Ok, how do you STOP breastfeeding? Advice pls!(15 Posts)
My daughter, Seren, is 13 months old and we have been lucky in that we both seemed to take to breastfeeding straight away and I ebf for 10 months before I went back to work. She will now take formula at nursery and if for some reason I am not there (the handful of times I have been out for some much needed baby free time) but she completely refuses to take a bottle from me and, although I found breastfeeding easy, I am finding it really difficult to stop. My dh now seems to think I am breastfeeding for purely selfish reasons and makes jokes and comments about "bitty" etc and breastfeeding her forever, but I seriously don't know how to stop without it being a huge wrench for both her and me.
Do I just go on strike? Try and replace breastfeeding with normal milk gradually?
As an aside, does anyone feel as though they were pressured to breastfeed with the whole "breast is best" mentality, but then after 6 months it turns into "oh you are STILL breastfeeding?"
Any tips/advice gratefully received!
Your dh is being unkind and a bit daft, sorry!
I am assuming your dd loves bf and loves the connection she has with you via bf....so how can it be 'selfish' any more than anything else you do with a toddler that she likes is 'selfish'?
Breastmilk remains a nutritious and healthy food/drink.
There is no reason to stop, unless you and/or your baby want to.
It is not unusual to be bf at this age either.
If you are sure you want to stop (why? ) then of course you would do it gradually - this allows your body to adjust and just as importantly, you and your baby to adjust emotionally.
Some mothers decide that they will not breastfeed at a certain time any more, and they offer a cup or a different activity/food instead.
Then they cut down more, over time, so the only feeding left is the time they most value - often the bedtime feed or the early morning one.
It sounds to me that your dh would help more by being less critical, and it would help you both if he could explain what exactly he is objecting to. Clearly, your dd is healthy and is able to take sustenance from other sources, so she is not dependant on you. So what's he worried about??
Your husband is being a twat about this.
Do you want to stop altogether or just cut down to say one feed at night?
A complete stop is quite abrupt and you and dd may find it harsh. Cutting down to just one feed will obviously string it out but may make it easier.
It's up to you wether you want to stop or not, I breasted all mine for 3 years. I managed to stop by rubbing lemon juice on my nipples and telling them my milk had gone yukky .
I night weaned my then 9mo by simply refusing to feed for a certain portion of the night (12-5 worked for us) after a couple of days of just a cuddle back to sleep, he stopped bothering to wake and hasn't fed at night since (2 1/2 months ago) he sleeps 6-6:30/7 generally, with a nappy change around 3 (we're in cloth)
With day feeds, i offered a drink and a rice cake every time he asked for milk. If he didn't want that he got boob. Gradually he accepted the rice cake/drink more and more until 2 weeks ago we got to 2 feeds a day, breakfast and bedtime. I have no plans to push him to drop those, although the breakfast feed is getting shorter so may go anyway soon.
Tell your husband that medical guidance is to feed until 2 years, and that children don't lose the ability to suckle until between 5 and 7 years old. Anyway, you're giving your dd the most organic, natural, healthy substance in existence - why would you deny her that?
And yes, even my very supportive and switched on GP asked if I'm still feeding recently <rolls eyes> luckily SIL got to 15 months then 2 years old with her 2 dc and my mum's just impressed having dried up
with accompanying dash to the supermarket in a mad panic when i was 6 weeks
The World Health Organisation recommend BF for at least two years. The natural time span for a human infant to nurse is between 2 and 6 years and the world wide average is, I believe, 4 years.
Stop if it's what is right for your baby. If you are happy and she is happy, carry on.
I agree with TikTok though, the real issue here is your DH's. He could be a lot more supportive, but maybe he just needs a bit of educating? I'm sure he wants the best for you and your DC and wouldn't ask you to stop once he understands how much your baby is still benefiting from BF.
If you do stop, consider doing it gradually as BF is linked to emotional needs and as you say, it would be quite a wrench to just stop, especially for a child who is to young to understand why.
The WHO is concerned about third world mothers using formula milk and contaminated water when bf is cheaper and safer. Nothing much to do with UK mums. Some people love to bf forever and some want to stop much earlier. I think men get jealous and think of themselves more than the baby because they know you could move to formula with no reduction in health consequences for your baby. You will just have to balance your need to bf and your husband's perceived needs. From a health point of view you could cut down the bf but would it not have been better to agree a strategy with your husband before you got this far down the road?. It took me 18 months to get my youngest DD to give up and I was utterly sick of it! Each to their own though.
I breastfed my dd until she was 20 months and stopped altogether about 3 weeks ago, although from the age of 12 months when I went back to work she would have cows milk at nursery during the day - I had been expressing before that but it just didn't seem to make a lot of sense when she was happy with cows milk and eating solids anyway... I may well have carried on breastfeeding morning and evening (and more at weekends) if it hadn't been for the fact we were starting IVF to try for a second child and I can't fb while on the meds so it gave me an end-point.
