Never did I think these things:
- I couldn’t breast feed
- I’d still be breastfeeding over a year from when our journey began
- I’d struggle to stop!
You see, my little monkey is 16 months old meaning we have been breastfeeding (in one way or another) for just as long! This amazes me in light of just how tough it was in the beginning to even start this journey.
Born slightly prematurely my little monkey had trouble latching for the first month of his life. This meant sore nipples, frustrated baby (screaming) & mum (meltdowns) and sadly weight loss.
I saw midwives, health visitors and finally a Lactation consultant who was also a chiropractor specializing in babies, who came to me on Valentines Day… and no one could help. It was a skill baby had to learn.
The hours I spent feeling like a failure determined to feed by breast, made me miserable. The engorged breasts those first few days were crazy painful – hot shower and rub them hard to avoid blocked ducts and mastitis!!!! Turned out I was doing everything right – he just wouldn’t latch.
Fast forward past the challenges of mixed feeding, blocked ducts, and finally settled routine of exclusively breast feeding (ebf), it’s time to end our journey. Why do I not wish to prolong feed my little one you might be asking?
Well I have a few reasons:
- Breastfeeding keeps up certain hormones in your body like when you were pregnant (albeit less) that means your body doesn’t fully resettle from the pregnancy. I had spd/pgp and so these hormones mean my body is still too relaxed and isn’t healing quickly enough for my liking resulting in pain (I’m hoping ending our journey will help)
- Lack of night time sleep. Whilst we have reduced our daytime feeds to bed time, my little one treats booby like an all night snacking bar. And without fail is up every 3 hours… I’m tired of being tired.
- We’ve heard once the all night snacking bar closes, transitioning to their own beds is made easier… don’t quote me on this… but this is our ultimate goal
So here we are at 1.25am on day 1 of attempt number 2 of trying to end the bf journey (tried to start 4 nights ago- but I couldn’t handle the screaming)…
Let’s back track to the beginning of the night at 6.30pm: He cried and howled but it wasn’t as bad as a few nights ago. I sung “it’s all gone” – a song he learnt from baby signing class which instantly resulted in him cleaning up!!! (Shocked and feeling dumb I didn’t think of this before!)
Throughout this process like everything communication is key. Here I’m trying to change the dynamics of our relationship not torture the little lamb. And I don’t think he understood it before but he does seem to now.
So having sung for ages various melodic albeit out of tune songs – including birds of a feather tv show songs he’s calm enough to attempt to put him down to bed… this included rocking as well.
Total time spent: 90mins
At which point his eyes sprung open and he lay next me cuddled into the fetus position and my body cocooning his. Seems to have worked … I fell asleep before he did through sheer exhaustion! Bouncing and singing does that to you after a full day at work.
He woke up at 11.30pm looking for his best friend (our other name for booby). But after a bit of distraction (trip to bathroom – I needed to go), he soon settled back into our cosy position with a firm “enough! It’s sleepy time goodnight”.
And he’s still sleeping now. Just the odd whine of booby has escaped his lips and I feel awful. But I remind myself my mental health is important too.
Please note my decision to stop now is down to my little boy being able to do the following:
Communicate what he does and doesn’t want – this includes words and pointing. He can ask and distinguish between booby and juice (water), say no and ask for his bed… so I know he comprehends what’s what.
He has a healthy appetite often asking for seconds at meal time albeit he isn’t a chubby monkey.
And overall he’s a happy soul. He didn’t take a dummy but used me instead and now it’s time to stop.
I think it’s important to pick the time to introduce a change in your little ones life. And if you can, manage the process.
He goes to nursery so doesn’t bf at all during the day most days, he can sleep on his own as he does so there. These were all challenges that we over came and now we’re ready for the next stage…
Hopefully you’ll find comfort on these pages as you start ending your BF journey too and can hopefully share your experiences too.