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Want to stop BF - but finding it v hard - 13 month old

(18 Posts)
iggypiggy Tue 30-Aug-11 14:01:54

Am sure this has been done to death, but can anyone suggest any tips for stopping BF my 13 month old DD? I am finding it v emotional and difficult and don't want it to be hard on her. But I am ready to stop.

These are the issues:

1) Can't get her to have any interest in drinking any other kind of milk (expressed BM, formula, toddler milk, cows milk)
2) this is not a problem in the day as can offer water and food instead, but before bed and at 5am I still feed her and not sure how to replace those feeds?
3) She doesn't really get bottles - she likes playing with them, but won't suck. So I use sippy cups - but she will only take a few sips of formula - not properly drink - can she actually spits cows milk out...

I am ready to stop - she clearly isn't... but unless I want to be feeding more many more months, I have to do something to wean her off. Any advice?

Cosmosis Tue 30-Aug-11 14:32:47

It’s generally not a good idea to go cold turkey, either for your sake or for your dds. How about stopping the morning bf first, as it may be easier to stop that one – you could try distraction, going straight to breakfast or getting dressed or something. Then once she is used to not having that one, trying to change the bedtime routine to take out the evening one as well – replace it with a story or something. Perhaps if you try adding a story in when you do your bedtime feed now, and then gradually try to do with out the feed and just have the story?

I’m sure someone with some actual experience will come along soon!

tortilla Tue 30-Aug-11 14:52:54

My DD is 11mo and I don't want to carry on much beyond her birthday, so will be facing this soon as she is pretty wedded to her morning and evening feeds. I did it with my DS at 12mo - he was less bothered about his feeds so it was easier than I predict it will be with my DD. I really recommend roping in your DH/DP if you have one. What we did was drop the morning feed first - DH got him out of his cot in the morning and took him straight down for breakfast and I didn't come downstairs until he was part way through breakfast. We offered cows milk as a drink but DS was never that bothered (finally enjoys it aged 3!) so we gave him water in a cup at breakfast and made sure that he had lots of dairy during the day instead. After about a week, he was fine with me bringing him downstairs for breakfast. I did make sure I covered my boobs up in a few layers before seeing him though smile The night feed then went really easily - I switched the feed to be before stories so he didn't associate feed with sleep quite so much then we went away for a night and he was offered but refused formula that night by his GPs, slept ok and then when I came back he didn't bother me for the feed so we just stopped it.

With DD we'll drop the morning feed first because DH can try the same for that, but not yet sure how we'll drop the evening feed... I will probably start by switching her feed to be before stories in the next few weeks to hopefully break that link in her head and then try stopping later a little while after the morning feed has finished.

Good luck! And well done on feeding her for a year smile

aahh I am also in this situation although with a just 12mth old and doing a morning, teatime and bedtime feed, dont want to stop altogether yet but want to drop teatime one - I know I just need to do it but its the one he wants most both on days when I have been at work and days when we are home even this past week both husband and I have had a week off and by 4.15 he is wanting it - he has it at 4.45pm as thats what time we get in from collecting from childcare and always wait a good 10mins after we get in so he doesnt associate getting home with a feed.

Think I am going to try in a couple weeks once resettled back in childcare after our hol offering a snack when we get home as he has tea at childcare at 3.30/4pm and I collect at 4.15/4.30pm.

The morning and bedtime ones I am happy with and at bedtime he rarely falls asleep on breast he just gets dosey and then goes down awake and chatters a bit. - we do bath, story (husband does) and then I feed (whilst watching neighbours at 7pm on 5*).

Good luck I know its not easy but just cut one out a time.

SilverSky Tue 30-Aug-11 17:14:51

iggy when the boy turns one or in the week leading up to it I am going to drop the morning bf first and so instead of walking up, fresh nappy and into our bed for a bf I'll prob dress him and then downstairs for breakfast instead.

I think the am will be the easiest out of the am/pm bfs to drop. I'm dreading dropping the evening one as he often falls asleep on me. If he doesn't I can pretty much put him down awake and he will eventually go off on his own after chatting to himself or chucking himself round his cot. I can't really involve HI as he's not around much.

