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Think I need to stop BFing. So upset.

(110 Posts)
Writerwannabe83 Wed 03-Dec-14 10:11:02

For the sake of my sanity and for the sake if mine and DS's relationship I think the time has come where I have to stop.

I can't cope anymore with his dependence on me. He won't sleep unless he is fed to sleep and he wakes constantly in the night for comfort feeds. He won't nap unless he's on me (if he naps at all) and unless we co-sleep he wakes all the time. I'm exhausted and so is he.

I'm so upset about it but the time has come to admit I can't keep this up anymore. I'm actually in tears writing this.

I'm going back to work in 7 weeks which is another factor in my decision but I still feel like I'm failing or giving up.

I don't know why I'm writing this - moral support and reassurance really. Tips?

I love my DS to pieces but our relationship is suffering because of how utterly frustrated I am with it and things are getting worse, not better. It's affecting me and DH too.

squizita Wed 03-Dec-14 10:25:33

DS is going to be well fed and properly cared for, breast or bottle! Many parents only ebf to start with, it's a healthy start and you've provided that. If you want to move on, ds will be fine!
Do what your head and heart tell you.
smile

Singsongmama Wed 03-Dec-14 10:40:16

I remember your posts from early early baby days...we were on a night vigil together...

I too reached the point that you're at now. I felt ds was hanging off me all day and I was exhausted. I weaned ds from EBF at 9 months. He was eating 3 meals a day and drinking water from sippy cup. So I dropped one day feed at a time to follow on milk in sippy cup. Then I dropped night feeds one at a time and replaced it with water in sippy cup (if he wAnted it). Last feed to drop was bedtime feed but he managed just fine and did go to sleep after his sippy of milk. We are now working on gradual retreat sleep training.

I spoke to HV for advice then just went for it. Small steps. It took just over a month to completely stop but I feel liberated and much better for stopping. Ds is absolutely fine, no different for stopping....still full of smiles, cuddles and mischief! Most importantly, I feel like I took back control and started to make decisions for him rather than dancing to his merry tune all day and night.

What do you think you'll do?

Btw....making the decision to stop took me a couple of weeks and it was the hardest part of the process. Will I, won't i, should I, could I, will I? In the end, for me, the answer was YES and I'm happier for it.

Writerwannabe83 Wed 03-Dec-14 11:01:02

I just feel so overwhelmed.

DS is tired now but there's no formula in the house so I will have to BF him. Normally I take him up to the bedroom, put him in his sleep-bag and then feed him to sleep. I then have to lie as still as a statue until he wakes up sad However, a MN'er has recommended I feed him in the living room and then take him upstairs and put him in his cot. That way he won't asleep sleep only being an option with a nipple in his mouth. I know he will cry and cry in his cot but I've got to try it. I'm trying to mentally prepare myself for a battle over the next few days, weeks whatever, but things have got to change.

I just never know how long to leave him in his cot for if he's crying. I will obviously be going in to reassure him between his cries but at what point do I accept a nap is not going to happen?

Imeg Wed 03-Dec-14 12:38:59

I might have got this wrong but it sounds to me like it's not the actual breastfeeding for nutrition that's a problem for you but more the feeding to sleep/co sleeping/comfort feeding. Is it the thought of stopping breastfeeding altogether that's upsetting you or the thought of having a battle about sleeping or maybe both?
I only mention this because I'm still breastfeeding but with scheduled feeds, not on demand as I got fed up with feeding to sleep. So if you wanted to continue breastfeeding then you could do this at the level that's necessary for nutrition (I'm feeding 3 times daily at 8.5 months, about 10 mins per feed, though he is guzzline solids really well) and stop the comfort feeding by whichever method works for you - we did controlled crying for bedtime - left for 5, 10, 15 mins. Would he sleep in the pram or similar for naps during the day while you do something about night time?
If you're just fed up and want to stop altogether then by all means do!
Hope you find the right option for you smile

VertdeTerre Wed 03-Dec-14 12:50:32

You are not failing or giving up, you have done really well to get this far.

I agree with lmeg that this sounds like more of a sleep issue than a BF issue, and at this age there are things you can do to change this (not necessarily controlled crying, if you don't want to go down that road there are other sleep training methods). Also re naps, at this stage babies often move from 2 to 1 (or 3 to 2) so it might be a question of rejigging the routine a little?

I'd also say that IME solid food really clicks for babies around the 9 month mark, so you may find that he suddenly wants to drink less anyway.

I suppose what I'm saying is it's not necessarily all or nothing, even with going back to work. If the idea of stopping completely is upsetting then there are ways around it. But I hope you find a solution that feels right for you.

tiktok Wed 03-Dec-14 13:03:54

Writer, you sound so sad and frustrated sad

You had a massive amount of hostility from your family when you decided to breastfeed. They undermined you and criticised you.

