Sunday, March 6, 2011

Weaning off.. A success story

My toddler tot has bit each of my nerve with love and hyperactivity. He started off by teaching me chapters of motherhood..patience, love, passion, creating routines, nourishing meals and so much more. He made it hard to skip even a single chapter later on. Recently he touched the topics- anger and rage. Well, motherhood is a state of self realization.. how loving you can be, how bitchy you can get and how the silent love can transform into some sort of intense destructive gigantic wave of emotion at times. Anyways, the first impossible chapter seemed to be weaning Omy off breast milk.

Weaning wasn't easy, but it was definitely easier than I expected.
I am talking about a baby who was addicted to the taste of breast milk.  A baby who survived and gained a few pounds above average with only breast milk till 8th month.
After introducing solid food at 9th month, no matter how full his little tummy was, he would go crazy head over toes for not getting his share after every meal.That was his only source of pacification. He was in possession of the source. He could barge in any time, open the tap and fill up ounces of needed fuel. The source was engaged almost every other hour.I had been talking about weaning off Omy since he turned 1 but I couldn’t convince myself as the fear of leaving him hungry haunted me and I couldn't see him crying. And who wouldn't fall for his extremely charming way of asking and irresistible smile. Trust me, It took me months to let him keep crying for hours...the toughest and heart breaking decision ever.
Its not a one day process, It took me 2 months. May be I was lucky. I always appreciate hearing from those who have gone before me and here are some

Basic wean off techniques:

1.  Pump Breast milk to bottle or use formula to replace breast feeding sessions.
      Din't work. To this day, Omy has not sipped a drop of formula! He hates formula.

2.  Since babies know the taste of breast milk, gradually add 1 tbsp formula or vitamin D milk to it and increase the number of tbsp in the coming days. There by completely replacing breast milk.
     Din't work. He found out my trick.

3. Introduce sippy cups for change.
      Din't work. He drank water with it though.

4. Let them drink water with bottles or sippy cups after meals.
      Din't work. water is water.. and milk is milk.

5. Try even with small cups, different techniques might interest them.
      Din't work. Whatever the technique, breast milk wins.

6. Introducing solids.
      Din't work. Omy ate proper rice and veggies starting 9th month, but he wanted breast milk as desert.

My condition was appalling, as i used to spoon feed him vitamin D milk.. hardly 5 oz 2 times a day. The breast milk taste was so registered that he declined every other liquid. Luckily solid food was well accepted but again with his heavenly tasting desert of course.

While there are cases when the baby decides one day that enough is enough, most babies certainly won't mind a slow process. Mine was a slow process.
So, by 15 months, I reduced the feeding sessions by half. One in the afternoon and one at night, and that was it! I am no doctor, no expert, but a girl who surpassed these steps to wean her baby off. This might help you.

1. Gather all the patience in this world.

2. Be Ready
Be ready to unwrap the unstoppable crying, ruthless trauma and indomitable drama. Let daddy also be aware of the consequences. If you have parents or others to help, gird up your loins to conclude with a happy ending.I mean, be ready to see your baby go wild and cry out to his wits end.

3. Choose the right time.

I was breastfed until I was around 2 yrs. Mommy, you are great. I am no where near you. Here I am after 1.6 yrs.. exhausted and ready to stop. I have enjoyed that special bonding moments..every oz of it. But, it was time for him to enter a world of adventure and indulge in solid food alone.
I chose December as it was winter time..I could cover up in a sweater whole day and cover up myself blocking any on sight visibility of the source. Hubby was also a bit free of work due to holidays. Time is not right when baby is sick or when you are traveling.. It will only stress you out and when you are stressed out, the baby will be stressed too.
Sometimes the baby would just loose interest and stop. You might want to consider yourself the luckiest in the lot then.

4. Try to reduce feeding sessions first..within over a period of a few days to a week. Try to distract him with other food or activities like new toys, new games. Omy's interest in music and dance was increasing that time. I used to play songs and dance with him. If he clearly wanted to be nursed, despite all the dancing, I made sure he understood the level of difficulty and allowed him for may be a very little time which later turned out to be a big NO and related continuous crying.

5. This might continue for some time… a week to months. The plot might worsen at night. Let baby sleep with daddy, let daddy sing for him a lullaby or sleep with baby in the other room. Grandma says babies are good sniffers. If they know mommy is near, there is no way they will get back to sleep.

6. If the plot stays same and pungent, use the trump card
'Chenninayakam' (Aloe vera powder). The secret weapon I got from India last year. It works. The black magic paste was my life saver. It has a rocky consistency. Keep it out for 3-4 hours, once it breathes in air, it melts. Gently apply a lilt on the nipple. You have to taste it to feel the intensity of sourness and apply accordingly. My wonder kid was smart enough to wipe it off and suck as if nothing happened. The more he rubbed, the more thicker I applied. He started to slowly stay aloof from the source and within a wink, the desert was replaced with occasional chocolates. The cloud-to-ground thunderstorms were over and serenity regained.

