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Implications of weaning my son


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#1 Spiritosa

Posted 23 April 2012 - 03:01 PM

Hi All

My son is now 13 months old and has 2 breastfeeds a day, just before breakfast and just before dinner.

My son is a 'sporadic' kind of feeder. Some feeds he'll have a big drink, at other times he's very disinterested and has little more than a few sucks. He is a voracious eater of solid food so I am fairly sure he is getting good 'conventional' nutrition, although I realise nothing can make up for the benefits of breastmilk.

I am now back at work in a role that has, traditionally, involved a lot of travel.

As I knew would happen sooner or later, I've been asked to go on an international business trip in late June (my son will be 15 months old). I have raised the issue at work of my son breastfeeding and there is a tacit (although not overwhelming) agreement by my employer that, if necessary, my son can accompany me on the trip.

Whilst this is a positive step, there are lots of disadvantages - not least dragging my son 24+ hours to Northern Europe and then back again in the space of a week. Other problems include leaving him in a hotel room with a stranger (nanny) while I am working and dealing with jet-lag in both directions. (At the moment, he is a great night sleeper in a solid routine.)

There is little prospect of the company paying for my husband to accompany me and even if he does, this won't make up for the discomfort and disruption that will be caused to my son.

Selfishly, this business trip is important for me as it is in connection with a recent promotion and would be very useful in my new role to attend. I have considered declining to go on the trip but, to be really honest, I think I would rather go than not - mainly for the prospects such a trip affords my career.


My question is, if, on balance I decide that the best thing to do is to a) go on the business trip and b) leave him at home with Dad, what are the health and psychological (his) impact of weaning at around 14 months?

I really am torn about the right thing to do!

The GP says that if I left him for a week he would almost certainly wean. I could also express but I am out of practice with the 'mind-state' needed to effectively express and I take about 1/2 an hour to get about 30mls at the moment (I struggle to get let down) so expressing is not a sure fire remedy either.

I know I've done well to breastfeed into his second year but I always imagined that he would lead the weaning process and I feel guilty as I feel that I am weaning him for my own selfish purposes. Some of you may agree.

Comments, advice appreciated.

Spiritosa

#2 Copper and May

Posted 23 April 2012 - 03:16 PM

As you say - you have done a marvellous job so far and given your son the best start in life. Some mums have to wean around 12 months, because of IVF, so don't feel terrible about this. I wouldn't be hauling him around Europe with people whom he doesn't recognize.

#3 Flutter Bug

Posted 23 April 2012 - 03:21 PM

When my DD1 was approx 13 months old I 'unintentionally' weaned her. She was BF first thing in the morning and before bed at night.  I got very sick with food poisoning one morning and as guilty as I felt about it I just couldn't bear to breastfeed her as I was so unwell. So I didn't BF her that morning. And she didn't miss it.  I didn't breastfeed her that night either and she didn't come looking for it and went straight to bed without making a fuss. I was shocked and surprised that she just coped with going cold-turkey with the BF just like that. From that day on I didn't BF her again. I felt a bit sad about it but she obviously didn't want it anymore - I think it had become more of a 'habit' than anything else as my breasts coped really well with going cold-turkey too so maybe my supply wasn't all that great by that stage anyway.

Not to say that it would be that easy for everbody but she coped very well and didn't miss it at all.

So perhaps your Dr is right - if you did leave him for a week he would most likely wean off the breastfeeds? You have done really well to BF into his 2nd year, I don't think you need to feel guilty about weaning him but I can definitely understand why you would feel that way!

Best of luck - sorry I don't really have any advice but thought I'd share my experience with you.





#4 Tesseract

Posted 23 April 2012 - 03:28 PM

I'll be watching this thread carefully as I face an almost identical dilemma! Except I'll be gone for two weeks and my DD will be 20 months. I'm pretty committed to breastfeeding, I know at that age it wouldn't bother most people, but I am still concerned...especially the emotional impact as you say OP.

Did your GP say that he would "almost definitely" wean because he would lose the habit/forget or because your supply would dwindle without regular pumping?

#5 mmk

Posted 23 April 2012 - 03:32 PM

If my two choices were a week of work in Europe with a 15mo or weaning him, I'm sorry, but I'd be weaning (unless there were extreme medical issues where bm was his main food source).  

I fed DS until 12mo and then weaned him so I could have surgery (not life threatening).  We had a lot of dramas early on, so I get how much effort you've put in to get to 13/15 months.  In a 'normal' baby, by that age their getting top ups from the milk only, and their main source of food should be from food.  It's not like you're weaning a 4mo and not offering formula, you're weaning a child that is eating 3 meals a day.  I know 2yo is the recommendation, but I'd be feeling pretty chuffed that we got to 15 months and leave him home.  