Is part of your frustration and despair now linked to that? Are family members saying 'I told you so' in some way?

Imeg has some great ideas about managing the situation without actually stopping breastfeeding or creating distress in you or your baby...a chat to any breastfeeding counsellor/helpline would help you explore options.
The night time thing,in particular, sounds hard....and it need not be.

Hope you find a way forward.

GotToBeInItToWinIt Wed 03-Dec-14 13:15:30

I stopped for pretty much the same reasons as you, at around the same age. I felt horrific about it but DD has thrived just as well on formula and cows milk, and we are all happier. DH is happier knowing he can give me a break, DD and I are both getting more sleep, I am able to get out to the gym, and see friends in the evening etc. I'm glad I was able to give DD a great start with breast milk but stopping was a no brainer for us.

Writerwannabe83 Wed 03-Dec-14 13:21:58

Everything just seems so bleak. I love BF'ing and don't want to stop but it feels like I have no other choice. The main issue I have is with his sleep, you are all right, but the issue behind that is that he won't sleep unless he's BF to sleep so my logic is saying that removing BFs is the answer.

My above attempt to get him to nap in his cot without being fed to sleep was a complete disaster. After 35 minutes of him screaming and getting more and more worked up (despite my reassurances) I had to put an end to it. He was in a horrendous state. I felt like a terrible mother.

I needed up BF'ing him to sleep so it was all for nothing and I'm back at square one.

I absolutely NEED him to sleep without needing a BF and I need him to be able to self settle but I just don't see how it can happen. I always take the easy route and offer the breast out of frustration which is why my brain is telling me to stop breast feeding because then I can't give in.

SoddingCupcakes Wed 03-Dec-14 13:34:15

it feels like I have no other choice

Of course you have a choice. Stick with it.

It's a relatively short chunk of your life. You'll be so glad (and proud!) that you did.

FraterculaArctica Wed 03-Dec-14 13:40:26

Hi Writer I feel like you - my DS is a couple of weeks younger than yours and an even worse sleeper - he wakes every hour at night and has done almost relentlessly since he was 3 mo. Last night was every 30 min. I don't understand why he wakes so often because he settles with some patting at the start of the night. I'm seriously cconsidering leaving him with DH tonight because I'm feeling almost suicidal... he will take expressed milk from a bottle, but I can't bear the thought of how distressed he'll be. I'm not prepared to do CC either and my HV is absolutely useless and unsupportive. I would much rather do sleep training and continue BF though, I mean if we stop BF they're going to be equally distressed at night, right? I am feeding 8-10 times every night though and just exhausted. How often are you feeding? My DS doesn't sleep any longer than an hour at a time even with cosleeping... aaargh.

FraterculaArctica Wed 03-Dec-14 13:43:32

Cupcakes when you say 'of course you have a choice' what would you actually recommend to improve the situation for those of us feeding an 8 mo 8-10 times a night? It's just not sustainable in terms of sleep deprivation.

Imeg Wed 03-Dec-14 13:51:01

That sounds really hard sad

I really didn't think mine would ever go to sleep without feeding to sleep but after a few nights he was sleeping much better than he did before so personally I think it is worth persisting. I think you have to be determined though (more determined than baby!), which I know is hard when you're exhausted. Could you wait until your other half is around and send him in to eg offer water in a sippy cup, while you go somewhere out of earshot (I sat in the garden the first night...) Or get a friend/relative to be with you to help you stick to whatever plan you make. If it helps you feel less bad, mine cried for over an hour the first night we did it. It was definitely worth it though. And it distressed him much less than either trying to rock him to sleep or the settle and leave approach I tried before - I think if I was in the room at all and especially if I picked him up he couldn't understand why I wasn't feeding him so he was better if I left the room.
Have you tried posting on the sleep thread or reading some of the old discussions on there?

ThereisnoFinWay Wed 03-Dec-14 13:55:31

You don't need to stop BF at all, you need to try and remove the feed to sleep association and if appropriate, night wean.

DS1 got to the stage where he would only get to sleep by feeding, so I had to remove that association. I basically fed till he was almost asleep, then took him off and patted/ rocked to sleep instead, then gradually took him off the breast earlier and earlier so he was more and more awake, but had still had a full feed, then changed to shhhing and patting to sleep. Then when I felt he could go without a night feed, I night weaned as well. He was 11m when I night weaned, but I carried on feeding till he was 17m. Yes it did involve some effort in the short term and it did involve some tears, but it was worth it long term as DH could get him to sleep and also could share the night waking.

Have a look at Elizabeth Pantleys No Cry Sleep Solution and the "Pantley Pull Off" and also Dr Jay Gordon's night weaning methods, they might give you some more options.

