Weaned

posted in: Breastfeeding, Motherhood, Scrumplet, Toddler 99 comments

I want to talk about my boobs today.

(Come back, don’t run away, I promise not to show you a picture of my boobs.)

They’re mine again. I got them back. The 22-month old toddler has finally weaned. 

Toddler eating

I had been trying for four long months to wean him. I figured, 18 months is a pretty decent amount of time. I weaned my first at 18 months, gradually over a week, and it was painless and fuss-free. 

There is nothing like trying to wean a breast milk addict to remind you that your children, no matter how similar they look or act, ARE COMPLETELY DIFFERENT from each other. 

I tried cutting down feeds. I rubbed freshly sliced ginger onto my boobs. I dipped them in vinegar. I ate spicy food. I told him no. Each was an epic fail. He still climbed up onto my lap, said, “Milk”, pulled my shirt up and my bra down, and helped himself. 

I felt like a vending machine. 

I knew it was a crutch. He didn’t need breast milk. But he needed to nurse when he was upset or sad. He nursed to help him fall asleep (though he could easily sleep without). He nursed because he liked it. It was like a hobby.

Last week, I was away from the boys for about 24 hours. It was a great opportunity to cut the little one off of my boobs forever. He had gone without nursing for 24 hours, and hadn’t once asked anyone where I was. Great. AWESOME.

12 hours after that, he woke up in the morning, and demanded his usual morning feed. I said no. Sorry buddy, no more milk. It’s all gone. Finished. 

There were big tears, and a lot of dramatics on the floor. I had to resist just stuffing a boob in his mouth just so he would stop screaming at 6 in the morning. After 5 minutes, I managed to distract him with a gummy bear. What?

For two days, he asked and was told no. For two days, he wept and wailed like his world had ended. 

Then just like that, he stopped crying when I told him no. He nodded wisely, as if he knew what I would say, then run off to do whatever toddlers do. 

Messy mouth child

Four days after we stopped cold turkey, he stopped asking altogether. 

Jubilant does not begin to describe how I feel about getting my boobs back. 

If you breastfed, how long did it take you to wean your baby?

Alison
I am a former PR and marketing professional turned work-at-home mother to four - two boys, born December 2009, May 2012 and boy/ girl twins born September 2014. After a 10-year career in various PR agencies, and of the world's biggest sports brands, I traded in launch parties, product launches, and world travel, for sippy cups, diapers, and breastfeeding. Aside from this blog, I am a contributing writer at Everyday Family. My writing has also been featured on Mamalode, Families In the Loop, andThe Huffington Post.
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  • March 11, 2014 Maureen

    Congrats you both! My boy weaned himself at 8 months old. I wish we would do it longer than that. PS: He is just too adorable! Look at those lashes :D
    Maureen recently wrote…Letter To My Younger SelfMy Profile

    • March 11, 2014 Rebeccafaith

      Yes! That’s exactly what mine did, on his own, at 8 months. I felt tossed aside like an old toy he was done with. I was a little excited that he chose to be done versus me having to make him be done, but still- let me down easy!
      Rebeccafaith recently wrote…Daycare WoesMy Profile

      • March 16, 2014 Alison

        I wish my boys stopped on their own accord, it would have been easier :)

    • March 16, 2014 Alison

      Thanks Maureen! He does have enviable lashes. :)

  • March 11, 2014 J.Lee

    Congrats. My first was tricky, at 6 mo I prepared her very first foods- organic, gently simmered and lovingly pureed and one by one each gave her terrible rashes. Apples, peaches, pears, everything! She had food allergies and every attempt to feed her made her ill. I allowed her to self-wean at 22 mo when veggies and lamb chops were far more interesting and satisfying for her. The second, however, ate like a champ but still self-weaned at 22 months. Incidentally, my children are 32 months apart.. so nursing kinda worked for us in spacing too. =)

    • March 16, 2014 Alison

      I’m glad it all worked out for you! My boys are about 28 months apart, so that kinda worked out for us too.

  • March 11, 2014 Tamara

    Congrats on this big step! Scarlet weaned herself around 16 months and Des was only 12 months! He probably could have gone longer had I pushed, but I didn’t. And he never asked again. He loooves food. Like…I need to show you a video of how he is around food.
    Tamara recently wrote…Why Is Kindergarten Such A Big Deal?My Profile

    • March 16, 2014 Alison

      Please do! My youngest loves food too. But he loved nursing equally. SO glad we’re done.

