Stopping Breastfeeding

Stopping Breastfeeding

You can see the full blog post here: mumsdays.com/stopping-breas...

Side Note: Breastfeeding is a funny thing. Whatever I say here will be judged, whether I'm pro breastfeeding or bottle feeding. So, just so you know, I'm not trying to sway anyone to do anything one way or another, I'm just going to say how I feel and what I think about stopping breastfeeding. I wrote this next section back in March but was a bit too afraid to publish it!

27th March 2013 (Reuben was 8 and half months)

It's just sort of happened. Last week there was nothing left (well I found out when I squirted Mike in the eye that there is a bit but not enough for Reuben). After all the gearing up to stopping breastfeeding, I did feel a little bit sad about it!

Since Christmas I've only been breastfeeding Reuben at bedtime, during the night (which he rarely needed) and first thing in the morning. Cuddle times. So I guess, little by little, my supply has been drying up as he has been demanding less. I suppose it was the least painful way to do it. A friend of mine had to stop quite abruptly (after a teared nipple incident - Babies can be cruel!), and the full boobs/engorgement wasn't much fun. She told me you just have to go with it, cold turkey, no expressing, and it'll stop in the end.

We struggled with breastfeeding to start with as Reuben wouldn't latch on so I had to use nipple shields for the first 3 months. Sterilising every time I had a free minute did my head in! I also felt like a failure, like I didn't have the right bits or the bits I had weren't good enough. I didn't realise then how lucky I was that I was able to feed him at all. Then one day he didn't need the shields anymore, so for 1 glorious month it was easy. No sterilising, no making sure I've packed tons of shields whenever we went out, no awkward public breastfeeding with lots of nipple waving (because nipple shields make it much harder to be discrete!), bliss.

But then he started to refuse a bottle. Now, my cousin's baby went through a stage of refusing the bottle and the stage didn't end until he was 9 months old! I wasn't very keen on the idea of that so I introduced a bottle of formula a day. This worked out nicely as I was starting to feel ready to have more time to myself. I love Reuben so so so much but, selfish as it may sound, I wanted time to think, make food, clean the house, workout, whatever, but essentially a bit of baby-free time. But then I found breastfeeding really tricky to manage. I wasn't sure how much he was getting (which I was obsessed with as he was still waking up LOADS in the night!) and because every day wasn't the same, I'd find myself engorged when he wasn't around and I hated expressing.

By Christmas Reuben was thriving and I was ready to get my body back. So, after discussing it with my family and dealing with issues of guilt (mainly because I didn't want other people to think badly of me for CHOOSING not to carry on breastfeeding) I moved all daytime feeds to the bottle. Phew! I felt so much more in control! I could tell how much he was having, he started sleeping better and we were still able to have lots of cuddles and feeds at night time.

7th May 2013

There, you may think I was having my cake and eating it! Which of course I was and all good things do come to an end... but they get replaced by other good things. Ha!

It was sad when I was stopping breastfeeding but I think the only reason was because I thought we wouldn't have the closeness anymore. This isn't true, we still have lots of cuddles and he'll still fall asleep on me so I can bury my face into his face and neck without him squirming away! What I've learnt is whichever way you feed your baby is special because you are doing just that, feeding them, looking after them, loving them, cuddling and smiling and cooing at each other. It's the most precious thing, wherever his nourishment comes from, to see him grow day by day.

Other side note: My body after stopping breastfeeding...my boobs are now half the size (and are in fact smaller than before I got pregnant), which I love! I feel like a different person. On a less pleasant note, I've had a period every 2 weeks, my first in a year and a half. Boo. Finally, everyone says you'll pile the pounds back on when you stop breastfeeding. I haven't so I think that's a myth.

13 Replies

oldestnewest
  • Great blog and u done really well! Breastfeeding has it pros and cons. .. and I think u have to go with whatever is comfortable for u..I breastfed my first for 6 months but with each child I've had it has got less. .. But this time I'm going to try for longer again. . My 2nd didn't want a bottle when i tried to wean onto breastfeeding because it was so painful, I managed 4 1/2 months but everytime she latched on it was agony for some reason. . Never had the problem before or after. ... is a great experience even if u only do it for a couple of weeks :)

  • Aww, thank you! It's so weird how different it can be for each child - we joke in our NCT group about the health visitors always saying when they don't know the answer "every baby's different"...but they really are!! Can't believe you stuck with it for 4 1/2 months in that much pain though...what a trooper! hx