FraterculaArctica Wed 03-Dec-14 14:01:23

We are trying NCSS and sometimes DH manages to get DS back to sleep, but by about the 6 th wake up of the night at 1 am we both run out of energy. Thing is I am never feeding completely to sleep and I thought this was meant to be the key? would it be terrible to go away for a night just to regain some energy before trying again?

PrincessTheresaofLiechtenstein Wed 03-Dec-14 14:02:48

I got to the end of my tether stage with dd when she was about 8 months old. It had all seemed manageable up till then! I tried the technique suggested in the No Cry Sleep Solution of gently removing nipple from mouth as she drifted off. She would then wake up, feed a little bit, get sleepy again, I'd gently pull her off, etc etc. It took quite a few days, with no obvious improvement at first, until suddenly she was able to drift off in my arms after feeding. Then we progressed to drifting off in the cot with me standing there etc.

FraterculaArctica Wed 03-Dec-14 14:03:38

Writer is your DS teething? Mine is hugely bothered by molars and has been for last 3 weeks or so, but I'm not expecting them to come through for several months so this could go on for ages

HuggleBuggleBear Wed 03-Dec-14 14:08:27

Hi writer, how old is ur ds? My dd is 9 months and fully breastfed. She sleeps terribly so I know how exhausting it is.
I do naps in the pram, no feeding to sleep just push pram back and forth for 5 mins. This got easier once I had been doing every day for a week or so.
Evening wake ups (between 7 and midnight) I send my husband up and he cuddles her back to sleep. If I go to her she just wants feeding.
Then I co sleep when I go to bed till morning.
Having an evening to myself helps a lot.
She goes to grandparents every couple of weeks for a night and manages just fine. They give her expressed milk in a cup at bedtime and water in a cup at all other wake ups. She is cuddled and patted to sleep and still wakes regularly but is happy to go back to sleep without milk.

It is so hard the feed to sleep association is so strong. I've also tried the pantley pull off technique with some success.

HuggleBuggleBear Wed 03-Dec-14 14:10:30

Forgot to add my friend who formula fed had same difficulty with frequent night awakenings and it only got better when she night weaned. So if you switch to formula you might still need to wean off night feeds.

Writerwannabe83 Wed 03-Dec-14 14:11:27

Thank you everyone for your replies - you are all being so kind and reassuring.

I'm very lucky that 75% of the time once DS has fallen asleep he does sleep well. He can sometimes go 9pm-6am. However, some nights he can be awake every 1.5 hours and will not go back to sleep unless I breast feed him. The other week we had an horrendous night and I was determined not to BF him back to sleep but he was awake from 2am-5am. I had an
Absolute breakdown, I don't think I've ever cried so much. I was shouting at DS and screaming at DH. All I wanted to do was run away.

DS was awake a lot last night too, just constantly grizzling and crying and it just pushes me to breaking point. My DH took him off me (DH is in the spare room) at 5.30am because I just couldn't listen to him anymore.

I hate myself for getting so frustrated and angry with DS but I can't cope anymore.

I emailed a Sleep Specialist earlier because of how desperate me and DH are.

Fratercula - I would ABSOLUTELY have a night away if I was you. No question about it!!!!

TarkaTheOtter Wed 03-Dec-14 14:13:10

OP I was in your situation a month ago. Here is what worked for me.
1. Stop feeding to sleep at bedtime. Feed then rock to sleep.
2. Night wean by doing the same thing between bedtime-5am. Offer water if need be.
3. Sleep train with gradual retreat. We are doing it very gently. At the moment we sing/shhh/rub back/pat but he has to stay in the cot. The second night of doing this at bedtime he slept through. Next step will be no touching just sitting next to cot. Eventually I'd like to be able to put him down in cot and leave the room.

Writerwannabe83 Wed 03-Dec-14 14:16:06

I take him for walks in his pram when I'm desperate to get him to sleep but it usually takes 1-1.5 hours of walking before he actually goes to sleep. It's just exhausting. He will fight it and fight it for hours and hours and hours. Some days he only has an hour's worth of nap (2x30 minutes) in the space of 13 hours.

That's why I take the easy option of BF'ing him to sleep because it's the only way he will.

DH does go in to him at night when DS wakes but DS will scream and scream and scream until eventually I intervene. I then try a whole manner if things to try and get DS back to sleep but after about an hour of nothing working I just breast feed him sad

HuggleBuggleBear Wed 03-Dec-14 14:23:10

With the pushing to sleep in the pram, at first my dd just resisted sleep but I peg a sheet thing or muslin over front of cot sounds weird but means no distractions and she goes to sleep quickly.

Tanaqui Wed 03-Dec-14 14:51:16

Do you use a dummy? Can really help them self soothe. I was dead set against it until breast fed ds became mobile and stole them out of other children's mouths- then it was a lifesaver!
Also second the muslin over thre pram idea.

HuggleBuggleBear Wed 03-Dec-14 14:52:29

Just realised I said muslin over cot, I meant over front of pram

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