  • March 11, 2014 Living Serenely

    My weaning process with baby #1 was quick and painless too. But now I’m starting to get a little apprehensive when the time comes for baby #2. She is definitely a very different character from her older brother… so now I’m thinking I’d better start getting mentally prepared!
    Living Serenely recently wrote…A great tip for encouraging kids to read by themselvesMy Profile

    • March 16, 2014 Alison

      Good luck Serene!

  • March 11, 2014 Michelle

    Oh, it was a long time ago, I want to say they were all right around a year. I think one of them was longer. How sad that I can’t remember anymore!
    Michelle recently wrote…Slow Roasted Tomatoes with CilantroMy Profile

    • March 16, 2014 Alison

      I’m so glad I have this blog to remember all the milestones. :)

  • March 11, 2014 Chai a Cup of Life

    Congratulations! I weaned my son at 18 months and it was pretty easy. I think he was done with my milk but I kept him going. It is good at this age because they are distracted by too many other things!
    Chai a Cup of Life recently wrote…Chocolate BarkMy Profile

    • March 16, 2014 Alison

      Yes, that’s certainly true!

  • March 11, 2014 Allie

    OMG you are a breastfeeding hero! Let’s see…how long did I breastfeed the twins….oh yeah – 2 weeks!!! It was horribly difficult, I wasn’t producing enough milk and therefore was either feeding a baby or pumping. And, that part about two boys looking the same but acting completely different? Yes, I completely understand that one!!
    Congrats honey. You’re FREE!
    Allie recently wrote…The Rundown – Two-A-DaysMy Profile

    • March 16, 2014 Alison

      Thank you, Allie! I couldn’t be happier. And twins? That must have been SO hard.

  • March 11, 2014 Laura

    WAY TO GO! I know how much you felt like it was time to be done. But oh my goodness, my heart broke picturing you two dealing with that. I’m glad you both have moved on to a good, new stage! xo
    Laura recently wrote…Dear Cameron: A Love Letter to a 4 Year OldMy Profile

    • March 16, 2014 Alison

      Thank you, Laura! It was hard, but necessary. So glad it’s all done.

  • March 11, 2014 Nicole

    I weaned my little boobie monkeys at 1 year. It was a pretty easy transition for them, and it could have gone faster but I didn’t want to give up the last morning and nighttime feeding. Mostly because I was lazy. I loved bringing them into bed with me in the morning to feed them. And nursing at night was a surefire way to put them to sleep. But once they were completely weaned, I threw a party for me and my boobs. Free at last! And now I have returned to the IBTC (Itty Bitty Titty Committee) for the rest of my days. Hooray!
    Nicole recently wrote…BSX Insight (Guest Post)My Profile

    • March 16, 2014 Alison

      IBTC, haha! I used to be in the average camp, but I’ve joined the IBTC :)

  • March 11, 2014 AwesomelyOZ

    What great joy! Your boobs are yours again! :D I wasn’t able to breastfeed my son so I’m not sure how that is but happy you were able to kick that habit from your son. :) Enjoy the newly found liberation Alison! :D xoxo – Iva
    AwesomelyOZ recently wrote…The Good and the BadMy Profile

    • March 16, 2014 Alison

      Thanks Iva, I most certainly am enjoying it!

  • March 11, 2014 Shannon

    The whole breastfeeding thing is so far in my past I don’t remember enough to comment on that. What I will say is that I LOVE THAT LAST PICTURE. Adorable.
    Shannon recently wrote…Tales and TidbitsMy Profile

    • March 16, 2014 Alison

      Heh, thanks Shannon!

