Weaning After 1 Year of Breastfeeding – A Bittersweet Experience (Featuring Bun Maternity)

This post was sponsored by Bun Maternity, the most comfortable nursing apparel I own! All opinions (and emotions) in this post are 100% mine.

From the outset of this post I want to affirm that every mother has her own personal journey with feeding and then weaning her baby. I believe wholeheartedly that “fed is best” and that every mom should do what is best for she and her baby. We each “mom” our own way, and I’m just here to share mine.  

My experience with weaning after one year of breastfeeding:

Before having Taylor, and even while I was pregnant, I was actually kind of uncomfortable with the whole concept of breastfeeding. I saw posts of mothers nursing their babies on social media with hashtags like “#normalizebreastfeeding” and I couldn’t imagine that being me. I didn’t think I wanted that experience. I read about the health and bonding benefits and felt,  if it were possible for me to provide that for her, that I wanted to do so. Despite my discomfort and questioning on the outset, I made a commitment to breastfeed Taylor for as long as it was possible for me to do so, and for as long as she showed interest.

From the first moment she was laid on my chest, I understood that this is what I was made to do for her and all my previous discomfort (mental, not physical, because that i$h HURT the first 6 weeks!) melted away as a bond I can never put words to began.

Flash forward 354 days and our sacred, stressful, beautiful, and at times even painful journey with nursing has come to an end. To be honest, there is a sadness that’s come over me which started during the last couple weeks of our weaning process. I didn’t recognize the “down” feeling I had as being connected at first; For so long, I had been thinking of all the positives that would come along with being done with nursing (freedom!), but there it was. I didn’t understand how to go about the whole weaning process, so we kind of just started… Right away I saw that she was ready physically and emotionally and, even though I thought I would be, I wasn’t so much. From start to finish weaning lasted less than 3 weeks for us. I cradled her to me in the wee hours of our last morning and tears streamed down my cheeks as I felt her little body relax and flashes of the thousands of times I held, comforted and nourished her in this way passed through my mind.

Bittersweet. That’s the best word to summarize how I feel about the nursing chapter of my relationship with Taylor coming to a close. Bitter: a feeling of loss of something special between just she and I, and missing the baby that I can’t expect to stay small forever.  Sweet: a sense of freedom, pride in (barely) making it this far, and gaining back time in the day and my body as my own.

Taylor reaped benefits from nearly twelve months of breastfeeding but, unexpectedly, it was also the best thing for me.  My days at home and work were planned around when to nurse or pump. Although (very) frustrating at times, this broke my selfishness and gave me a sense of connection to her even when I was at work – both were things I needed. Although the emotional bond still remains, the end of breastfeeding is a loss of a connection between a mother and child that will never be there again. That’s hard to let go of, and just another sign that my baby is growing up right before my eyes. However, I know that just because she needs me less physically, does not mean she needs less of me. Even though I now have my body back to myself, I will still be 100% there for her in whatever ways she needs me now.

Bun Maternity – Perfect Apparel for Breastfeeding & Beyond

Mirroring the bond that carries over from breastfeeding to independence, the clothing I have from Bun Maternity are also pieces I can continue to wear beyond my breastfeeding days. Bun Maternity has the most stylish, comfortable and convenient, nursing friendly  apparel I’ve come across. I only wish I had known about this clothing line sooner. I’m sure I’ll be stocking up when (if we are so lucky) Taylor gets a sibling… Bun Maternity is affordable anyway, but they also offer FREE shipping on orders of $50 or more, and right now you can save 15% on orders over $50 using code SWEET15.

The design and versatility of these ponchos, hoodies, wraps, tees and tanks make it really easy to incorporate breastfeeding easily at any time. No one would guess that these are nursing tops. Plus, they are super comfy and soft, which are musts for me. The three pieces I own are fantastic for times when we’re on the go and I’ve needed to discreetly nurse in public – shopping, going out to eat, rushing back from the gym to a hungry baby, etc. 

So Soft Breezy Nursing Hoodie (Navy) – Even though I’m now done with nursing, I will continue to wear this breathable, light-weight hoodie for casual errand running and trips to the gym.

High Low Swing Tank (Kale) – This top comes in several colors, but I couldn’t resist the green/kale. The material is very soft and it looks just like a regular tank but with “secret” side panel access for baby; the ideal tank for a busy day of shopping:

Cozy Nursing Hoodie (Black) – Seriously the most comfortable hoodie I own. If you’re in the market for nursing apparel, definitely snag this one! It is perfect for discreet nursing and the shoulder snap is actually hidden by the hood – you would never guess it’s meant for breastfeeding. I’m definitely continuing to wear this staple beyond breastfeeding. Am I the only one that will wear the same, fav sweatshirt every night for like, a week straight? I may or may not be wearing it right now as I edit this post….

For reference, I am 5’ 10” and wear a size Medium in Bun Maternity apparel.

Check out the entire nursing friendly line at www.bunmaternity.com.

If you were a nursing mom, I wonder if you can relate to the thoughts and emotions I sorted through during weaning. How did you feel when you were done with breastfeeding? If you’re still nursing, do you have a plan for when and how you’ll wean? I’d love to hear about your own experience in the comments.

Thank you so much for reading. 

P.S. If you’re still nursing, make sure to check out all my posts on breastfeeding & pumping.

