THE END OF BREASTFEEDNG
So that’s the end then. I no longer breastfeed Marlie my youngest. She’s 15 months old and I’ve purely breastfed her this entire time and I’m so proud, I loved it.
I don’t like it when that phase ‘I loved breastfeeding’ is made to sound anything other than wonderful.
No one really talks about ending breastfeeding and after a shit tone of feedback from you guys I thought I’d write a blog, so here we are.
I decided to feed both of my babies until 12 months and then introduce cows milk. The goal for me was always 12 months with my second and so I wanted to start weaning almost straight away as that felt natural to me.
I have two children, the other is age 4 and I did the same technique with her and it took 4 weeks less but we did the same process.
I started to drop the morning feed and offer a cup of Cows milk. We never ever had a schedule, I always fed on demand so this could have been 3 times a day to 20. I decided to stop offering to breastfeed at all in the morning and offer cows milk only.
If she showed signs she wanted to breastfeed I would distract with play, sometimes very over exaggerated play! Like whooohoooo look at mummy dancing!! Whatever worked to keep her happy.
Both my girls took to this very well and I didn’t have any cries. I dropped one feed roughly per week or per two weeks. I did it very very slowly. I stopped feeding to sleep and instead I would feed before we entered the bedroom but both my girls self settled anyway however they did both have breastmilk as a sleep association still. I’d put them down drowsy but awake. They took to this very well too maybe because there was no pressure from me and if they got upset I gave in. No upset babies.
Once all day time feeds were done, I left both babies to self wean at night time. With my first baby at 14 months we had completely stopped day time feeds and she just never woke up again in the night. She self weaned.
With my second baby, I stopped in the day time over a month ago and she still fed in the night. Sometimes 2,3,4 times. Until one night 7 days ago she just never woke up again in the night. So she self weaned too.
It’s absolutely bizarre how this happened with both babies. I was dreading having to wean in the night time and I guess, refuse her milk because how could I distract her in the night without walking her right up! I imagine it would have been awful. But both babies decided to do this themselves. It’s been 7days now of no feeding and so now I couldn’t ever go back. I mean, I could if I wanted to as I’m sure I could get my milk supply back however I am happy with this and this is ultimately what I wanted.
My plan if she didn’t self wean was to cuddle and sing her to sleep or if that failed her the partner to take over for some rough nights but it didn’t happen.
LOW MOOD / DEPRESSION
I now want to talk about emotions, almost a warning for you all.
Just because you want to stop breastfeeding doesn’t mean you can’t get sad, down or depressed afterwards. Someone has since told me it’s due to a drop in oxytocin, the love hormone we get from our babies when feeding.
When I stopped feeding my first, I became very down and depressed for a good few weeks and it’s very common, except I didn’t know this until months down the line. I couldn’t understand why I felt that way and then it clicked.
I don’t want other women to feel like this and not understand why or not be able to seek help if they want it.
This time I’ve almost been pre-empting the depression or low mood. It’s making me paranoid and the thought of never feeding her again is on my mind all the time!! It’s very odd because I’m so happy we have finished and so proud of how far we came.
I’ve been making sure I kiss and cuddle the kids extra amounts and talking to my partner about my mood. I’m eating what I like and exercising to try and prevent the low moods that may not even come!!
If you ever need to talk and you have no one who will relate then always message me, I’ll happily chat to you. Just know you’re not alone.
It’s worth adding a note here to say that if you want to breastfeed for a day, a week, 2 years or more than that is absolutely fantastic. We need to do what makes us, as Mummies, happy and what suits us.
Marlie woke up last night for the first time in a week. I was so worried about this. Would I be able to parent with no 'whip out a boob to fix all' mentality? I walked in and lifted her out of bed and she kicked her legs with excitement and didn't go near the boob at all. I sighed with relief. This hadn't happened before, she would always scream and wriggle down to the breast. At the time of writing this its been 7 days since I stopped breastfeeding and its like she's forgot. In a good guilt free way.
She seems content and is sleeping through the night. This happened when my first daughter weaned too. I have loved breastfeeding two girls and I have absolutely no regrets.