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Breastfeeding Triplets: Weaning Slowly

I shared the first part of my journey on breastfeeding triplets and weaning slowly here.

What’s In An Age?

I wasn’t planning to wean because of age or date. I’d hoped we’d make it till they turned a year old. When that date came, I realized they were really no different than they were the day before they turned one. And they certainly wanted “nilk” no less!

breastfeeding triplets weaningSo my plan was to gauge how our family unit was doing as a whole with the current levels of breastfeeding and make determinations based on this.

And at 17 months we were down to three times a day…each. We have spent the last six months right there. We have loved it. It has been such a wonderfully special thing. We have pictures and I have memories and they have bonded with me in ways I never could have imagined.

But I knew things were going to need to change again, soon. In Karen’s book, Mothering Multiples, she writes:

Many mothers of multiples find their toddlers’ jealous breastfeeding behavior or the development of feeding frenzies affects their desire for, or their ability to go along with, individual baby-led weaning. Although a mother of multiples may do her best to let each baby set the pace for weaning, a mother may sometimes find it necessary to refuse one toddler who seems to want to breastfeed simply because of the behavior of the other(s). Also, she may impose more restrictions, or “rules,” on breastfeeding in order to limit the effects of her multiples’ jealous behaviors, which in turn often limits each child’s requests for breastfeeding.

This is where I was finding myself. I would finish breastfeeding and somebody would be asking for “nilk” again. And there often were true “feeding frenzies.” Usually I was by myself for the mid-day feeding and there were many, many days where babies would melt in sobs at my feet while waiting their turn.

And, at this point, we had spend the majority of two years revolving around breastfeeding times and nap times. Because I feel sleep for a baby is uber important, we rarely skipped a nap and, obviously, never skipped breastfeeding! This meant a lot of time at home.

So it was time. Time to wean from the mid-day breastfeeding so that we could do more together as a mama and little troupe of toddlers. Time to reduce some of the opportunities for melt-downs when having to wait their turn.

Breastfeeding Triplets & Weaning Slowly

I knew I wanted to wean Noah last. He typically nurses last – that’s just the way we landed with our rotation. I don’t really recommend it, but things just collided this way for us.

So I set the girls up with a show and took Noah to the nursery and nursed him. The girls didn’t even know what was happening. They asked for it but were easily distracted because they didn’t see it happening. Score!

We continued for about a week and then I weaned him, too!

I could tell my supply was confused for a week or two, but I think it’s hit stride again!

What’s Next?

I don’t know! Ideally, I’d love to let them wean themselves when they want to at this point: they nurse when they wake in the morning and before bed in the evening. This is a good set up for this age! We are still in a season where it’s difficult for me to take them out a lot alone. (Ever had a toddler not listen to you in a parking lot? Yeah…we’re working with three of those!) So breastfeeding when they wake and before they go to bed is really working out – giving us just enough time to be on the go.

And it’s been wonderful to have that extra time with them where I’m not breaking up fights between the two while attempting to dodge the nose-pickin’s of the third.

There are also about eight (or ten?) more 2-year molars to come in yet and I love knowing that I can comfort them without medication during the night!

And breastfeeding is still very important and nutritionally beneficial at this stage. The World Health Organization recommends, for this reason, that breastfeeding continue up to two years of age or beyond!

Ultimately, my decision to continue breastfeeding is based on what is best for our family unit as a whole. It is something that David and I can manage together (he picks up a lot of the tasks I could be doing during those times I am breastfeeding them). But if and when things change, I may “mother encourage, baby-led” wean another feeding. I may not. For now, we’re still taking it one day at a time.

Did you take a “mother-encouraged, baby-led” approach to weaning?

Comments

  1. My son is 17 months old, and I’m beginning to feel the itch to wean at least one feeding. We’re still nursing 3 times a day – morning, afternoon nap, and before bed. I never thought I’d nurse this long; I thought we’d be done at the end of August… But apparently not. 🙂 Thanks for sharing your triplet perspective on slowly weaning!

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