I think I'm going to try dinner, bath, pjs, then story in our room, cuddle and then in cot. I'd rather do story in his room but there isn't the space. I'm worried that the story in our room may confuse him and he'll think BOOB!

Wish you loads of luck !!

iggypiggy Tue 30-Aug-11 18:24:39

bugger - i typed a long reply that vanished!

Anyway - we weren't going to go cold turkey, i dropped daytime feeds a week apart - so we currently have bedtime, 5am and 7.30am - that's it. The real problems are Bedtime and 5am - I have no clue how she will manage without them... we tried to drop the 5am one before - and all that happens is she won't re-settle and is up for the day... She's missed the 7.30am one before with no probs, I just keep it cos it's not a problem.

The issue with the bedtime one is not the routine or sleep - because our routine is bath, pj's, bf, then sleeping bag, story (two stories actually, first one changes daily, second always the same) and then lights out and then into cot to go to sleep. What worries me is that she will wake up hungry if she doesn't take any milk... I want her to take some milk, any milk, before bed!

My main problem is that I can't cope with refusing her when she asks - she knows the sign for milk and points at my chest - saying no breaks my heart...

iggypiggy Tue 30-Aug-11 19:27:51

do you think they still need the milk? this is what worries me.. or do you end up just dropping the feed altogether?

Basically, I always have to be there for bedtime... and by October I need for someone else to be able to do it for one night...

SilverSky Tue 30-Aug-11 23:32:37

Depends who you ask!

Plenty of babies are weaned off bm at 6mo or earlier and they are all doing ok!

Look at it like this DD has had 13 glorious months of pure bf and all the comfort, bonding and security that comes with it. It's more than milk, it's all of the above. So naturally it's going to be hard for her to understand why she can't have it any more.

Think of it differently, say Like a baby that won't fall asleep without being held. Sometimes thinking differently makes coping with a potentially stressful situation a bit less stressful. I don't think it will be an easy transition by any means and you'll have to be prepared for some heartache.

I'd suggest dropping the easiest feed first. The one that will cause you the least trauma. Can you sign back "all gone"? Offer water? Take downstairs and distract / play if at 5am? If she is shattered after the first day then perhaps she'll sleep better the next due to being so tired? Just my own thoughts outloud. No experience as such myself but didn't want to read and run.

Can your fella go to her at 5am? My friend had sort of same prob. Her HV said her DH had to go into the baby and comfort/settle/offer bottle and after a couple of nights it worked!!

Can any of the bf support groups help with tactics to wean? Tho assume this may go against their ethos.

Not sure any of the above helps as reading it back it looks like a rambling mess..... blush

Cosmosis Wed 31-Aug-11 09:03:53

bf support groups will definitely be able to offer advice on weaning, they’re there to support all aspects of bf, not just blind encouragement for people to carry on for ever and ever. In fact, I have the lll book at home, I’ll have a look at their section on weaning tonight for you. Have you had a look on Kellymom as well?

Personally I would still want artie to have some milk iggs so I can see why you want to swap the bf for something else rather than just cut it out. Will she take ebm in anything?

iggypiggy Wed 31-Aug-11 19:31:13

silver you talk much sense - you are right about thinking differently.

Bloke does go in at 5am, but she simply won't go back to sleep - she doesn't get upset really - she just wakes right up - then she is up for the day. even if we hold off BF till 6am - we tried it for a few days - then, I said - I'll just feed her and see if she settles at 5am that way - and she does - every time... not really sure what to do for the best!

I asked my health visitor about weaning - she suggested I give her homemade fruit milkshakes, to get the milk intake up - which she does quite like (I just stick some banana and a few berries in the milk and blend it). But I don't want to give that before bed!

