Jamie Kenney

12 Things I Wish I Knew When I Started Weaning

Ad failed to load

There's been a lot of ink spilled (including mine) on the difficulties parents face when breastfeeding. While there were times I found nursing difficult, I actually found weaning, overall, to be a greater personal challenge, even though it's (arguably) discussed less. If I had a time-traveling DeLorean (which is totally something I hope to have one day), I would 1) Have dinner with Oscar Wilde; 2) Kill Hitler (you kinda have to if you have a time machine); and 3) Visit my past breastfeeding self and share the things I wish I knew before I started weaning.

Like breastfeeding itself, there is no single weaning experience. How weaning will go and how people will feel about weaning while they're going through it vary from, you guessed it, person to person. Most American mothers wean their babies well before a year; Some women wean out of necessity, due to inability to breastfeed or technical issues related to nursing; Some children wean themselves, which causes some mothers elation and others, absolute sorrow.

Speaking personally, I weaned my children at 17 months and 21 months (way past the national average) and so I'm certain that weaning toddlers and weaning infants is a whole different ballgame. Then again, I'm also sure weaning my toddlers and someone weaning their toddlers, is completely different. So, while I can only speak to my own personal experiences here, I think there are some things that I wish I could have known ahead of time that other breastfeeding mothers may find helpful, as they stare weaning in the face.

Ad failed to load

My Child's Shrieking Tantrums Would Put Veruca Salt To Shame


Remember the scene in Trainspotting where Renton's parents lock him in a room to detox and he has a series of horrifying fever dreams that cause him to scream uncontrollably? Angry screams. Scared screams. Terrified screams. That's the kind of screaming I'm talking about. My kids were hurricanes of emotion at the beginning of the weaning process. It was not pretty.

My Milk Wouldn't Go Away For, Like, Ever

Forever. My breasts are like the grandma who won't let you get away with eating just one helping and, instead, keeps prodding you to take more, no matter how many times you assure her that you're full. It's like they're saying, "Eat! Eat! You're so skinny! Here! There's so much left! Eat more! Take some home with you!" I weaned my daughter almost four months ago, but apparently my boobs didn't get the memo.

My Kids Would Get Ridiculously Clingy


Any major change has the potential to prompt a kid to latch on a little more (no pun intended), and weaning is definitely a big change. All of a sudden, daycare drop-off got emotional and weepy. We went from sleeping through the night to waking every couple of hours for a reassuring cuddle. I didn't put two and two together and realized that the weaning likely caused the clingy-ness, until we were through the worst of it.  

Ad failed to load

My Hormones Would Go Bonkers...

After being pregnant or nursing for almost 5 years, consecutively, I probably shouldn't have been caught off-guard by the fact that I underwent a massive hormonal change when it all came to an end, but I definitely was. There is not a lot of research on post-weaning depression and, after my experience, it is a sincere wish that more is done in the future. After years of riding an oxytocin high, I crashed hard when my body wasn't producing as much of it anymore. It was difficult to get through a day without feeling completely overwhelmed and weepy: it essentially felt like epic PMS that lasted two and a half months.

...And Exercise Would Help To Calm Those Hormones


Around the time I started to feel depressed, I felt the highly uncharacteristic need to go running. Now, something you should know about me: I'm absurdly out of shape. I hadn't run outside of, like, running to catch a subway, since I was 16 and had to run a mile in gym class (my time was 11 minutes 30 seconds, and I was trying). I thought this bizarre caprice was unrelated to my abysmal hormonal state, but it turns out that my body was trying to tell me something. Because after I (finally) went running, I felt exponentially better, almost giddy. So, I made running a habit and on the days I couldn't run, I felt it. I would go back to the really frazzled, despondent depression that running was combating. Simple exercise isn't an effective treatment for depression in all people, but it was for me.

Some People Would Test My Patience

After weaning, people's opinions on what they'd thought about my breastfeeding was something I just couldn't handle. (Mainly the, "Thank goodness! It was definitely time for you to stop!") It's like, "Dude, no boobs, no opinion (and even if you have boobs, still no opinion)."