  • March 11, 2014 Valerie

    I nursed 3 kids for a total of 7.5 years. First went to just over 3 (including through an entire pregnancy and 1 year beyond). I just told her one day, let’s snuggle instead, and she was fine with it. (I think it had gotten to the “hobby” stage for her as well.) Second went to just over 2 (weaned during my third pregnancy). Some sadness one night but then never asked again. (And it hurt to nurse through that pregnancy, whereas the other did not.) Third stopped at just over 3 also. Just didn’t ask one night and fell asleep. Then did the same the next night. By the third night I was ready to call it. Although he did ask again about a week later, minimal dramatics when I told him no. Of course there were times during those 7+ years when I was just ACK! but now that it’s all done I’m like, yeah, whatever, boobs. It was such a short time overall in this whole parenting gig. Thanks for sharing your story.
    Valerie recently wrote…On Blogging, Commenting, and Being NiceMy Profile

    • March 16, 2014 Alison

      Thanks for sharing YOUR story, Valerie. You’ve been a trooper, 7.5 years is awesome!

  • March 11, 2014 vanita

    ahhh he’s all grown up! wow. time flies girlfriend. so happy for you both.
    vanita recently wrote…Free Stock Photos That Could Have Cost $1000My Profile

    • March 16, 2014 Alison

      Thank you, V.

  • March 11, 2014 Onica {MommyFactor}

    It’s a big moments. He did well and congrats to both of you. My son self weaned around 18months. I was crushed. I wasn’t prepared and he gave me no warning. It took me a few days but I finally got the message. He was interested in real food and had his plush friend for comfort. My boobs were fired. LOL.
    Onica {MommyFactor} recently wrote…Kindergartner in the Men’s Bathroom? – WordFUL WednesdayMy Profile

    • March 16, 2014 Alison

      Haha! That’s funny. :)

  • March 11, 2014 Susanna Leonard Hill

    I breastfed all three of mine, Alison, the first two for 15 months, the last for 16 1/2 months. I had no trouble weaning any of them, just worked our way down to once a day at bedtime and then stopped. With my second I had to on the advice of my OB/GYN because I was expecting my third. The only problem I had was I got Lyme Disease when my youngest was just over 16 months. I was very sick. I started on amoxicillin which had never bothered me, but 10 days in I broke out in terrible hives and had to switch to doxycycline – which meant no nursing. Looking back, I wish I’d realized that missing one day of medicine would be okay. But they always tell you not to interrupt antibiotics, and like I said, I was pretty sick with three kids under 5 to manage. So I switched without missing a dose and never nursed my last baby again. If I’d known the night before was going to be the last night, I would have paid it the attention it deserved. Congratulations to you and Scrumplet for moving on to the next phase :)
    Susanna Leonard Hill recently wrote…Some Alligator Fun And A Contest Rule and Prize Update!!My Profile

    • March 16, 2014 Alison

      I’m sorry you didn’t get to say goodbye to that milestone, Susanna. I’m glad I did.

  • March 11, 2014 Kerstin

    Is it bad that I’m dying over “I felt like a vending machine” and “It was like a hobby”. My husband just asked me why I am laughing out loud at 6:44 am :)
    I’m definitely glad you got your boobs back!
    My son weaned himself after 4 months and started eating with a spoon. No kidding, the kid never took a bottle (or pacifier) in his life!
    Kerstin recently wrote…Parenting Policy UpdateMy Profile

    • March 16, 2014 Alison

      I’m glad I made you laugh :)
      Neither of my kids took to a bottle or pacifiers either. They were just pure boob men, heh.

  • March 11, 2014 Rebeccafaith

    I was so thrilled when I got this post in my email this morning and began reading it because of my whole relactation mission…that I no longer want to pursue. I don’t want to go through this- even though I applaud you for nursing this long (hats off), I already went through the weaning process and I don’t want to go through it again. It was relatively easy because Dylan wanted nothing to do with my boobs anymore..but who knows what will happen second time around. My breasts are finally normal again, why do I want to travel back in time? Side note: your photography skills have grown so much since you began your photo challenge! Have you noticed?
    Rebeccafaith recently wrote…Daycare WoesMy Profile

    • March 16, 2014 Alison

      I’m so glad you came to your senses :) And you know what, when you have another, you can have a new breastfeeding experience!
      And thank you, I’m glad you think my photography has improved.

  • March 12, 2014 My Inner Chick

    I love. love. love. how you describe this weaning experience, Alison Lee.

