Please please help me to stop breastfeeding

(38 Posts)
getagoldtoof Mon 01-Oct-12 22:35:41

I can't cope anymore. My son is 12 months old. He breastfeeds every 2 hours +. He breastfeeds at least 6 times in the night, and at least 6 times a day. I can't stand it any longer. He is unwell now, and has been attached to me all night and day for three days.

I am 5'7" and weigh less than 7 1/2 stone, I feel like and look like death. I am weak.

He does pick at solids, but doesn't eat much. I don't push it, but always make food available, and have a set mealtime.

I don't know how to stop this, it's awful. In an ideal world I would be feeding him less now, 2-3 feeds a day would not feel this exhausting. I get angry with him, but it's not his fault, I'm just angry with myself!

tiktok Mon 01-Oct-12 23:17:52

sad

You can call any of the bf helplines and talk through your options - it should be possible for you to work towards cutting down the breastfeeding (stopping suddenly is not a safe option) to a point where you feel you can manage it better.

Cutting down when he is not well is not a good idea - perhaps devise a plan which you can start when he's feeling better?

No, it's not his fault, and of course he is likely to be bf more when feeling poorly....but in a few days, he won't be quite so needy and things will be easier....I hope so.

getagoldtoof Tue 02-Oct-12 09:07:34

Thank you, I'll give that a go. I would much rather stop gradually. And i love bf, it's just I thought he would calm down by now, and not need it so much sad.

OpheliasWeepingWillow Tue 02-Oct-12 09:12:37

Is it possible to get your LO on a feeding schedule? I know it sounds horrible to do and I totally defer to tiktok but my FF baby had an awful time. Feeding every hour, I never knew when she was REALLY hungry and constantly second guessed myself. Basically at 7 months I put her on a strict 3 hour schedule and she is so so so much happier, as am I. Never thought I would say that as feeding on demand was exactly what I wanted to do.

can i hop on board, i want to stop bf 15mo and have no idea how to go about it, she too feeds all day long and a lot of the night too and I just cant cope with it anymore.

tiktok Tue 02-Oct-12 09:42:16

Same suggestions apply to anyone feeling overwhelmed and torn about stopping breastfeeding : talk to someone in real life about it and consider either cutting down gradually or cutting back, so it does not feel so relentless.

Toddlers go through stages where they need extra comfort and contact, and breastfeeding supplies both, brilliantly....but it does not need to be the only form of comfort and contact.

Any of the bf helplines will give you space to discuss the options so you find out what is right for you and your toddler.

Startailoforangeandgold Tue 02-Oct-12 09:53:10

In my experience older babies who like BFing aren't daft. They learn the words no and later pretty easily. You have to be firm and you have to have yoghurt, dilute juice and distractions to hand.

You can't feed if your driving or pushing a push chair. Find somewhere to go or someone to visit. Other DCs to play with are good.

Don't be caught sitting on the sofa, that's lethal.

And there's no point trying anything if DCs are feeling grotty.
My forever BFing DD, still pins to the sofa for a hug if she's ill.

JellyBellies Tue 02-Oct-12 10:02:07

Hi. I made DS1 cut down daytime feeds at 18 mo yhs when I was pregnant with DS2. I was exhausted so I took a bit of a cowards way out. I offered DS chocolate milk blush warm milk with chocolate powder. It worked and he did cut his daytime feeds.
Now you may not want to do this, DS1 is 3 and still feds twice a day morning and night but this is done on my terms. So if I am not wll, I don't feed, if we are in a hurry he as to stop etc. This might sound mean but it's the only way I can continue feeding him and Ds2 and not go crazy grin

JellyBellies Tue 02-Oct-12 10:05:00

I guess what I am trying to say with all that rambling is that when he is better you can try to cut it down a bit.

I found that if we stayed at home, DS fed more as I sat down more! So we went out, DS in sling,/buggy, lots to do, lots to see, rice cakes/cheese etc in hand. And they get so involved in seeing/snacking the feeds come down. It's a slow process but you will get there.
Hope that helps!

I was feeling this way a few months ago because I'm pregnant and was suffering awful nursing aversion - just wanted DS OFF me! I used Dr Jay Gordon's advice on night-weaning and have never looked back! DS is now 20 months and generally feeds once in the morning, before and after his nap and once before bed, and I actually enjoy it! I think cutting down can really help with the feelings you're describing. We started offering more solids and of course you can start to offer cows milk in a cup now if you wish.

It will get easier, honestly. I've heard that 'never offer, never refuse' is a good gentle weaning technique, but it sounds like you're torn so perhaps cutting down is the way to go. I must say that the extra peace/sleep I get at night has made a world of difference to me

Dr Jay Gordons solution seems good, I dont mind feeding during the day and if we are out and about then she doesnt seem to bothered. Its the nights that are the killer. However, Nice cup of tea, I have a question. If she goes to bed at 8 so my 7 hours start then? Or should I be keeping her up later?

