This feels a bit like a confession… I want to give up breastfeeding.
Baby J is now seven months old. I’m amazed I’ve got this far! After the horrible start, which took me around 16 weeks to comfortably establish feeding, I didn’t want to give up.
I passed the six-month mark and thought I’d wean him off then. I know it’s advised to feed for a year these days, but I just couldn’t see myself doing it that long, what with teeth and the endless night feeds. I fed Boy J up to six months and that was what I had in mind this time round too.
But we’ve now passed seven months and I’m still in two minds.
So, I’ve been thinking about the reasons I want to give up breastfeeding:
1. End of co-sleeping. I want to get a routine for Baby J so he doesn’t rely on me at night. I would also get our maritial bed back, as nothing is happening in that department with a sleeping baby sharing our space, not to mention the backache we both have trying to sleep without squashing baby (he has more space in our king size bed than we do!). But then I do love baby cuddles at night… I know it’s not forever.
2. Freedom. I want the freedom of being able to go out and not worry about Baby J. I also need to start thinking about giving him to a childminder a few hours a week so that I can do some proper work *sobs*. Okay, he takes a bit of formula if I need a few hours out, but my boobs fill up and get quickly blocked so it’s not much fun for me. He also loves Mummy Milk so much he gets cranky if I’m gone too long.
3. Exercise. I’m not running with these balloons sloshing around, so I’ve put off exercise. The most I get is a walk or dash around the shops. I’d like to leave Dad to bedtime while I go out and do a crossfit or kettle bell class. People will be asking me if I’m expecting again soon – the blubber bump is that big!
4. Amour. Breastfeeding has totally wiped out my libedo and Hubs still can’t touch as they are tender; he gets evils from Baby J if he does anyway! I’ve also found I’m still getting PMT, just no periods yet. So I’m not much fun to live with at the moment!
5. Lose weight. If you think breastfeeding helps you lose weight then think again! I put about six stone on when I was pregnant (yikes!). I have lost four stone from the birth and gradually, but I’ve another two stone to lose. I found breastfeeding actually makes me retain weight, I suppose so I’ll produce milk for Baby J. I can’t restrict my food too much, so I’m stuck in mummy blubber limbo. I must admit, I love cake, but that’s why it’s so important I exercise. I’m feeling a bit trapped by my lack of willpower.
6. Get my body back. As much as I love him, it’s not a joy to be bitten by those razor-sharp teeth or scratched and pinched while he feeds. I worry too about getting ill and having to feed him. I suffered with that when I caught scarlet fever when he was five weeks old. I seem to get blocked up really quickly so I’m nervous of the weaning off stage when you have to go through some engorgement. It would be nice to have my boobs back!
7. Not being ‘weird’. Okay, I know many women breastfeed till well past a year. I’m not judging, as I personally think it’s great, but I hear such opposing views! Most people I’ve spoken to have commented about it being ‘unnecessary to breastfeed after six months’, that ‘once teeth come in it should be stopped’, that ‘it’s plain weird if I carry on as I’ll end up like one of those weird mums who feed their five-year-old’. (Note before I get a load of hate – these are not my views! I don’t care when or if you start and stop!) But I seem to have somehow transitioned from the ‘newborn antibodies good mum’ to the ‘OK it’s still acceptable up to six months mum’ to the ‘oh surely you’re not still feeding him! mum’. I find myself telling people (particularly the older generation) that the NHS say it’s OK to breastfeed now! We really can’t win.
So, Baby J has been having a lunchtime bottle and a bedtime bottle of formula. But he still wants Mummy Milk, even after a bottle! He’s weaning onto solids, but his appetite is hit and miss. I know food will gradually overtake the milk, so perhaps I should just let it happen naturally? Why not?
But with all these reasons to stop breastfeeding, there’s one main reason for carrying on that cancels them all out…
When I see his contented face while he feeds, how he strokes my skin with his hand, how much it comforts him, my heart melts. I want to cry with longing for him. I know I’m so very lucky to have my rainbow baby and to see the light of Abi in his eyes. I then feel selfish for even considering stopping!
26 thoughts on “Giving up breastfeeding is hard to do”
I’m exactly the same! I said to myself I’d stop at 6 months and now at 7 months, I desperately want my freedom back but am having severe trouble letting go of that connection. It’s tough! xx
Thanks so much! I was nervous about getting ‘hate’ for sharing but seems I’m not alone, and it’s so reassuring. x
I love this post. Firstly, well done for being ‘brave’ enough to admit you want to stop. Secondly… I am so pleased someone feels the same as I do. These are all the reasons I want to stop, but it is so hard!
Thanks so much, Natalie! It’s so good to hear from a mum who understands where I’m coming from! Perhaps we should organise a weaning programme for mummies 🙂
I felt quite like this, but I really just felt like I couldn’t force him to stop. We are still going at 21 months (one of those weirdos! 😉 ) and he’s more bothered about daddy leaving than me! Sometimes he will have a day without and others wants it 3x, I have weekends away and days out and he’s really not too bothered.
