I nursed #6 all the way up until the day I left on the cruise. My goal was to pump (I did) while away to alleviate pain and to keep my supply up. I knew he would take a bottle, and since the cute boy turns a year old this week, he started on almond milk instead of formula. I was worried, however, about his sleeping habits, since he nursed to sleep and was still waking 1-2 times a night. My SIL assured me it would be okay.
The first night, she texted to let me know he had woken up twice, and each time she simply gave him his bottle and he was able to get back to sleep/settle down within 10 minutes. I left cell phone coverage and internet access feeling confident it would work out.
And boy howdy, it did! Not only did he do fine with the bottle, but by the second night he was sleeping all night. No wakings. No feedings. My SIL was putting him down at 8:30PM or so, and he was sleeping until about 8AM the next morning. Wha!? How awesome is that!?
I was anxious to start nursing again, although I figured it would mean regressing back to night feedings. However, a nagging thought in the back of my head told me that it might be over...
And it looks like it is. I sat down to nurse with him yesterday morning, but he wouldn't nurse. Wouldn't even try to latch on. Didn't want it --wanted the bottle. I tried again that afternoon, and he wouldn't have anything to do with it. At first I thought it was because he was mad with me for leaving, but as the day wore on, I realized he's just content with a bottle. I've heard of this happening and I was afraid it might happen, but because I left cold turkey (I was nursing about 6 times a day), I figured he'd miss it. Obviously, he does not. I mean, he wants me to hold him while I feed him his bottle and schnuggle up in his blanket, but he wants me to keep my shirt on while we're schnuggling.
I learned three things from this:
1. I felt inspired to nurse him completely until I left and to not start formula. I had tried for 2 months to buy formula-- I would seriously be standing in the store, staring at all the different brands of formula, logically telling myself to start weaning him immediately to formula, but I just couldn't bring myself to buy it. I was physically and emotionally constrained from doing it! I think this is because Heavenly Father knew he wouldn't go back to nursing, and so I was able to nurse as long as possible and not waste money on the formula he wouldn't need. And to give him the nutrition his body needed, too.
2. Making myself feel guilty for leaving on a trip with my husband, thereby cutting my nursing experience with #6 short, won't help anything. The trip wasn't necessarily optional (trust me on this one) and so driving myself insane with guilty feelings will help nobody. I feel sad, yes, but not completely upset. First of all, I tried to start nursing again and it was the baby that didn't want it. True, if I hadn't left... but still. "If's" don't help because they didn't happen. I did leave. He doesn't want to nurse. It is what it is, eh? Also, my body is so tired. Done. Exhausted. It's been a long year and the idea of having my body back for a time is actually kind of nice.
3. Because he's no longer nursing, he's sleeping ALL NIGHT LONG. Without crying! Not once has he cried himself to sleep! He's a year old on Saturday, sleeping through the night, weaned, and all I had to do was go on a vacation with my husband. Seriously, I couldn't have asked for anything better. Which takes me back to #1 and #2: I have plead with my Heavenly Father to alleviate my sleepless nights in a way that would not emotionally harm my baby. And He answered my prayers in a beautiful way.
Would I have liked to keep nursing? Sure. But I'm at peace with the situation.
For the record:
I nursed #1 for 8 months (went on a trip).
I nursed #2 for 8 months (biter).
I nursed #3 for 10 months (biter).
I nursed #4 for 8 months (huge biter).
I nursed #5 for one year (went on a trip for a wedding).
I nursed #6 for nearly a year (went on a trip).