And, if that's what you decide to do, please don't feel guilty!  You've done fantastic to get so far and I think the trip will make a big difference to you going back to being a person again and not just a mum.  The boys will cope perfectly fine without you, and the trip will be good for your career.  He's 15mo, nothing to feel guilty over!

#6 Tall Poppy

Posted 23 April 2012 - 03:41 PM

If you wish to try and continue the breastfeeding relationship I'm sure that the ABA ould have some advice for you 1800 MUM 2 MUM.

If you are happy to wean you've done a brilliant job and be proud of that. The advice I have heard is "don't offer a feed, don't refuse a feed" this will allow it to taper off slowly for the both of you as you still have a few months till your trip. The ABA can also offer advice about weaning as well if you're interested.

I'd be reluctant to have a stranger mind my baby but I know others who it wouldn't bother. Only you can decide this. Do you have family that could come along? The jet lag will be an issue and hard but not impossible.

#7 PurpleChicken

Posted 23 April 2012 - 03:41 PM

I had to return to work when DD was 9 months old and as a result, my milk supply dwindled rapidly and I had to wean her well before I was ready sad.gif.  

She on the other hand, didn't seem to mind at all.  She was already taking a bottle so I just stopped the remaining night time BF.  

As far as I can tell, she hasn't suffered either emotionally or physically.  She's put on weight still & seems to be a well adjusted (as adjusted as a 21mo can be anyway rolleyes.gif) little girl.

I think oftentimes that it's the mother who finds it more traumatic to wean than the child.  I know I really struggled with it emotionally as I wanted to continue much longer than we did.

Edited by PurpleChicken, 23 April 2012 - 03:42 PM.


#8 Spiritosa

Posted 23 April 2012 - 04:47 PM

Thanks for all the words of support ladies...I think I do feel guilty because I always imagined that it would be baby-led weaning rather than me driving the weaning for my own reasons.

I'm beginning to understand that it is hard to know what is the right balance to strike between family and career!

Bad Kitteh - it could be within the realm of possibility for my husband to come with me if I were to take the baby but it would come at considerable financial cost - he would have to take annual leave and the company is not currently offering to pay for a ticket for him. I get to fly business class for work but we couldn't afford to spring for a business class ticket for him out of our own pockets. So, even if we did consider it would be worthwhile to pay for an Economy class ticket for him (which would still be >$2k), that still causes lots of problems - would one of us sit in business and the other in economy? Would we both sit in economy and give the company a 'windfall' for want of a better term even though we are already paying for my husband's ticket? Plus, it would be hard on my husband to have to watch a baby in a hotel room on his own for a week on end (even if they do get out a bit) - As much as I'd like taking the baby to be the 'right solution' I just can't see a way where it will work well for everybody - or even 'most'.

Plus, you're all  right - I think I am really sad that this special time (breastfeeding) will be coming to an end for us.A bit melodramatic, perhaps, but as one of my friends puts it - it really marks the beginning of what they were born to do - leave you!! cry1.gif

Edited by Spiritosa, 23 April 2012 - 04:47 PM.


#9 FeralZupee

Posted 23 April 2012 - 08:27 PM

I think you've done a wonderful job to get to 15 months, so you should feel very proud of yourself regardless of which way you decide to go.

Just a quick thought, for business trips at my work, they allow you to 'cash' in your business class ticket to purchase two economy tickets instead if you want. Would your work consider this? I think they'd end up better off money wise, but on the other hand, it means you may have to allow yourself recovery time when you arrive to sleep off the cramped conditions before getting stuck into work. Might be something to think about though?

#10 Spiritosa

Posted 23 April 2012 - 08:54 PM

QUOTE (Tesseract @ 23/04/2012, 03:28 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
Did your GP say that he would "almost definitely" wean because he would lose the habit/forget or because your supply would dwindle without regular pumping?


Sorry I missed this question before Tesseract. Good question by the way! I am not entirely certain but I took it as meaning that he would lose the habit...if I see her again soon I'll ask her! She's a GP as well as a lactation consultant so I am fairly confident that her predictions are reliable.

QUOTE (Squeak's Mum @ 23/04/2012, 08:27 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
Just a quick thought, for business trips at my work, they allow you to 'cash' in your business class ticket to purchase two economy tickets instead if you want. Would your work consider this? I think they'd end up better off money wise, but on the other hand, it means you may have to allow yourself recovery time when you arrive to sleep off the cramped conditions before getting stuck into work. Might be something to think about though?


