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An Unexpected End: My Bittersweet Weaning Experience

breastfeeding, bottle feeding, weaning and eating solids

When breast-feeding your little one is unexpectedly terminated, it brings up a lot of bittersweet emotion.

I fed my daughter, Vera, for seven sweet months. But after returning from ABC Kids Expo in Las Vegas, my sickness returned, forcing me to take medicine, and inevitably contaminating my breast milk.

The last time I fed Vera was around noon, sadly going to work shortly after as she napped. I returned around 2:00 p.m. to find out from Grandma that Vera wouldn’t drink from the milk bottle, even though it was filled with my breast milk.

As Vera slept, I worried about this predicament. She woke up relatively happy and not in need of any milk. She ate some apple sauce, pooped a little, and stayed pretty content as I took her brothers to piano class at 5:00 p.m. In this brief time slot, Grandma stayed home to try bottle feeding Vera.

But when I returned at 6:30, I found a crying Vera. She had only drank 1oz before refusing to drink beyond that. She was already extremely grumpy and exhausted from crying. Even as I carried her and tried to bottle feed her, she still wouldn’t take the bottle and kept crying. I was dismayed -- would my little one survive without my breast milk?

I warmed up the remaining milk for my second attempt at bottle feeding Vera. I was relieved to find that not only did she drink the remaining breast milk, but she also drank 2 additional oz of the formula. What an improvement!

Dad and Vera played until 8:40 p.m. After a soothing bath, dad took over bottle-feeding. I had to stand to the side, filling overwhelmed by all of the emotions of transitioning Vera into formula. These months of nursing her had come to a sad close, and thinking of how she would never rely on her mommy nursing her again brought tears to my eyes.

Rocking Vera to sleep that night felt different -- but I was confident that no matter what kind of milk she drank, she would always be safe and happy as long as she was by mom’s side.