Ad failed to load

Newborns Would Begin To Be Completely Irresistible And I Would Have To Fight Their Siren Song


While I was nursing my daughter, my second and last child, I didn't pay too much mind to the itties bitties who crossed my path. Now that she's no longer on the breast, however, I can't resist shamelessly gazing at each and every squealing, heart-melting newborn I see. My ovaries were playing cruel tricks on me, and I had to fight against this witchcraft because my partner and I had established that we were very happy to remain #twoandthrough.

It Wouldn't Go Exactly As I'd Planned

Does anything, though? When I got ready to begin weaning my son, I always assumed we would slowly whittle down the number of sessions we had in a day until, eventually, he would seamlessly just sort of pop off the boob, kind of like a tick. But, like an actual tick, he had to be pried off with a lot of difficulty and no small degree of annoyance for all involved. We wound up doing something I never wanted to do: cold turkey. My daughter's weaning went a little more according to plan (due, I'm sure, to the fact that this wasn't my first rodeo), but even a second time around, I was up against some stumbling blocks and setbacks.

My Boobs Would Still Be Groped Pretty Constantly


Real talk: my son didn't stop sticking his hand down the front of my shirt (for comfort, when he was scared, absentmindedly, or for fun) until he was about three and a half years old. My daughter, who was recently weaned, is even less smooth about it. She doesn't just stick her hand down my shirt or in my cleavage, she grabs onto as much of my boob as she can and jiggles it. It's like living a very long episode of Mad Men.

Ad failed to load

My Boobs Would Deflate

I swear to God, sometimes I can even hear the sad trombone sound effect when I take my bra off. Fortunately, I hear from several reliable sources that, for many formerly nursing moms, breasts regain size and shape around six months after weaning.

There Is No One Way To Feel


Some women feel a tremendous sense of loss during and after weaning. Others feel a wistful fondness. More still feel unmitigated joy at the freedom of, "having their bodies back to themselves." All of those feelings are completely valid. You're not a jerk if you're not sobbing at the idea of weaning. You're not a crybaby even if weaning makes you cry like a baby. Breastfeeding, on every level and at every stage, is deeply personal, and that includes weaning.

All The Good Feelings I Felt While Breastfeeding Would Find New Outlets


The sweet cuddles, the on-boob smiles, the special bond that had been highlighted by breastfeeding my children, were not exclusively caused by breastfeeding them. So, when that was something we didn't do anymore, we still had that love and closeness: it just finds new ways to manifest.

Ad failed to load
Must Reads

8 Things That *Will* Go Wrong Every Time You Plan A Kid-Free Night

The last time my husband and I went out to dinner alone was… actually, I can’t remember. But I can count on one hand how many times I’ve seen a movie in a theater in the last year. Before we had children we used to go out all the time. But even with …
By Liza Wyles

These Photos Of North West Then & Now Will Take You On A Sweet Trip Down Memory Lane

When Kim Kardashian welcomed her first daughter, North West, with her husband, Kanye West, in 2013, her whole life was changed. The social media and reality TV star became a mom for the first time and her Instagram presence took a very adorable turn.…
By Casey Suglia

11 Photos You *Must* Take During The Last Days Of Your Pregnancy

During my first pregnancy, I took a photo each week to document my growing belly. I stopped around 36 weeks, though. I hated how I looked in those pictures, and didn't think I'd want to relive those moments. I was wrong. My second pregnancy was a dum…
By Steph Montgomery

This Is What It Means If Your Pregnancy Test Changes Overnight

The time between when a woman suspects she might be pregnant and when it is confirmed for sure is the longest of her life. Regardless of whether you are hoping for a positive or a negative result, the odds are good that you are sweating bullets when …
By Shannon Evans

6 Red Flags To Definitely Look Out For After Your Baby Falls

The first time my infant son tried to take a few steps, he tumbled and bumped his head on the coffee table. My blood turned to ice in my veins and I froze. There truly isn't anything quite like the feeling a parent gets when their little one gets hur…
By Sarah Bunton

These 9 Instant Pot Recipes Will Make Even The Pickiest Eater Happy At The Table

Like any parent, I've had my share of parenting hits and misses, but one of my favorite "wins" is my daughter's diverse palate. I don't even know if I can take credit for it, but I would like to think I had something to do with her love for lentils, …
By Caroline Shannon-Karasik

