I'm happy to report that we have successfully weaned Dashiell! We nursed for a year, which was longer that I ever thought I'd last, especially in those first couple months of bad latching (ouch)! But once we got the hang of it it actually made feedings really easy. No "I forgot to bring a bottle" panic when we went out, less opening cans of formula (we supplemented, which also made things easier since I work part time), less waste. It worked out well. And weaning was not that bad! I think the things that made it easy for us were the fact that Dashiell is used to drinking out of a bottle, and we were on a fairly regular feeding schedule--we stopped nursing on demand long ago. So when we started the process we just replaced one nursing session a day with a bottle feeding, then upped that to two, then Dashiell got sick and didn't want to nurse before bed anymore so at that point we were down to just once a day, first thing in the morning. Then we got the okay from Dr. Dave to give Dashiell whole milk, so we eliminated that feeding too. Then it was done!
The most challenging part was finding new morning and bedtime rituals, since nursing played a big part in both. In the morning we used to get up, change the diaper, nurse, then Dash would hang out in his crib with a few toys while I got ready for work (or, um, slept another 30 minutes...). Now we get up, change the diaper, read a couple of books, then it's back to the crib with toys. The bonus of this new morning ritual is that Rick can do it all without me! More sleep for me! Bedtime now involves watching the fish in our aquarium instead of nursing, which works better on the nights when it's just me putting Dashiell to bed--he likes to run around more when Rick's around.
I have noticed that Dashiell's much more apt to snuggle now that he's weaned. I think he used to get his close-to-mom time while nursing and often didn't want to cuddle any other time of the day. Now he comes up and gloms onto me all the time! He'll even sit in my lap and not get fussy for a good 5 minutes! It's nice. :)
One of the drawbacks of no longer nursing is that I read much less these days. I swear I read more in the past year than I did during the prior two years combined! So I'm going to have to etch out some reading time for myself during the day (not just before bed, which always leads to falling asleep with a book on my face). I think I can figure that out somehow.