Other alternatives:
   Apply a paste of something your baby dislikes or
   a) Chyavanaprash
   b) Raw Bitter guard paste

I continued wearing sweaters and made the source very less appealing. Just to be safe and to sign off the mission.. but the sourness of the aloe vera powder still stays in his tongue!

Sanskrit : Kumirirasasambhava, Sahisira
Assamese : Musabhar, Machambar
Bengali : Ghritakalmi
English : Indian Aloe
Gujrati : Eliyo, Eariyo
Hindi : Musabhar, Elva
Kannada : Karibola, Lolesara satva, Lovalsara, Lolesara
Kashmiri : Musabbar, Siber
Malayalam : Chenninayakam
Marathi : Korphad
Oriya : Musabara
Punjabi : Kalasohaga, Mussabar, Alua
Tamil : Kattazhi, Satthukkathazhai
Telugu : Musambaram
Urdu : Musabbar, Ailiva, Siber


Now, after the weaning we got to take care ourselves.
Time will eventually help in drying up your milk supply, but there are things you can do to speed up the process and keep you comfortable.
If your breasts become over gorged, express some milk.
But do not empty your breast since that might trick your brain and trigger in producing even more milk.
In my case, it took 3-4 days to completely dry off.
Another solution to reduce supply is the frozen cabbage leaf trick. It even gives relief from cracked and sore nipples. Pop them in the freezer and place them around your swollen breasts.. may be keep it firm inside the bra. Replace them when they start to wilt.

Finally i have it all to myself!! :D I have had a wonderful chance to incredibly bond with my baby that will last me a lifetime. As I had shared my thoughts earlier about breastfeeding- its a divine expression of motherhood, an art of being a woman. Enjoy it and be a proud mother.

Omy at 6th month (anna prachanam)


  1. Oh such a cutie pie he is. Good read and informative too,u shd write more often.

  2. Very informative post.. when i am pregnant, i will surely come to you for suggestions :D

  3. Very useful post. U r son is very cute. This very important for people like me who are going to get ready for mother hood. u have a grt collection for kids should take many lessons from u.

  4. He is so cute...thts a lovely pic of both mom and son, Lovely and usefl write up as well:)

  5. Rachu,

    Loved the first pic of 'The Wonder Amma with her wonder boy!' Awesome write-up. Very informative and useful for Moms.


  6. He looks so cute ...and love the 1st pics..your posts are always so informative ..

  7. Rachu....thats very informative...i am forwarding this site to my sis-in -law who is expecting her first baby in few mths....if she oes write to u...hope u respond

  8. your son is so cute ....I too have a 3 year old daughter .We are in US from the time she was 6 months old. I still remember those days when my mom wasn't around and I had to single handedly take care of her .This is such a nice article you have come up with, I guess it's going to help a lot of new moms . I too have started a blog named Do visit my blog sometimes and let me know your valuable comments !

  9. Your omy never stopped attracting me with his charm. Such a useful post, keep posting more.....

  10. Omy looks cute as always. My little one stopped taking breast milk by 6 months, as she found more easy to get milk from bottle than from sucking.

  11. This is very very informative...I am going through this phase now....Thanks a lot for sharing it....Omy is so sweet...and the first pic is super...IMHO,you should make a frame of that pic :)


  12. ur son is a sweetie...nice post....I have been thru this phase 2 yrs ago!....
    Thanx for visiting my blog dear!...
    keep visiting!...following u !

    Smitha's Spicy Flavors

  13. This is a very well written post.It would be helpful to many new mommies out there.Loved your picture with Omy and his baby pic.

  14. oh my word - what a cutiepie you have there -quite the ludoo!

  15. Your son is supercute. loved his pictures and ur success story !

  16. ur blog is very useful for new mom's like me. my son is 10m old.Omy is so cute!

  17. Omy is such a sweetheart!
    I have an 18 mth old and i must admit that this is the most useful post i've come across so far. Even I have tried all the above methods except the last one, the trump card method. Shall try it soon when the time is right, I hope it works for me too.

  18. Hi..its a nice post i am also goin thru dis way nwadays..tried neem ,bt my cute wipd js lik omy..let me try chenninayakm...:-P

  19. Hi...
    Did ur baby show any side effects after using the thing?
    Like dirhea etc. And howany times in a day did you apply it?does 1 application suffice?
    My baby is 16 minths too and while I was rwading ur case...i felt like tats me n my..gosh.


Thanks for your comments.