Turns Out, Kim Kardashian's Favorite Mom Products Look A Lot Like Your Own Faves

Being a mom is really hard work, especially for the first few months, and Kim Kardashian West is no different in that regard. Now the mother of three, Kardashian says that there are a few products she just can't live without when it comes to raising …
By Abi Berwager Schreier

Soda Might Hurt Your Fertility, Study Says, & Here's What You Can Do

Who doesn't love sugary drinks? I stopped drinking soda years ago, but I still love gulping down those fancy Starbucks coffee beverages. I don't have a big sweet tooth, but I am a sucker for sugar-sweetened beverages every now-and-then. Turns out, th…
By Annamarya Scaccia

10 Things No One Tells You About Having A Baby In Your 30s

If you're like me, you evaluate the pros and cons of any major life decision. When my husband and I were considering starting a family, I thought about my career, education, and financial stability. I wanted to know how a pregnancy and childbirth wou…
By Steph Montgomery

This Woman Thought She Had An Eyelash Stuck In Her Eye. Then It Moved.

I'm not a person who is easily icked out. As a kid, I collected bugs and thought I was going to be an entomologist and asked Santa Claus for ant farms and nets to catch bees. I'm still super curious about anything that flies and crawls, which might s…
By Karen Fratti

5 Red Flags Your Toddler Isn't Eating Enough

Toddlers are notoriously picky eaters, at least in my experience. You offer mashed potatoes, they want french fries. You give them crackers, they scream for chips. It's frustrating, to be sure, but it's usually their way of vying for independence. It…
By Candace Ganger

11 Ways Your Pregnancy Will Be Different If You Have A Boy Vs A Girl

If you've been pregnant before, you might start comparing your previous pregnancies to that of your current pregnancy. A lot of things can change from pregnancy to pregnancy, based on a whole host of different factors (including how well you remember…
By Lauren Schumacker

35 Moms Share The Most Disgusting Things Their Husbands Do

I'm a human being who revels in challenges. I like when people present me with one, especially if they don't think I can meet or succeed it, and I like taking a challenge on, especially if it's unexpected. So when I aimed to uncover the most disgusti…
By Jamie Kenney

How Having Kids In Your 20s Affects You Later In Life

For parents, like myself, who had kids in their 20s, there are a number of questions that come to mind. When you're deciding what your future will look like, you'll likely consider what this means for your health, career, and more down the line. Thin…
By Tessa Shull

12 Moms Share How They Stay Healthy During Flu Season

Unfortunately, we're in the middle of the roughest flu seasons in recent memory. And we’re not totally out of the woods, either. People around the country are still getting the flu, and, sadly, some of them are having to be hospitalized due to flu-re…
By Priscilla Blossom

8 "Mistakes" I'm Glad I Made During My First Pregnancy

As an adult, I've learned you never really stop hating being told what to do. When I was pregnant I was getting instructions at every turn, from doctors, relatives, and complete strangers on the subway. I would nod and smile but then go about making …
By Liza Wyles

Study: Drinking Two Glasses Of Wine A Day Is Good For Your Mind — Here's Why

There’s more scientific proof that a daily drink or two isn't necessarily a bad thing and could have a place in an overall healthy lifestyle. A new study out of the University of Rochester Medical Center (URMC) in New York found that — in mice, at le…
By Tiffany Thomas

Research Says Eating Carbs Can Lead To A Healthy Pregnancy, So Bring On The Pasta

In the world of me, no food is better than bread. I know it's supposed to be pretty terrible for you, high in calories, low in protein, and full of that modern-day demon, gluten... but guys, it's really yummy. Especially warm out of the oven, when th…
By Jen McGuire

These Photos Of Prince George Then & Now Will Give You Serious Baby Fever

The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge are expecting their third child in Spring 2018. With all of the excitement surrounding the new baby, it's easy to forget all of the good times that have already passed. The couple's eldest is already well into the sc…
By Azure Hall

This Is, Hands Down, The *Grossest* Thing Babies Do Inside The Womb

Your baby's life in the womb may be safe and warm, but it's also kind of grody. Seriously, the whole process of growing into a human being includes more than a few icky moments along the way. But this is the grossest thing babies do inside the womb b…
By Lindsay E. Mack