    And how he nodded in acceptance and acknowledgment of “no more of mommy’s boobs.”

    b e a u t i f u l

    XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX Kiss from MN.
    My Inner Chick recently wrote…Believing in Your Story, Your Vision, Your LifeMy Profile

    • March 16, 2014 Alison

      Thank you, my love! xoxo

  • March 12, 2014 Natalie

    That’s all you needed was a gummy bear :) No but glad it went over without too much in tantrums. Both my boys just seemed uninterested and didn’t care that we gave up but many of my friends had a much harder time weaning. Glad you got your boobs back!
    Natalie recently wrote…Friendships That Last a LifetimeMy Profile

    • March 16, 2014 Alison

      None gladder than I am!

  • March 12, 2014 Greta

    WAHOO! What a great feeling. Enjoy your freedom. :) And twist that precious little curl behind his ear for me. Thanks.
    Greta recently wrote…Catch Me If You Can #HuggiesTesterMy Profile

    • March 16, 2014 Alison

      Ooh, I just love his curls (and yes I did). #Freedom

  • March 12, 2014 GiGi Eats

    Oh wow, this is actually pretty interesting. Considering I was such a horrific little baby daughter, I am thrilled my mom never breast fed me. LOL I would probably STILL be breast feeding at this point because I am such a creature of HABIT! LOL!

    CONGRATS on weaning though!! Not an easy feat – that’s for sure!
    GiGi Eats recently wrote…Not So Naughty, Frosted Mini Shepherd’s PiesMy Profile

    • March 16, 2014 Alison

      Haha! Thanks for making me laugh, Gigi. :)

  • March 12, 2014 tracy

    Yay for 22 months and yay for free boobs! I did 20 months, 28 months, and 24 months with my three kids. Heavenly. xo
    tracy recently wrote…That Time You Vomited In My FaceMy Profile

    • March 16, 2014 Alison

      You’re amazing! xo

  • March 12, 2014 Stacey

    You are right, each kid is so very different. I always weaned around a year, though my youngest held on until 14 months. Some of them were so easy, but a couple of my kiddos put up a fight! It is so nice to have your body back though. I’m glad you’ve both survived!
    Stacey recently wrote…Important thoughtsMy Profile

    • March 16, 2014 Alison

      It is, and I’m glad I survived too!

  • March 12, 2014 Chanda

    Bravo Alison!! I weaned at 15months but it was almost a fight to the death! I had started by reducing feeds to bedtime or during the night. One night she woke up frustrated and literally sucked me dry. And we were done. Painless and free. Honestly, I missed the bonding, I sometimes still do but damn it was good to wear other clothes that didn’t have to breastfeeding friendly! Your little one is soooo cute!!

    • March 16, 2014 Alison

      I loved the bonding too. We still cuddle, which is nice, and I love that he still wants to. And thank you!

  • March 12, 2014 Lisa

    Oh girl! I breastfed all three of my girls, but I did not enjoy it. Some moms seem to have this beautiful, bonding experience, but to me it was not very enjoyable. Fortunately, all three of mine weaned themselves pretty painlessly but I remember the freedom I felt. Congrats on a huge milestone!
    Lisa recently wrote…If I Had To Leave In a Rush . . . {#TuesdayTen Linkup}My Profile

    • March 16, 2014 Alison

      I breastfed mostly because I’m lazy – making bottles etc is just too much work. I did enjoy it for the most part, but not towards the end :)

  • March 12, 2014 Keely

    Gummy bears for boobs! Seems fair. I cut NJ off at 11 months because I needed to travel solo…and forever regretted it. Told Zu that she could nurse as long as she wanted…and she cut ME off the day after her first birthday. Kids, man.
    Keely recently wrote…Theatre Giveaway: “Spark” At Adventure Stage Chicago!My Profile

    • March 16, 2014 Alison

      Aw, Zu!!

  • March 12, 2014 Sarah

    I weaned my older son at around 18 months. I felt like it was the right time, we’d gotten down to just one feeding a day, and I had a weeklong work trip to go on. It worked out pretty well, and he wasn’t too insistent on it when I got back. I did let him drink cow milk out of a bottle for a little while to replace that morning feeding, but he was already using sippy cups so that didn’t last too long.
    Sarah recently wrote…Why you need a workout buddyMy Profile

    • March 16, 2014 Alison

      My boy was already drinking cow’s milk out of a cup months before we weaned. He just really, really liked nursing. :)

  • March 12, 2014 Christine

    Oh congrats! I think that I nursed Jasper for a year but with Everett, he was cut off at 6 months because I was going back to work and I didn’t want to manage the whole pumping situation at work again. I was so happy to have my boobs and my body back again although they still climb all over me. ha!
    Christine recently wrote…Yoga for Runners – Part 3My Profile

    • March 16, 2014 Alison

      Yeah, the climbing all over us, it never stops!

