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!

getagoldtoof Tue 09-Oct-12 09:35:56

Thanks sirboob, we are addressing solids - by sitting him down for longer, and giving him some nice cutlery. He is doing quite well, but it seems a long way off for him to get all he needs from food. It could be his teeth, yesterday we gave him some pumpkin seeds, but as I was eating some I realised you need back choppers (molars?) to get on with them, so perhaps with more teeth we'll have a better outcome. My DH is no longer supporting my bf, he finds it hard as it makes me the main person our son looks for and my husband wants him to eat 'real food'. I hope if we can up the solids and cut down, everyone will be happy.

getagoldtoof Tue 09-Oct-12 09:20:35

Sorry ifancy - I meant she!

getagoldtoof Tue 09-Oct-12 09:19:56

Oh goodness me ifancy - that sounds too good to be true! Well done, i am really happy for you. He obviously needed a good night's sleep finally! My son is no longer unwell, but still a bit sniffly, but I feel if I wait for the sniffles to go ill be waiting until summer!

I am having my first period since I got pregnant and it has really affected my milk supply. It sort of feels like I might as well give up. He will try to stay latched on, but not much is coming out.

When I don't feed him at night, he screams. The longest I've left him is 2.5 hours.

I think letting him cry a bit is a necessary evil. Just going to have to bite the bullet tonight and rope DH (who has 'the 'flu') in to help.

On the plus side, I have embraced butter, full fat milk, cakes and crisps alongside my usual meals. I am trying to up my portions, too.

SirBoobAlot Fri 05-Oct-12 22:57:13

Well your doctor is talking bollocks is the first thing I needed to say. Every day of breastfeeding is benefical to you both.

That said - I understand why you're so tired.

When DS was 18 months, I night weaned him. I did pick up, put down, hugged him a lot and offered him water each time he woke up. It worked for us, but I'm not sure if your little one might be too little to manage this right now.

Think maybe you need to shift your focus on this slightly. Getting your DS to eat more solid foods will reduce the breastfeeds, but if you take out the breast milk before he is eating well, it may be quite detrimental for him. And you, really, as he will then be asking more.

Don't be angry with yourself, but do address your own diet as well - have lots of healthy snacks on hand, and try to include lots of foods high in iron in your diet to help with the tiredness.

Is he struggling with teething at all? I do know of some children who did similar to you DS, then had a burst of teething, and suddenly went to eating foods quite happily as it was no longer painful for them.

ps, dont believe the bollocks about "no nutritional benefit after 6 month"...wonder which follow on milk company informative source he gets that from

Hi getagoldtoof, I thought I would check in as we were kind of in the same situation with night feeds and exhaustion ( I on the other hand have plenty of weight to spare!) .
After saying I was going to try Jay Gordons night weaning the other day I did give it a go, I gave it a go for about 2 hours of tantrums when I'd fed her and tried to put her down.....then DH took over for an hour, then I just gave up...I was totally spent. I have never left my girls to cry but that night I had got to the end of my tether and then some, so I just walked out and left her to it and she settled herself down after about 20 mins...... then woke up twice and settled herself after a couple of minutes that night. Both nights since then she has settled herself back to sleep within a minute of waking!!! I cant believe it! I was in tears the day after I left her to cry thinking if I wanted to sleep I'd need to do it for a few nights but it seems to have worked.
As a result I am happy to keep feeding her so long may it continue. Hope you are getting on ok x

Spiritedwolf Fri 05-Oct-12 18:59:09

Glad to hear you're not ill. Shame that your doctor isn't informed about breastfeeding, I had a bad experience with one recently about feeding too.

I have a history of depression and anxiety, and found I felt quite good in pregnancy and since my baby was born 9 weeks ago I'm the happiest I've been in years (possibly ever!), I also feel fulfilled and worry much less about everything. Babies are lovely! That said, like some lovesick teenager I also need to prompt myself to eat (if its not sat in front of me) and take care of myself because I'm so wrapped up in him. I think this is common, my HV asked me most visits if I was managing to eat (and I'm overweight!).

So if its largely a practical problem of getting more food into you at the moment... you want to remove the barriers, you said: " I can't be bothered to go and clean the kitchen to make a snack."

You don't need to clean the kitchen right now, just make the snack. In your next shop, buy foods you can snack on when you don't feel like making something and store them beside the place(s) you breastfeed. Dried fruit and nuts, trail mix type things, are healthy but high calorie and you can keep packets to hand. (obviously there's lots of less healthy things too!) Yogarts are just a trip to the fridge and a spoon away.

So see it as a practical problem, if you have a partner/mum/friend who can help you out by batch cooking things which can be re-heated in the microwave or eaten cold, then take full advantage. If you tend to skip lunch then have either your partner or yourself make up a 'packed lunch' at breakfast time as if you were going out. Larger portions at the meals you do eat, and maybe adding a pudding (or a starter if you're a savory person) or a slice or two of bread on the side.