Thanks for the suggestion Squeak's Mum - its a good idea! Long story but we are a wholly owned Australian subsidiary of a European company. The European policy (being in the geographical confines of Europe) is that all travel is economy. Because we are so far away, we have bucked that policy and are allowed to travel business for international. It used to be the case that we could 'cash' a business ticket in for two economy ticket but this turned out to be very contentious - the Europeans saw that only only did we have the benefit of business, but we could also then milk the policy to take partners on a junket! So in the end, policy is business class only, no cashing in for partners.

Having said that, I probably could convince my boss that this would be an exceptional circumstance and to relax the policy BUT THEN the thought of 24+ hours in economy with a wriggly 15 month old vs 24 hours of lying down peace and quiet on my own....even though I love my son very, very much...you know the rest.

#11 FeralZupee

Posted 23 April 2012 - 09:06 PM

QUOTE (Spiritosa @ 23/04/2012, 08:54 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
Having said that, I probably could convince my boss that this would be an exceptional circumstance and to relax the policy BUT THEN the thought of 24+ hours in economy with a wriggly 15 month old vs 24 hours of lying down peace and quiet on my own....even though I love my son very, very much...you know the rest.


Oh yes, I can definitely understand!! In the very near future I'm facing a 24 hr flight with my 11month old, and I know which one I'd prefer wink.gif

#12 lucky 2

Posted 23 April 2012 - 09:30 PM

I think there is a possibility that he will wean with a separation of one week but there is a possibility that he wont. You will only know after you return, he may jump into your arms and try to get under your top or he may not. Or he may look for your breast at any other time. He may associate you with your breasts and want them back.
You may need to consider taking a pump or being prepared to hand express even if you are not "good" at it. Your breast may be unimpressed with no bfing and may become uncomfortable.
I found warm packs and leaning forward a bit helped me to let down as quickly as possible. And deep breathing, calming me down.
All the best.

#13 Feral-chillibean

Posted 24 April 2012 - 06:57 AM

You could just see how it goes, as lucky2 said above. It may or may not be the end of BFing. I would still go in the trip though, and not take your son. I hated the babyjetlag and I Woul
Be worried about leaving my baby with a stranger.

I weaned DD1 for my own selfish reasons at 15 months. By that time she was down to 1-2 feeds per day, and was having cows milk in a bottle (she had some formula when I returned to work at 9 months). She would normally feed morning and night, sometimes skipping the morning. I just gave her a bottle instead and gradually stopped offering the breast. I felt a little sad, but also nice to have my body "back" and feel
more myself again....

#14 hunter4

Posted 24 April 2012 - 08:31 AM

It sounds like you're leaning in the opposite direction at the moment but I just thought I'd add my two cents worth in.

When DD was 16 months old my DH was sent on a work trip to Paris for 1 week.  No way was I letting DH go to Paris without me so DD and I decided to tag along (I was also 5 months pregnant at the time).  We didn't have quite as far to go as we were in North America (with stop overs a 12 hour trip) we all flew economy as thats all DH's company was paying for.  What we did was leave the Friday before, spent the weekend in Paris as a family then during the week  I spent the morning exploring the city, naps in the hotel in the afternoon and then met up with DH after work and we'd go out again have dinner out etc.  we then added another 2 weeks holiday on the end but if you didn't have the time available maybe you could just do the extra weekend, make a holiday out of it!

For us it was a great experience and I'd definitely do it again, but obviously it depends on whether you're DH WANTED to go with you, could you get a few extra days off on one end to make a holiday out of it etc.  Just wanted to let you know that it is doable (and fun for the other half) if that's what you end up wanting to do.

Otherwise as PPs have said you can alway try expressing as much as possible whilst away and hope he's willing to take the boob when you get back - even if your supply does dwindle whilst your away it's possible to get it back up again if you want and you (and bubs) are willing.  Otherwise 15 months is a good whack and well done for getting so far.  
.....and for the record, I wouldn't even contemplate not going - it sounds like too good an oportunity to miss!

Edited by hunter4, 24 April 2012 - 08:32 AM.


#15 Spiritosa

Posted 24 April 2012 - 10:14 PM

Thanks for all the additional replies everybody. Its nice to have a 'sounding board' for all these feelings.

I have considered not weaning and seeing how things are when I get back but I am mainly worried about the 'shock' to my son of no boobs and no mum. Finding time and privacy to express on the road might also be tricky but not insurmountable. I think I'll make an appointment to speak to my GP about options.

Hunter4 - sounds like an amazing holiday! We have considered doing something similar but we don't have the ability to extend our stay in Europe (and it is peak season so everything is expensive at that time) but my husband and I also used to live in Stockholm (where I am headed) so, whilst he will be able to entertain himself, the 'newness' is not there so much and we'd probably rather spend money on a holiday to somewhere new (as much as we love Stockholm).

Thanks again for all the advice ladies. Its so nice to have help from such a supportive bunch!




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