  • March 12, 2014 Elaine A.

    Okay, I’m really glad you got your boobs back but I just MUST comment on that second photo, OMG, SO GREAT!!!

    • March 16, 2014 Alison

      Thank you, and thank you!

  • March 12, 2014 Kristin Shaw

    Welcome back to your boobs! My son weaned himself at 10 months, and I wasn’t quite ready! Your little man is such a beautiful boy, and that photo with the ice cream dripping off… OMG. So cute.
    Kristin Shaw recently wrote…I SurrenderMy Profile

    • March 16, 2014 Alison

      Thank you! He really is cutest when he’s engrossed with eating :)

  • March 13, 2014 Galit Breen

    I love that he nodded wisely. Congrats, mama! xo
    Galit Breen recently wrote…Wild abandonMy Profile

    • March 16, 2014 Alison

      Me too. Thank you! xo

  • March 13, 2014 Bev

    Woo, congrats, Alison! Eve is almost 4 months, so I’m not yet ready to wean. While I overall really enjoy nursing, there are times I miss having my boobs to myself. And not having to plan my days around them.

    I love that second pictures of him, such incredible eyelashes!
    Bev recently wrote…How a chance encounter inspired jewelry for a cause: Part 1My Profile

    • March 16, 2014 Alison

      4 months is still early, enjoy the rest of the time!

  • March 13, 2014 Rorybore

    LOL – Best first line of a blog post Ever!
    I only thought I got my boobs back – technically they basically transferred back to the hubby.
    *eyeroll*
    but mine all essentially weaned themselves around the one year mark. they could never sit still long enough to nurse once they started walking. but this sippy cup thing? oh yeah, have cup, will travel!
    Rorybore recently wrote…WW: A Bloomin Green ThumbMy Profile

    • March 16, 2014 Alison

      My little one used to do acrobatics while nursing, hah! He was drinking cow’s milk from a cup for months, but he just really liked nursing.

  • March 13, 2014 Nina

    Ah, I remember so well each time that joy of getting my boobs back. After baby #4, they’re not exactly the ones I started with, but . . . what can I do? (Aside from surgery). :(
    Nina recently wrote…Keeping a JournalMy Profile

    • March 16, 2014 Alison

      Oh yes, they’re definitely NOT the same!

  • March 14, 2014 Jin Ai

    That first line is too hard to resist! Glad you got your boobs back. Baby #4 now and I’ve been nursing everyday for almost 8 years. Who knows what kind of boobs I’ll have by the time Roo’s done!
    Jin Ai recently wrote…Sling it, wing itMy Profile

  • March 14, 2014 Jennifer McCullough

    Oh this post almost makes me cry, Alison! I’m so happy for you, more than a little sad for your son and desperately wanting to wean my 28-month-old. I can almost picture us going through the very same thing if I could just get up enough courage to say “No” and mean it this time. I have tried. I have given in. I just want it to be over!!! :) LOL Thank you so much for sharing this. I’m going to go read it again for some more inspiration!
    Jennifer McCullough recently wrote…Night Weaning My Toddler is Like Hacking Off Frank Underwood in House of CardsMy Profile

    • March 16, 2014 Alison

      You can do it, Jennifer! You can. You just have to be firm, and tell him gently that it’s over. Then distract him with a treat. :) Good luck!

  • March 15, 2014 Ellie {Musing Momma}

    I nursed my first until 14 months and he weaned easily. We were gradually down to once or twice a day, I was gone overnight for work, and that was it. But my second was a whole different story! He nursed until he was almost 3 and I learned that nursing a toddler is TOTALLY different than nursing an infant. Weaning was a very gradual process with lots of limit setting along the way, because there were points I just needed to set limits so that BF was something I could continue to enjoy too. It probably took us a year – LOL! Glad you have your boobs back. :)
    Ellie {Musing Momma} recently wrote…Parenting Win: Overcoming My Preschooler’s Bedtime Stall TacticsMy Profile

    • March 16, 2014 Alison

      Oh yes, nursing a toddler is vastly different from nursing a baby. There were negotiations and definitely limit setting. Bribing worked too, in my case!

