Family • Wellbeing • Adventure

Sunday, 18 December 2016

When your baby is ready to give up breastfeeding but you're not.

when your baby is ready to give up breastfeeding but you are not

If you follow me over on Instagram you will have seen my #treeoflife post (how completely gorgeous are they?!) and how my breastfeeding journey has officially ended. I'm a little heartbroken and definitely don't feel like I was ready for it to end just yet.

Before writing this I googled the title of this post, just to see what was already out there, there was nothing. It all related to articles discussing "how to stop feeding" or "cues for when they're ready to stop". There is nothing about the mother's emotional side to baby weaning from the breast. Of course, it's absolutely fine if you're completely ready to stop. I mean all breastfeeding mums have moments when they think they've just had enough, I've had plenty of those of the last 15 months. So I was a little surprised when I felt so heartbroken. Almost like an arm had been severed. I mean I had only just written about our breastfeeding journey post 12 months so I couldn't believe this was all happening. 

Perhaps it's because I knew Henry is my last baby. Or that I was just so proud this time round as I didn't have a positive breastfeeding journey with Darcie. 

All I know is that he was done and I was not.

At the end of last month, I went away to Paris to the E-fluent conference and spent three days away from him. The longest time I'd ever spent apart from him and my daughter. I expressed to ensure my supply wouldn't be affected, but we decided to just give Henry toddler soya milk (he doesn't seem to like cows milk, doesn't have an allergy, just prefers soya or almond milk) and at his age, there is no need for formula. I was happy with this arrangement, but I did worry how Henry would cope without me. Every night he would fall asleep on the boob and would wake one to two times for a snuggle and a feed.

My hubby, being as amazing as he is, didn't let this worry him. He comforted him and on the third night (when I returned) he slept through for the first time in his entire life. I was left with rather engorged boobs as I didn't bother to express, I was so sure he would wake for a feed. 

In the morning, feeling refreshed after my first full nights sleep in 15 months, I was fully expecting my little guy to lift my top and indicate he wanted a feed. Was he interested? No. Then my husband dared utter the words, "perhaps he's ready to stop?".

Of course not, he's 15 months, how could he be ready to stop? He still so little, he needs my milk, my comfort.

Well, that night he went to sleep again without me, no fuss or indication that he was interested in boob, instead he wanted his cup with soya milk. He didn't have a night feed either. 

With incredibly sore boobs I went to bed feeling genuinely upset. Slightly pissed off with my husband too. Like he was the one that pushed for this journey to be over.

I felt quite distant from my husband in the days that followed. I carried him for 9 months, endured abdominal surgery to deliver him, established breastfeeding in the early days and then developed a painful cracked nipple. Overcame this, got up through the night for the last 15 months whilst my husband blissfully snored his head off next to me. 

Now he was making this decision for me? 

What gave him the right? Why was he severing this bond when I wasn't ready? 

Four days after this, I was in a huge amount of pain. I literally thought my boobs were going to explode at any moment. That day Henry was under the weather, he toddled up to me and asked for boobie. He needed me. 

I happily obliged. But it didn't feel right. It felt all wrong and that's when I knew. I knew he was done and so was my body.

He fell asleep and I had a little sob. That was the last time I ever fed him.

Now, almost two weeks on, I realise that it wasn't my husband that made this decision, but Henry made it for himself. He falls asleep happily on his own and sleeps through almost every night. Which, if I'm honest, is heaven. 

Now he actually wants to cuddle me rather than just for feeding, which is just as (if not more) lovely as the connection of breastfeeding. I'm learning to feel happy about this new chapter in his life and mine as his mummy.

I would love to hear if you felt the same when your baby weaned, or if you're going through a similar transition, that it's ok and does get easier. Having consistent full nights sleep is bloody amazing so that has definitely been a silver lining for me.

Mummy B xoxox


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