I had a heart op at 10 months and couldn’t feed him for 3 days, worst time of my life. I decided if that’s how distressed he was he definitely wasn’t ready. When he’s 2 we might do more to actively discourage it, but mostly, I’m just lazy and life is really easy right now! I first said 6m, then 1 yr, then by the time he’s 2, Now I’m just not sure. I like the cuddles. Pretty sure I’m starting to dry up now anyway!
I also was a bit wobbly round the edges, then I realised I was using feeding as an excuse. I downloaded my fitness pal and consistently lost 1lb a week and lost over a stone just by being slightly more mindful and eating less carbs, felt good to get back in my old clothes!
What a wonderful comment! It’s reassuring to know I’m not alone. I have used Fitness Pal before and it’s great so I’ll try again. Well done on getting back into your clothes! x
I don’t think you are selfish, and I love this post, it is so honest.
Breastfeeding bring so many feelings, and it’s only natural that stopping breastfeeding does too. I am not ready to stop yet (9 months here) but I think there will come a time when I want my boobies back!!
Ah thanks so much for commenting. It’s made me feel much better reading the support and not feeling alone. It’s such a short period in their lives so I keep telling myself not to hurry if I’m not sure x
I think many breastfeeding mums get to this stage of wanting their bodies back and considering whether they want to start weaning their little ones. My eldest seemed to naturally wean off around 17 months shortly after I became pregnant with my youngest. We’re still going strong at 11 months but I do have moments of wondering when we will stop, especially when she is going through one of her ‘gnawing’ phases – ouch! I still love the snuggles and being able to settle her this way though so I don’t think we’re ready to stop just yet. Good luck with deciding when you are ready to stop and thank you for sharing such an honest, thought-provoking post.
Ah that’s lovely (and reassuring), thank you! I feel much better about it since I posted thanks to the support xxx
I always thought I’d end up stopping around 6 months. Now my baby is 16 months and I am still breastfeeding… The cuddles are lovely 🙂 I think each mom knows instinctively when it is the right time to finish breastfeeding, whether that involves weaning them off or babies self-weaning. #TheList
That’s just lovely! I do wonder now he’s older my hubby can feed him food but it’s so nice that we can have our bonding time. I suppose as the feeds decrease it becomes nicer and feels less demanding x
It’s a tough one! It’s a big decision and once made there’s no going back. It sounds like you’ve got a lot of good reasons to give up. If you drop one feed a day, then leave it about four days before dropping another, hopefully you shouldn’t get engorged. Have you thought about just keeping one or two feeds a day for a few more months to get the best of both worlds? I went back to work when all of mine were six months, but kept feeding them longer just a couple of times a day. Good luck! You’ll make the right decision for you and J. Don’t listen to the old dears! X
Thanks Sarah, great advice! I think I’ll do something like that. I don’t have the pressure of returning to work this time so I guess that’s why I’m in more of a quandary. I’m very good at ignoring the biddies too! : )
This all sounds very familiar – I’m still feeding at 21 months because ultimately I can’t bring myself to take away something my son loves so much, but I’ve had plenty of wobbles along the way. I’ve had lots of weird looks in public and well-meaning but not terribly supportive comments from friends and family, especially because Arthur looks way older than he is! There are still lots of benefits to breastfeeding though – they don’t disappear past 6 months. That’s what my post for #thelist was all about this week as it happens… Ultimately though it’s your choice – you’ve already done wonderful things for your son by breastfeeding for as long as you have and I’m sure you’ll make the best decision for you both 🙂
It’s so hard as it shouldn’t be like that… Feeling judged. I do think of the health benefits especially with all the germs around this time of year… hmm perhaps I’ll wait till his birthday : -)
Aww, love I went through all this! So I know how you feel. I ended up cutting out day time feeds and only feeding him at bed and first thing. That gavee the freedom I so craved during the day but we we’re able to still have that special time. It also made stopping super easy and it naturally came to an end. A sad time but we we’re both ready. Good luck with it all and thanks for linking up to #TheList xxx
Ah thanks so much, your way sounds like the best plan. I think it’s less stressful for everyone if it’s done gradually x
I’m doing exactly the same with Toby, it’s a lovely compromise xx
I can totally relate to you here, my son is 3 months old and suffers with silent reflux so emotionally I have been a wreck with hourly feeds broken up by screaming. I’ve accepted moving towards bottle feeding and we’re all doing so much better, although Toby still likes to finish his night feed with a boobie feed for comfort. You have to do what feels right for you, some people can feed exclusively for a really long time but it’s an individual choice and you’ve done amazingly well for 7 months xx #TheList
Thanks so much. I found it hard too, with reflux. Baby J only has around 3/4 oz a feed so that also puts me off moving to bottles. Well done you too for getting through it. Breastfeeding is tough, but even tougher with reflux! x
I am in exactly the same boat as you! E is 7 months and while I do love feeding her, being her all night snack bar is no fun. I’m constantly tired, even more draining that I have a toddler too. Husband would also quite like his bed back! Thanks for your honest post, I found it on #TheList 🙂
Good to know I’m not alone! Just tried to put Baby J in his cot next to my bed, he woke after half hour looking for me and my snuggly body! Good luck, join me in the mantra ‘it’s not forever, it’s not forever’ x
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