  • So nice to hear somebody with a balanced view. I struggled so much with bf as my lb didnt want to latch on one side due to a flat/inverted nipple. We started mixed feeding at 1 week old and went to formula only at 2 weeks. I tortured myself and felt like an utter failure but at the end of the day I have a happy healthy little boy. I really wish bf had gone differently but happy mummy = happy baby. Good luck with everything x

  • Thanks hun, that's exactly what I had but on both sides - I'd never even noticed before!! Totally agree with everything you said and even 2 weeks will have done wonders for your little fella :) xx

  • I think it's up to each mother to decide and no one should criticize or say that the child will have more diseases or whatsoever like they did to me. I only breastfed for 2 months and a half because my son was not gaining weight only with my milk and i had to be breastfeeding for 30minutes and then giving the bottle so it was useless, he is grown up now and healthy but I love knowing that some mothers breastfeed for long time and their milk is enough to feed and maintain the baby's weight but at the same time I support those mothers who stop doing it because it's a torture they even bleed or have severe pain.

  • I totally agree - a friend of mine had countless bouts of mastitis and then thrush and then mastitis again - she was a trooper (and in fact the same one who stopped in the end when her nipple got ripped in half!!) and I would have stopped way before. And let's face it - wet nursing wouldn't have been such a booming trade if every woman were the same! thanks for commenting Trish xx

  • Hi

    I had a very simular experience with my son who I gave birth to in 2008. It was also very strange as this was my first child ( so understandably i was all-over the place with tired-ness on so on) but he "latched" on relatively good but didn't seem to get enough. So due to this I would find myself getting rather sore and not wanting to even touch my breasts never mind getting them out to feed. Absolute torture ( Sorry haha"!)

    So after a few gruelling nights of my son not getting through the night with the feed i was giving him, there was no other choice but to introduce the formular feed

    The funniest thing is now I can look back at it & laugh but at the time I think there's was a great substantial amount of pressure to breast feed my child at least until 6mths old.

    Im 14wks pregnant "tommrow" with my 2nd chlld now and I can honestly say I will definetely breast feed this child but I wont feel as pressured into feeling guilty about introducing bottle feeds too.

    xx

    all the best

  • Congratulations on your pregnancy Abenaa!! I hope you are feeling really well on it xx

    Everyone always gives you advice about breastfeeding but it isn't until you've been through it yourself that you can actually get it all into perspective. Good luck with breastfeeding your next one and remember your own advice!! (I know people that repeated exactly the same mistakes the second time round, giving in to all the same pressures!) You know yourself and your body xxx

  • Thank-you

    Yes I'll definetely try my best on not making the same mistake I did in 2008. Im confident that I now know my body & not to be so scared about changing something for the better.

    It is easier said than done at times though. "when u see that beautiful angelic face for the 1st times my heart will just melt all over again. LOL!

    XXX

  • Oh I should also say, if you are currently breastfeeding and want to know more about my struggles, have a read of this post which I wrote when Reuben was 3 weeks old and I was just getting my head around breastfeeding: mumsdays.com/breastfeeding-...

    I'd love to hear how you're doing and cheer you on from the sidelines (whatever decision you make ;) xx

  • I would just like to say that a mothers's choice to breastfeed or bottlefeed is a personal one. but the idea of not producing enough milk is a myth.

    The more you breastfeed the more milk you make but once your baby reaches 6 months he will be ready for solids so he will start to feed less and your milk will be declining thereafter Also if you supplement his food with milk or juice drinks that will also cause him to feed less.

    Womens' bodies are truely wonderful. Its time we all started to believe in ourselves more. No matter what anyone else has to say.X

  • its a shame that mothers are made to feel this way about breast/bottle feeding, its seems to be more of an issue in the west than in other parts of the world where as long as a mother feeds her baby and its healthy that is all that matters..... time to learn from other cultures eh?!!

  • Thank you for putting your views across, I'm on week six of breast feeding and it's not always a bed of roses, and even when it is you feel that you are permanently attached to your baby, because at any given moment( usually when you've just made a hot drink, or dared to get a sandwich) they can demand food. And omg, the days where it's been almost constant when she has a growth spurt and my boobs are trying to catch up, soar boob from thrush for a week. I really can't see myself doing this for two years. I don't think that women should be judged if they can't or don't want to breast feed. It's their body and their baby. If anything breast feeding probably saves the government money, on milk tokens, I find expressing hard work and time consuming there I said it. I hope I don't miss feeding my baby when I stop. Thanks for the heads up xxx

You may also like...