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31 thoughts on “Weaning After 1 Year of Breastfeeding – A Bittersweet Experience (Featuring Bun Maternity)

    1. Thank you, Belle! Each baby (and mama) is so different, but what we all have in common is the incredible bond of love we share with them, which is an amazing and beautiful thing

    1. It was totally unexpected to me, but it seems like lots of mom’s have experience the same mixed emotions. Thanks for reading, Jessica!

  1. I love this post. It’s so honest and is exactly how I feel about weening in a few months. Although I was not expecting it, breastfeeding is one of my favorite things about motherhood. It’s such a sweet special time that no one else gets with my son. I do not have a plan in place yet and that’s probably because I’m dreading that time (wailing mommy).

    1. Awww friend, thank you! I wasn’t expecting to love that part of motherhood either, and was nervous to share this post actually. I would be happy to chat with you about what we did for weaning if that would help! Xo

  2. When I stopped breastfeeding my twins, it was so bittersweet for me because I know they would be my last. Love this post!

    1. Awww thank you so much for reading, Joanna! Sharing this post was more vulnerable than I’m usually comfortable with, but I’m so glad it’s relatable to other mamas like yourself!

  3. I’m just starting the weaning process and am finding it pretty emotional. I keep pushing it back a little more, but know it’s time. I loved this post, and hearing other mom’s go through the same bittersweet feelings. Although ready to get a little more of my life and body back, so sad to not have that time with my son again. Thanks for posting!

    1. Sara, seriously thank you so much for taking the time to read and respond to this post. I was hesitant to share this one on the blog, but I was hoping that it would be read by someone going through or thinking about starting the weaning process and be encouraged. It makes me think of being more vulnerable here because I have the BEST readers ever!

  4. I felt similarly to you about breast feeding. I struggled with it off and on with both of my kids, so it some ways it was nice to be done, but I also had a hard time letting go of the closeness we had as a result of our special snuggle feeding times. A time and a season for everything though, right? Now, we have new ways to bond and develop our relationship. 🙂 Thanks for sharing.

    1. Thank you for your time in reading and commenting. I’m looking forward to seeing what this new chapter brings to my bond with Taylor as well. Hearing your experience is encouraging!

  5. I haven’t been much of a breastfeeding mom with most of my babies. I exclusively breastfed for 4 months with my last baby and it was a love hate thing. This time around with this baby (6 weeks old) I have been supplementing with formula and I find this experience a little more enjoyable. I learned so much about myself and my body from breast feeding my last baby. -Breyona Sharpnack Savage Seven Blog

    1. You’re so right about learning about ourselves through breastfeeding, Breyona! I was totally surprised by how powerful confident decision making in motherhood can be in shaping us. No matter what we decide is best for us and our babies given our circumstances, we can enjoy everything so much more if we’re confidant in those decisions! I was just thinking about whether or not I would exclusively breastfeed if I have another baby or if I would prefer to supplement as well. Exclusively breastfeeding this year was wonderful, but also super stressful and I wonder if I would have enjoyed things more without the pressure?

  6. This made me cry! I’m in the process of weaning my 12.5 month old and the thought of being done with nursing him makes me so sad. But I try to remind myself that I weaned my first baby at the same age and we not only survived but our bond has kept getting stronger the older he gets. I feel you on all of this, though!

    1. You’re so sweet Anne! It helps me so much to hear that your bond has grown even stronger as he grow older. I’m trying to remind myself that it’s not like it’s the end of our closeness. But it just feels that way right now. I’ll be thinking of you as you are continuing through the weaning process. And congrats on nursing for 12.5 months!!

  7. I breastfed my first for a year and my second for a year and a half. I miss it so much–but I don’t miss being tied down to their eating schedule. I really do love nursing though!

    1. It’s such a sweet experience. I agree with you though, Kiley – being tied down to a baby’s eating schedule is a lot of pressure on us mamas!

  8. I was pretty pumped (no pun intended) to be done with breastfeeding the second time around. My second daughter never took a bottle, so planning time out was soooo hard. Had she taken a bottle I may have lasted a few more months. Even so, it was a tad bittersweet (but more sweet for me 😉 )

    1. I am thinking of a bitter versus sweet balancing scale now lol mine has definitely tipped more toward sweet now but WOW I can so see that being the case since your 2nd daughter never took a bottle – that’s a lot of pressure on mama! Thank you for reading, Danielle!

  9. These are such cute pieces! I’ll have to check them out! And I am still worried about the day that we start weaning. My little one is 8.5 months right now so it’s not far away!

    1. It’s hard, but my advice would be to not worry (as much as possible) and enjoy the connection each day while it’s still there. It will be okay : ) it’s been a week now since Taylor weaned, and it’s getting easier and less emotional already! Thank you for reading, Ashley!

  10. I’m kind of the same way. I feel like my baby is starting to wean at 15 months and I’m a teeny bit happy and a teeny bit sad… I kinda wanna hold on to it! LOL!

  11. My son weaned himself (13 months) and I cried! I wanted to go on but looking back I realize it was best. He was already crazy independent and I was pregnant with baby #2 so it was his way of saying, “Mom I’m done, take care of baby sister now!” It’s never easy though but the changes and independence are just signs they are growing up.

    1. It’s a good thing to see them asserting their independence, but also hard to let go! I would much rather be in the situation you and I were in – where our babes weaned themselves when they were ready – than to deal with the angst of cutting them off when they weren’t!

  12. Beautiful post momma! Weaning is so bittersweet but it sounds like she’s doing great and I hope you’re enjoying some newfound freedom 🙂 This line looks AMAZING for nursing moms, too 🙂

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