Updated: May 18
Did I expect that we'll ever make it this far? Never.
I had planned to breastfeed for a year, but when that time rolled around, I realised that it was not that straightforward to wean after all, because by that age, bubs had learned to signal when she wanted to nurse, knew how to access the boob on her own, was increasingly insistent about it and really enjoyed it. While I was getting pretty tired of it by then (and our sleep was just terrible with her latching throughout the night), but I couldn't bring myself to refuse when she asked for it (plus that would've brought on a barrage of tears and screaming). So we carried on.
In the meantime, when she turned one, I also began to introduce fresh milk to her. Though she didn't take well to it in the beginning, she slowly came around to drinking it and began to enjoy it quite a bit!
When we lived overseas for a few months when bubs was just over a year old, I began nursing her to sleep for her nap as well because I was the only one single-handedly caring for her and running the household, and that was simply the most effective method. She loved it, looked forward to naptime every day and conked out within 15 minutes which was literally the fastest she'd fallen asleep EVER in her lifetime. Obviously, it became a new habit that was tough to break when we came back home.
One year stretched into two. In between, when she was 18 months old, I was so sleep-deprived from her frequent waking at night for her milk buffet and the middle of the night acrobatics while nursing that I put my foot down and decided that we were no longer going to nurse in the middle of the night. I would still feed her to sleep (though bedtime was nowhere as quick as naptime), but I told her no milk in the night. That led to weeks of her screaming the house down at night, and even more exhaustion on my end because I now had to sit up and hug/pat/carry her till she fell back asleep instead of just turning over to latch her. But eventually, we got past that, and waking up 20x a night dropped to 3-4x a night on average. Baby steps.
When she was just shy of 2 years old, I decided to try weaning her off the bedtime feed. I talked to her about it for a few days, and anticipated more crazy screaming just like when I weaned her off the middle of the night milk buffet. However, I was completely shell-shocked that on the night I told her that we weren't having "mummy's milk" for bedtime, she was totally cool with it and simply rolled around and chatted with me (for hours) before falling asleep. And she never really asked for milk at night after that! Shockingly simple. But I do think that her level of maturity and understanding by that stage definitely helped. And amazingly, her sleep improved drastically with that. Finally. Not perfect, but much, much better.
I was still nursing her first thing in the morning and occasionally for naptimes though. So we were down to around 1-2x a day. The last one we eventually had to drop was the morning latch. She seemed particularly attached to that nursing session, and to be honest, I didn't mind it that much because it wasn't as long as when I was getting her to sleep. But I did fall pregnant again around the time she turned 2, and I wondered if she would eventually self-wean, or if I would even have any milk left. It seems like supply was never an issue, she would always say that I still had milk when I asked (not that I could verify it). But one day, I again just started pre-empting her that we would no longer have milk in the morning. Once again, not much protest from her. And we actually went 1.5 weeks without her asking for milk, and I thought I'd weaned! One morning, she woke up and decided that she did want "mummy's milk" again and while I initially said no, she was pretty insistent and I ended up latching her again, but only for 5 minutes.
That was on 3 April 2023. And it was the last time I nursed her. It's been more than a month, and I guess I can really say that I've officially weaned her? :') It was a journey of lots of ups and downs, and I loved the closeness while gritted my teeth through the teething and acrobatics. But having finally weaned, I'm happy that it was mutual and she is happy too.