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!