BedHog Tue 02-Oct-12 11:42:14

He does pick at solids, but doesn't eat much. I don't push it, but always make food available, and have a set mealtime.

Are you Baby Led Weaning with just finger foods? If so then your son might be one of those babies like my DS, who just don't get the hang of feeding themselves. My DS would just look at food or play with it, rarely putting anything in his mouth. I had to use purees with him or he would have been very hungry.

Could you try spoonfeeding him with something filling several times a day? Even if he only takes a small amount it might fill him up enough to not need quite so many BFs.

mawbroon Tue 02-Oct-12 11:55:09

DS1 was like this. He just wanted to feed all the time at this age and wouldn't sleep unless he was latched on. It was really draining.

He was tongue tied, (although I had no clue at the time), and some tongue tied babies can't manage solids well and prefer to take milk.

Is this something that you have considered? How was your breastfeeding experience in general? Any problems? How well does he normally sleep? Does he tend to gag/choke on solids? Any digestive problems eg reflux/colic?

Ifancy neither! I would put her to bed at the usual time, but pick the 7 hours most precious to you (for me 11pm-6am) and use the suggested settling techniques between those hours. It says to try for 3 days before moving on to the next step - I would say only move on if it works (basically if she's ready it will, if she's not it won't and you might need to try at another time) and don't assume it will fix all problems (also be prepared to 'bend the rules' a bit if she's unwell for example) - we've been very lucky because (for now at least) DS sleeps through now unless he's unwell, but I'm sure there are lots of babies that still wake in the night (and I'm sure we'll have our time again when he does) regardless of whether they're getting fed or not. I would also recommend in the future if you feed to sleep that you use the steps to get her to settle herself for the night after a feed. It has taken a while for us to achieve this but if I take DS off when he first looks sleepy he will settle himself and be fine for the night, if I let him feed to sleep or until very sleepy he screams or wakes every sleep cycle wanting a feed. I think it's finding a balance between being firm and gentle/reassuring. Good luck!

Spiritedwolf Tue 02-Oct-12 13:03:19

Once he's better you can look at the methods talked about here to gradually reduce the number of feeds to a level you are comfortable with.

But you need to look after yourself straight away. Get some more calories in you. You say he picks at food, is this also your habit? Or is it that you do eat meals but don't eat enough at them. How about organising a snack for when you sit and feed? If you are a 'healthy' eater filling up on veg then you might need to add some carbs like bread. Cake won't do you any harm at that weight either.

You also say he's unwell, and that you feel weak, is it possible that you have what he has, or maybe something else? Take care of yourself and maye see a doctor.

I'm saying this because although you should cut down on feeds if thats what you want/need to do, I'm pretty sure that you wouldn't be losing weight like that if you were healthy and eating well (quantity as well as quality). Its not necessarily the fault of bf that you feel so run down.

Spiritedwolf Tue 02-Oct-12 13:08:04

If you are eating plenty of calories and aren't obviously ill, consider asking your doctor for a blood test to check for hyperthroidism.

getagoldtoof Tue 02-Oct-12 20:08:14

Thank you all - it feels like there are finally people who understand - its just not as easy as 'just stopping'!

I am not eating well at all - I am so tired, I hate shopping and cooking and sometimes even putting bread in the toaster is too much to be bothered with. I eat cake, carbs and dairy, my DHs hearty cooking, salads and fruit, but just tiny portions. I know it's not enough, but my appetite has gone even though I'm hungry.

He is BLW bedhog, have tried purées a few times, but he won't be fed with a spoon. Will try again tomorrow.

I called La Leche League, will try again as it went to answer machine a few times and I felt funny about leaving a message.

I think when he gets better we will begin with trying night weaning again. Have had some luck in the past with this, but he fed more in the day confused.

Thanks again for your input - in real life my family and friends are pretty horrified about my bf, especially as I've lost so much weight - it makes the whole thing even worse. Thanks.

getagoldtoof Tue 02-Oct-12 20:12:41

Ps i fancy good luck!

I have to say I'd be surprised if your weight is completely down to the breastfeeding. I suspect its a bit of a vicious circle where you're bored of food/too knackered to make it and thus you have less energy which makes the whole situation seem worse.

Have you had your iron levels checked lately? Like pp have said sleep deprivation can be just awful but if the night-weaning works out; even if your DS does feed more during the day I think you'll be better rested/prepared to deal with it.