I remember wondering exactly HOW I could ever stop breastfeeding as my dd is a big milk fan and would create if she didn't get what she wanted - she also wouldn't take a bottle from me initially (she refused milk from cups altogether although she will drink water from them). I decided that since she would take a bottle at nursery I would stick with trying to introduce a bottle rather than moving directly to cups and eventually when I continued not offering the breast during day feeds and she realised it was either a bottle or nothing she would take the bottle and she LOVES a bottle now. I then replaced the morning feed with a bottle at about 17 months, dropped the daytime milk altogether so she would eat more and continued to just bf for the evening feed for about 3 months. It's gone really well for us and I'm not concerned about her having her milk from a bottle once or twice a day, the next step will be just to move from a bottle to a cup and reduce the amount of milk but I found moving to a bottle a very big help for the interim (though I know lots of people aren't fans of bottles after 12 months - tbh whatever gets you through!)
Above all I'd agree with everyone else that your DH could be more supportive - bfing is the opposite of selfish, it takes a lot to continue. I did come up against some people who were not aware that it is completely normal and healthy to bf beyond a year old - as others have said it is recommended by the WHO until age 2... it is often helpful to tell them that doctors recommend bfeeding until age 2 - it normally shuts them up (although I have to say, I never said MY doctor - as he is an unenlightened old codger who told me when my dd was 6 months that I "had better stop before she's seven months or I'll never be able to stop" - dufus)
Good luck with it all, I remember the feeling of being very daunted by stopping and not thinking I would ever be able to move on from bfing but as it turns out it was a piece of cake. Do look at why you are wanting to stop and make sure you are doing it because it is right for you and your child, and not because of external opinions etc - I think it is much harder stopping if you are not ready... Luckily the time was right for us.
All the best
Thanks so much for all the advice and tips, will definitely take them on board. Just to stick up for my dh, I don't think that he is being unsupportive for the sake of it, I just don't think that he understands that bfing is an emotional thing as well as physical and so many of my friends have given up bfing after a few months that he thinks there us something strange about me still going at 13 months.
I would like to get my body back in the near future so I will be using all your tips and do it gradually, hopefully it can be a smooth transition for us both.
I used to read Kellymom which is great as a reminder that the benefits of longer (or natural term) breast feeding are. I still cut both ours short for similar reasons to you but at a time when I felt more sure they'd mind less and DD was 2 1/2 and DS 2 1/4.
You could also aim just cut down to maybe feed just last thing at night or early am? Though that wouldn't work with ours as they wanted milk more than solids so I had to go cold turkey!
LittleSiouxie - the risks associated with formula feeding are greater in less developed countries, but that doesn't mean there are no risks in the "first world".
There have been studies linking formula with things like gastroenteritis, right here in the UK.
Good luck OP, just take it steady and at whatever pace suits you both
DS is 15mo and I want to stop bfing. I night weaned 2 mo ago as a first step and now he has bf morning and bedtime and sometimes 1/2 during the day when I'm not at work. Am not sure of next steps really, although I know that I should probably stop any 'comfort' feeds next (I know that they all comfort really, but I mean the ones other than breakfast and bedtime basically) and offer water/food like others have suggested. And then replace the morning one with cows milk (which he takes happily during the day) and then eventually do the same with the bedtime one. I'd be happy to just do bedtime feeds for a while yet, but would like to get it down to just this one.
My main worry though is even if I do it gradually I feel like DS will be SO upset and miss it so much, that I'd be being mean by stopping. I wonder how long it takes for them to forget that they ever bf?? I already feel bad when I don't offer him boob during the day when he wants it, I feel maybe I've left it too long and now I have to wait until he gives up naturally otherwise he'll realise what's happening and be too upset??
Also, and I know this isn't true, and lots of women worry about it, but will DS still love me if I stop bfing?? :-(
mmmm I appear to have made my post about ME!! Sorry - just meant that I know how your feel!!
flip, these are genuine and understandable concerns.
You are recognising that for you and your baby, breastfeeding is far more than a drink/food. It is part of your relationship with your baby - and you love each other so much but not because of the breastfeeding per se. This love comes from the responsive, emotional and mutually warm and caring action of breastfeeding, and you will not withdraw your responsive, emotional and mutually warm and caring 'stuff' when you reduce breastfeeding - you will just find other ways to include it in your relationship, as you are already doing.
It is fine to continue breastfeeding as often as you both want and also fine to wind it down to the amount you feel you want and also fine to stop if you think this is best for your family. Babies can find love and closeness to their mums in many ways, and you are clearly sensitive enough to be gentle and kind with him. That's what will enable him to love you forever, not the breastfeeding or the length of time you do it
Some women wean by doing a 'never offer never refuse' - you can find experiences on the web. This might be worth exploring for you.
Havent read all other comments but I stopped bf at13 months, was a deliberate decision. I know you can carry on etc but it wasnt working well for me with work, i needed to stop at some point and so i did. I was doing morning and evening at that point, and dc1 never touched formula or cows milk tii a few months after we stopped bf - but would have cheese and yoghurt.
I went cold turkey. For 5 days dh put dc to bed and got her up in the morning so there were no boobs....and you know, she never once asked for it. That was it.
In advance I dreaded doing it, but it was ok. I thought she might love me less, but of course not and we still have lots of cuddles, just not bf ones. I had dreaded having to refuse her bf (and may not have been able to, had she aked), but didnt have to.
It suited me, although would not be for everyone.
My hv helped me talk through options, by the way, which i found helpful.
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