I guess I could try ebm again - has been a while since I last tried cos I can't be bothered to express... perhaps that would be a start!

thanks all - this has been v helpful. I think I have to acknowledge that the biggest problem is me, and me not really wanting to stop from an emotional point of view. But also being ready in other ways...

can I admit something else? She pushed me away a lot when I started dropping the feeds - and became v clingy with bloke - which I found v hard to deal with... perhaps I am more of the problem than she is!

tortilla Wed 31-Aug-11 19:55:23

What are you other reasons for stopping? Around a year is the right time for me to stop. I find breastfeeding emotionally and physically draining, and am very proud to have done a year with both of mine, but need to feel free now. But at the same time I know I will find stopping hard, especially as we're currently not planning on more children so it may well be my last ever breastfeed that I'll be saying goodbye to. So I am a bit reluctant even though I know that stopping around her birthday is the better thing for me. Maybe you could try dropping the evening feed but keeping the morning one if that is working for you, and see how you get on, and then plan to wean her off the morning one at a slightly later date? I'm going to drop one feed first and make sure we're over that before I start dropping the last one, rather than having a quick 'need to be finished in a fortnight' approach.

RitaMorgan Wed 31-Aug-11 22:34:33

It took me a month of offering milk in a cup instead of ds's mid-morning feed before he swallowed any. Now he quite happily drinks cow's milk in a cup during the day and bfs bedtime and morning - so it might just take persistence.

okiecokie Wed 31-Aug-11 22:36:52

Iggs I don't see anything wrong with giving a fruity/milky shake before bed as long as you clean her teeth after. I read somewhere that breaking a habit takes about 10 times of repeating the action before they get it. I think Silv makes sense. If I think of our bedtime routine, it is exactly the same every night. I even look at the clock and I so pretty much the same thing at the same time. Babies like routine, they like to know what to expect. So, if DS is expecting a feed at 5.00am and then at 7.00 then she is going to create when it doesn't happen. But if you do hold off (and give it a good go without giving in - 4 plus mornings at least) she will eventually get it. She will. But you have to be ready too. You may have to go and sleep elsewhere for the first night or 2!

iggypiggy Thu 01-Sep-11 10:05:37

tortilla I think that is an excellent idea - if I keep them morning one it might be easier all round... the bedtime one will be hard, but at least i will still feed her in the am... I think this is the way am going to go. I just feel like I need to stop - I am ready to be able to spend a night away if I have to, but without her finding it stressful...

tortilla Thu 01-Sep-11 10:25:31

You may also find she is fine being left overnight even if you do carry on bf. We left DD for one night a few weeks ago (so she was 10.5mo) to go to a child-free wedding a long way away. I was panicking as she never really took any other milk (occasional sip of formula). She was brilliant - she drank 100ml (!) of formula before bedtime and went down without a murmur after a cuddle with her nana, and then next morning happily drank 200ml (!!) of formula before eating all her breakfast. She was absolutely fine. So it is clearly an association with me and I'm hoping that her dad can do the morning and bedtime routines. Good luck - there is no right or wrong way to do this, and I think dropping a feed at a time will help you work out if you want to keep going with just one feed or stop completely.

SilverSky Fri 02-Sep-11 08:21:13

Good luck piggy!

Definitely agree with the transition being more like an endurance/marathon rather than a 100m sprint.

You got a good strategy there. grin

iggypiggy Fri 02-Sep-11 19:33:23

okie I love the idea of sleeping elsewhere ;-)

tortilla you are right - she will be 14 months by the wedding - and she will cope without me for a night... she will be with grandparents and an auntie - possibly two... am sure between them it will all be fine.. and I think one night away from her in 14 months will be ok... and then I can drink.

Thanks silv xx

cherrysodalover Fri 02-Sep-11 20:50:20

Well done for getting this far! We are just giving up the 2 night feeds at 20 months so you are ahead on that one.
You have to balance what is the best balance of best for baby and best for you.
I was hoping to go to 2 years but now pregnant am intensely irritated by my son b feeding and it physically really really hurts.I do feel bad because I have read that bf babies actually see the boob as their mother so when you take it away they can feel their mother is abandoning them so lots of reassurance is needed- I let my son keep his hand on it as he falls asleep which seems to calm him down.
Don't feel bad- you have done a great job for a long time.

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