Could you maybe get some ready meals in or ask your DH to pack you a lunch? I usually think of this for new mums who are pinned to the sofa breastfeeding/holding a sleeping baby and only have one hand to eat with and no time to get up and get something but older babies are time-consuming too. I think you need to put some fuel in in terms of food and sleep in order to deal with everything

Thank you all for the advice and good luck Getagoldtoof! I hope things improve for you. I'm going to start the Dy Jay's method tonight so I shall report back as to how it goes! Do let me know if you hit on any miracle cures Nicecupoftea smile

spottycloud Tue 02-Oct-12 23:19:00

You remind me of myself a few years ago with DS - now 4. I just weaned him off slowly at about 15 mths as I just was literally falling sick so often, weak, tired, and being underweight even worse. I took multivits, ate properly, but still... it was due to the lack of sleep for that long. I could never sleep very well when I coslept and he wouldnt go in his cot. Naturally though after weaning him off he gradually was able to sleep in his cot. But then he found a substitute which was my saggy tummy. Lol.. he'd come up to me and lift my top up and nuzzle his face in it and pinch it, etc. I thought that was cute until ... well he's 4 now and still crazy about my tummy... A bit worried now.

spottycloud Tue 02-Oct-12 23:20:45

Good luck with it ifancy and goldtoof.

Spiritedwolf Wed 03-Oct-12 13:31:55

Don't feel you need to talk about this here if its too personal, but consider this and think about seeing a doctor. Is it possible that you are depressed (loss of appetite/weight, not looking after yourself to the extent of feeling that putting on toast seems like a lot of bother - I've been there, not judging!) or that you might have an eating disorder?

I'm not saying that the frequency and intinsity of your breastfeeding relationship is completely unrelated to the problems you are having - of course it might be affecting your emotional and mental health. But the immediate problem isn't that you are breastfeeding, its that you are not eating enough to do it without using up your dwindling reserves.

You need to start eating more today (even if you don't feel like it, even if he has to wait while you do so) and to seek help about why your appetite is so low (getting checked out by your GP to rule out a physical illness would be a good start).

From what you have said, you are underweight and this puts your health at risk. NHS BMI Calculator You need to look after yourself first so that you are well enough to look after your son. I'd be particuarly concerned if you are still losing weight as there isn't much you can afford to lose.

You don't need to give up breastfeeding altogether, but you do need to eat enough to do it without harming yourself and you probably need to bring down the number of feeds to a manageble level using the advice you have been given. Do be wary though of health professionals saying that stopping BF will solve the problem without them looking deeper into things because there could be an underlying condition causing your loss of appetite and weight loss.

Take care of yourself.

getagoldtoof Fri 05-Oct-12 10:45:25

Thanks for that spirited - I took your advice and saw my dr today. He knows me and said 'don't think you're depressed!' which I'm inclined to agree with - I have never been happier or more content since my son was born, and I was recently struck by how nothing else really upsets me anymore - a year ago an unpaid gas bill would have had me in a tearful fluster, whereas now I can remain a bit more calm, because I know everything is ok and I love my son and he makes me feel fulfilled.

However, the dr basically told me to stop breastfeeding! He said there is no nutritional value to the child after 6 months. I told him that there were emotional benefits, and I wished to continue - he frowned.

Oh well, he has sent me off for blood tests so I'll get all that checked and hopefully when my young chap gets better (ear infection now), I will be able to slowly start night weaning.

Thanks for talking this all through with me - it's really helpful.

Asmywhimsytakesme Fri 05-Oct-12 11:39:04

Just wanted to say you can feel very positive about what you have done for your son - for the rest of his life his health will be better because you have bf him to this point - he will have lower risks of childhood cancers, obesity, diabetes and allergies.

I am out of the other side of where you are and still bf, so just wanted to tell you what happened to me. I lost a lot of weight and felt very tired, seemed everyone else's dc around one was feeding much less than mine, who was feeding a lot. I read up and talked to a bf counsellor.

It turns out that my dc was completely normal - the bf one year old is only gradually switching over to getting much more nutrition from food, but because extended bf is rare in our culture most people night wean or cut their child down to only a few feeds a day.

I looked at my weight loss - turned out to be mostly due to portion size as I was not eating much because of cutting up dc's foods and getting them down from high chairs. I was using up a lot of calories chasing toddlers around grin now I'm deliberately eating more i am still slim but have put weight back on to a better bmi.

I have decided to carry on bf on demand because I love the closeness, the health benefits and how useful it is when they are tired or ill. The LLL book says there are many benefits beyond 6 months - eg babies breastfed to under 1 have a higher risk of needing orthodontic work or speech therapy. The book also says there aee increased benefits if you feed until 2. I'm aiming for 2 now!!

No right or wrong answer to when to end bf of course - its a very personal decision.

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