months old. I stopped nursing him to bed and we would occasionally nurse in the morning, but only if we had enough time before getting ready to leave the house. The first time I told him "no" to night nursing he had a fit, but we snuggled and read and he got over it pretty quickly. After a few weeks like this, he was asking less and less and we were nursing quite infrequently. In fact, if you had asked me about two weeks ago I'd have said, "We're done, he's weaned," except a cold and cough and both of us feeling yucky last week led to nursing several more times.

In the interim, when we had stopped nursing, I decided to see if I could squeeze out any milk one day. A little came out but it was very white and thick, almost the texture of glue, rather than the watery milk that generally comes out when you first begin hand expression. It was so strange I decided to taste it and YUCK. It was salty and not sweet at all and just tasted horrible. My first thought was, "Oh, crap, I'm pregnant." I had read that pregnant milk can taste very salty and that it's the reason many toddlers self-wean when mom is pregnant; they just don't like how the milk tastes.

Soon after my period arrived so after consulting Dr. Google I realized that what I was experiencing is "weaning milk." Essentially what happens is the level of lactose in your milk drops and the sodium and chloride levels go way up, leaving your breast milk tasting salty. It is a totally normal part of the weaning process.

Thinking about this made me wonder if this is why many women think their babies have "self-weaned" at age 8 or 9 months. Many babies will go on a nursing strike at this age and if mom is not pumping and expressing milk, by the time the baby gets back to the breast, he may not like the taste anymore and switch to the bottle. I've always heard lactation consultants say it's extremely rare for a baby to self-wean before the age of one, but I hear it a lot from moms around the age of nursing strikes.

Anyway, our uptick in nursing has made my body start producing more milk that is definitely less salty, but still not totally back to the sweetness I was used to. So at 28 months we're not quite weaned, although I think we will be soon.

Never want to miss an update of the Blacktating Blog? Subscribe here.
Twitter me- I'm blacktating

blog comments powered by Disqus
Related Posts with Thumbnails