You might find if you start eating more solid foods then your son starts to follow your example. Beware of caffiene (diet drinks as well as tea, coffee, energy drinks) suppressing your appetite and disturbing his sleep.

Take care, you've done a great job feeding him so long (I'm just beginning, much respect!) just do what feels right for you both.

tooth decay

I'm not being purposely pedantic - I just have a bit of a bugbear with people in an influential position giving incorrect information about breastfeeding, it's hard enough with well-meaning friends and family giving advice smile

Actually I believe if left to nature children self-wean between 2.5 and 7 years old, and if I recall correctly breastmilk only causes tooth decay if other food or drink remains on the teeth.

I do think your health and sanity is the most important thing at this stage because yes your child can manage without breastmilk now, my point is just that if he's happy to continue and so are you then there are ways to make that happen.

I have had big problems with food myself, I think you're right that a lot of women do have weird relationships with it. I wasn't saying for a minute you'd not bother to feed your child - I simply meant to use it as a point that your health and nutrition is as important as his.

I hope you are able to get some support in RL and your LO gets better soon thanks

getagoldtoof Fri 05-Oct-12 16:31:52

Ahh, bellyandboobs, you are going through the same. Your plan sounds great, I really hope it works. I'm so please your DH will be able to help!

cupoftea - the doctor said basically this 'you need to make a choice; to continue to breastfeed, benefiting nobody; or to give up, and move on to the next phase of your child's life, with a possible benefit to your health.' He also said that breastmilk causes tooth decay - and that my son would still be bf as an adult if he had his own way (!). I couldn't be bothered to argue. I knew there were benefits, thanks for the link, it's helpful to read about it.

I wouldn't 'not bother' to feed my baby, but I appreciate what you're saying. I Have always had a bit of a strange relationship with food- as most women seem to. Something for me to think about. Thank you.

I'm really pleased to see that you've sought medical advice and great news that you're not depressed! However I am really shock and quite cross that your doctor has given you such misguided information about the benefits of breastfeeding; what does s/he think happens at 6 months for the benefits to just disappear?!

There is some useful information here

Of course it is completely up to mum and baby to decide when to wean and certainly giving up won't harm your baby, but to say there are no benefits to breastfeeding after 6 months is complete rubbish... It makes me wonder what else your doctor might be wrong about; for example you say you 'can't be bothered' to get up and make a snack.. Presumably you think you need one, I can't help thinking this isn't normal.

When DS was first born I completely lost my appetite, I think for the first time in my life I felt complete, fulfilled and happy. The 'gap' I used to fill with too much food had been filled with love for my gorgeous boy - I didn't need to overeat any more and food wasn't as interesting to me. I don't know if this familiar to you at all? But the thing is food is important, would you say you 'couldn't be bothered' to feed your baby? I don't think so because you know how important that fuel is. You not eating properly (you might disagree with this but losing interest is as damaging as purposely going without, especially if you're underweight) is posing a threat to your health and possibly your milk supply.

I don't know if you want to quit breastfeeding or not, but I think your doctor is just trying to stop you feeling bad about it if you do (not that you should) - I think what he/she really means is you have given your child a great start, not "oh well there's no point to it now anyway" - after all it is the only food source specifically designed for your baby, other things can be good, but they cannot be more beneficial at this age IMO

AllBellyandBoobs Fri 05-Oct-12 13:15:55

Hi, I feel similar with my 18mo dd who has recently upped her day feeds and still has 3-4 night feeds (we co-sleep as she's always been a terrible sleeper and I couldn't keep getting out of bed to see to her). I've decided to give her until Christmas and then I'll try night weaning her (DH will be off work for 10 days or so which will make it easier to catch up on my sleep!), and then after 2 I will try and start reducing her day feeds. I'm glad that dd loves bf so much, it really comforts her, but I have the same apathy about daily tasks as you do. The house is a mess, I can't be bothered to cook or wash up, etc... I put it down to being so tired from lack of night time sleep so I'm hoping night weaning might make all the difference. Good luck to you

getagoldtoof Fri 05-Oct-12 12:19:12

Thanks asmywhiskey, that's a lovely thing to say. I just spoke to a bf counsellor who recommended 'compressions'... I will give that a go. I do need to eat more - that's a given. I am in bed now while DS is napping, I can't be bothered to go and clean the kitchen to make a snack. Erghhh. I know it's a dreadful attitude and do wonder if there is something deeper to it, but will keep going and see how compressions/night weaning help. It's great to know others have been through the same thing.

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.

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.

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.

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

Good luck with it ifancy and goldtoof.

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.

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

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

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

Ps i fancy good luck!

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.

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.

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.

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!

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