Sleep Training And Weaning My 10 Month Old.

Remember when I sleep trained my toddler? Well, I decided it was time to sleep train my 10 months old baby. His sleeping habits, as of three weeks ago, were amuck; 1 - 2 am would normally find him wide awake, smiling and ready to play. To be fair, I would also normally be up trying to get some work done myself but, I realised I needed to make some changes. I also meant to wean him once and for all; I had started sometime in May but gave up after about 3 days due to a few reasons, his heartbreaking weeping (it wasn't a "cry" i tell you, it was such a heartful weep, lol) and the fact that I couldn't stand the pain of my over-filled bosoms some of them. I thought the time I'd set out to sleep train him was also a good time to wean him- just so he faced the "trying" period and got over it once and for all and not have to go through the emotional experience twice.

The method I used was the cry-it-out method and what I did was basically:

1) Day 1: Breastfed him once on the day, augumenting with two bottles of milk, one of which he had in the evening. So, I made sure he had his dinner by 7, had a bath and his bottle before putting him in his cot at 8-ish. I let him cry and would go into his room to stroke his face after about 20 mins, lengthening the time at which I went in to check on him. This lasted for about an 1 hour 20 mins and just when I was about to go in and pick him up to sleep on my bed, he fell asleep. Sweet.

2) Day 2: Same feeding and bathing routine and popped him into his cot at 8-ish. No breastfeeds today though. Crying persisted for another 1hr 20-ish mins. I guessed it was because of the absence of the breastfeed but I persisted regardless. He eventually went to bed and woke up crying at about 1- 2 am (when I would normally pacify him with a breastfeed). I went into his room and offered him some water in a bottle which he took and we all went back to bed in peace.

3) Day 3: Same feeding routine. No breastfeeds. My boobies were now painfully engorged and very uneasy, gave me a headache. He was asleep after about 30-40 mins. Offered him a bottle of water at night and left that in his cot for him for whenever he wanted it.

4) Day 4: Same feeding routine. He's begun to really look out for his bottle of milk now and still tries to struggle with my blouse- which is a pain as every contact with my frontal, hugs et al, hurt like maaadddd! I was in sooooo much pain. He, however, went to bed after about 20 mins of crying.

This went on like this for about 7 days until he now knew to cry and comfort himself to sleep without needing anyone to pick him up and rock him. I also noticed that about the third day in the weaning process, I became really moody and just couldn't be my upbeat self. Add that to the stress of the pain I was in + other aspects of life that were not exactly going as I had planned and you get a fair idea of  what it was like. I went in search of how best to deal with the excruciating pain I was iunder and how long it would be until my boobs got back to their normal size and were then painless. In reading the many articles online, I realised that;

1) Mums did tend to get depressed and extremely sad, tearful and depressed when weaning their baby as it meant the end of a bond they had come to know. The medical explanation given for it is that one of the changes that occurs with weaning is a drop in prolactin and oxytocin levels. Prolactin, a hormone that is required for milk production, also brings with it a feeling of well-being, calmness and relaxation. Oxytocin, the hormone that is required for milk ejection (let-down), is sometimes referred to as the “love hormone.” It makes sense that a sudden decrease in these hormones could have an effect on a weaning mother’s emotions. The page also said that it was normally easier, for both baby and mother, for the weaning process to be drawn out and not stopped abruptly as it gave the body sometime to get used to the reduction in the level of hormones. it was generally considered a "gentler" approach. 

Whilst looking for info on how long it would take until my engorged breasts went back to their normal size and the excruciating pain subsided, some people said theirs took about 7 days and others, two weeks. I was about 5 days in at the time and almost tearing my hair out. Then one day, I decided to do some cardio and HIIT (I've been really lazy with my workout and haven't really been committed...) I wore a pair of my immovable sports bra and after the work out, I really liked how the support from the bra literally made me not conscious of the pain when working out so I decided to wear the bra the whole day. I took it off at night and found that the engorgement was a lot less. I wore it the next day (and slept with it). The next morning presented with such visibly shruken boobies. I wondered why I didn't wear them sooner rather than subject myself to all that pain....
So I came to the conclusion that wearing a fully supportive bra or a tight one that covered the entire surface of your breasts helped to shrink breast engorgement during the process of weaning. I've not researched it to know if this is a fact but I am just telling you my own experience. So, I thought I make this post for any mom, especially new moms, who might be looking for some information and step-by-steps about how to go about this. 

Hope you find this useful and informative. Also, please share your absolutely fool-proof tips for dealing with breast engorgement during your own weaning process; I've heard so much about cold cabbage leaves but, that did not work for me. Did it work for you?

Love and Light my friends,

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