My daughter, Zarah is now 1 year and 3 months and she has been breastfed every single day since she was born!
I love breastfeeding, I was so happy when she latched on for the first time and so proud that we were able to keep going for so long. I was well aware of the benefits of breastfeeding, which is the primary reason I was happy to continue, but the other reason was I literally couldn’t stop! She really wouldn’t let me.
Zarah wouldn’t take the bottle until she was about six months old. So, my role was very full on, she loved her breastmilk but also the comfort that came with it. We had lots of cuddles and if she fell over or was a bit grumpy she would go and find her muslin and come to mummy. It was so sweet, I loved it and I will miss it when we stop completely.
I’m really glad we created a bond in this way but after 15 months I felt it was time to at least cut down feeds and get my body back!
I made ‘weaning Zarah off breastfeeding’ the top of my list on my New Year’s resolutions. I did a lot of reading on how other mums stopped so gave me an idea of how to go about it, I found a few options:
1. Go cold turkey
2. Cut out certain feeds
3. Distract them with food or activities
4. Wait until they are ready to stop… (lol not an option, Zarah would be like 4)
At the beginning of my week attempting to stop breastfeeding I tried option one. Completely refusing to feed her breast milk and offering a bottle instead.
At the end of day one I was absolutely exhausted this proved to be a really stressful day for us both. She refused the bottle and got worked up because she couldn’t have her usual feed, which resulted in me having to deal with a grumpy child for the day, who also refused to nap!
A further reason I decided against this option is because you’re likely to experience pain using this method. Refusing milk at regular feeding times means that your breasts still fill up, but the milk has no where to go, resulting in swollen and painful breasts. In order to avoid the pain and stress for us both I opted to option two.
I began by cutting out day time feeds, so she was only allowed breastmilk in the morning and before bed. This was better, I think partially because after a day with no milk she was willing to take what she could get lol.
But also giving her an opportunity to get used to no breastmilk only during the day made it easier to cut the next feed. Cutting the day time feeds went surprising well after the second or third day she wouldn’t even touch my breasts in search of milk she was happy to play, snack and even take a bottle from me.
We proceeded to cut night time feeds, this wasn’t too bad either since during the week her dad puts her to bed, so she is used to getting out of the bath and just having a bottle.
So, I continued with the routine she created with her dad and though she did complain it wasn’t as bad as I thought it would be.
I honestly thought I’d never be able to stop breastfeeding, I literally had visions of a 3/4-year-old Zarah spread across my lap still drinking! But proudly I only have one more feed left to cut, and I am looking forward to burning my nursing bras and buying some real ones!
Overall, I had a really special experience breastfeeding my daughter and would encourage any mum to breastfeed if they can!
I loved the cuddles and just looking at her little face, not to mention the fact that it also saved us a lot money in the first few months and saved us from venturing down to the kitchen to make bottles in the middle of the night!