  • March 15, 2014 Lady Jennie

    Wow. What a huge victory. I would have liked to have had a little more time with my last one, but he rejected me once the night feeds were over. Yay! Your boobs are your own! ;-)
    Lady Jennie recently wrote…A Story In Which I Identify With MarthaMy Profile

    • March 16, 2014 Alison

      Yay, they are indeed!!

  • Congrats! And if I may be so bold…did you really rub ginger on your boob? Didn’t that … hurt?

    • March 18, 2014 Alison

      Hah, I did! And no, it didn’t hurt at all. Just a little cold because I keep fresh ginger in the fridge :)

  • March 17, 2014 Becky Schroeder

    I’m at 5 months and wondering how all you mamas go for so long. She’s starting to swat at my face and chest. I got a scratch on my cheek this morning to prove it! You’ve inspired me to keep on truckin’ though!

    • March 18, 2014 Alison

      It gets easier. Sort of. Or rather, you get better at it. :) Good luck!

  • March 19, 2014 Adrienne

    Freedom! LOL Glad you have your boobs back! ;)
    Adrienne recently wrote…Easy Weeknight Dinners: Crockpot Chicken TacosMy Profile

    • March 19, 2014 Alison

      No gladder than me! :)

  • March 19, 2014 Kim

    I made it to 8 months with both of my boys – but I had supply issues and I think that was just the point at which my body waved the white flag. Because it was a sort of trickling off for us, it wasn’t very difficult for them – I think it was becoming more frustrating at the end, actually. I would have continued longer, but given the problems we had I am just grateful we had the time we did.
    Kim recently wrote…LayersMy Profile

    • March 19, 2014 Alison

      8 months is pretty terrific!

  • March 19, 2014 molly

    22 months is amazing! Good job, mama! Breastfeeding has been a difficult journey for me. I’m now breastfeeding my third baby but it has not been without its hiccups (pun intended, lol). I would LOVE to be able to make it that far. But right now I’m just taking it day by day.
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    • March 20, 2014 Alison

      Day by day is the best approach. Good luck, Molly!

  • March 20, 2014 Ashlee

    Congratulations, mama! That’s huge. I ended up giving up after a month because my nipples wouldn’t pull out and I had to pump every. single. time. And when you’re on your own as a first time mom, you suck at balancing out a schedule… well, I did anyways.

    But I do know the feeling of having your boobs back and it feels wonderful. Enjoy it : )
    Ashlee recently wrote…My 2-Year-Old’s Ultimate PlaylistMy Profile

    • March 20, 2014 Alison

      It is, and I am! Thank you.

  • March 20, 2014 Andrea

    I’m sure those four days felt like forever, but way to go, mom!
    Andrea recently wrote…DIY: Taco PinchiesMy Profile

    • March 20, 2014 Alison

      They did, and thank you!

  • March 27, 2014 Charlie

    This is awesome! I had to wean my youngest at 9 months so I could start this new medication. I wanted to go at least a year but….anyway, it was HARD HARD HARD. She did not want to let it go. I put off the meds for at least another month and a half so she was officially weaned a little after she turned 10 months. It was hard on both of us but I have to admit, I was glad to have my boobs back!! :)
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    • March 27, 2014 Alison

      Weaning is definitely harder when they’re older. Glad you succeeded!

  • March 27, 2014 Gracielle

    Congrats on getting your boobs back! My son stopped right before his 2nd birthday, thank goodness. So I know how FREE you must feel! Who knew that the gummy bear would do the trick? LOL
    Gracielle recently wrote…{Through the Lens Thursday} DoorsMy Profile

    • March 27, 2014 Alison

      He’s a fan of sweets, just like his Mama :)

  • March 29, 2014 Leigh Ann

    Ugh it can be so hard, physically and emotionally. The big girls practically weaned themselves. They just lost interest around the one year mark, and that was fine with me. I nursed Zoe to about 18 months, mostly at night at that point, and then I went on a 5 day trip, so that was that.
    Leigh Ann recently wrote…some stuffMy Profile

    • March 29, 2014 Alison

      It’d be so nice if the boys had weaned themselves. But, I’m glad it’s all done. SO very glad.

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