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Breastfeeding: how did you know when to stop?

(24 Posts)
blibblobblub Mon 05-Oct-15 16:18:41

Just asking out of curiosity really.

DD is 19 weeks, EBF. We've had a rough few days; she's been feeding a lot and has started kind of mauling/grabbing at my boobs while she feeds. She's also been incredibly irritable, which hasn't helped.

I've also been feeling quite resentful at not being able to go out without a ton of forward planning and making sure there's enough milk in the freezer.

I'm not at the point yet where I've been pushed far enough to want to stop, but it has crossed my mind!

When/how did you decide to stop (especially if you stopped before 6mo)? What did it for you?

MilkyChops Mon 05-Oct-15 18:51:04

I wasn't ready to stop but my baby got a cold at 5 months and went on nursing strike. My supply dropped and my periods returned straight away and my supply dropped even more then that was that.

You need to do what's best for you. Be proud that you've fed her for how long you have. Maybe just introduce one bottle of formula now and again to give you some flexibility in going out and things and see how you go. No need to go cold turkey if you don't want to.

One thing I would say though is prepare yourself for if you decide to finish breastfeeding. I got really upset and didn't realise how upset I would be.

Barbie1 Mon 05-Oct-15 18:58:55

Dd was exclusively breast fed for 15 months.

I remember trying the bottle from about 6 months after a fussy few weeks. She refused. Then continued to refuse all bottles so I had to continue. To be fair I did enjoy it.

Then one day I realised I wasn't enjoying it anymore and it was becoming a chore. I decided there and then we would stop.

She must of felt it too because she finally took a cup of milk shock..we never looked back

Ds 1 had reflux so bad that we had no choice but to stop at 7 weeks.

Ds 2 has just turned a year old this week. He is like his sister and point blank refuses a bottle.
I am covered in scratches and bites...and as I just put him to bed I thought how much he needs me to get him to sleep. I would love to do an early evening feed and stop the others all together, but that would mean I have to start sleep training and I'm not ready for that yet wink so for me is the lesser of two evils.

Barbie1 Mon 05-Oct-15 19:01:00

To to answer your question if I could of gotten the dc to take a bottle I probably would of started to offer it more and more as soon as weaning had started and probably stopped as soon as they were successfully taking the bottle

Asteria36 Mon 05-Oct-15 19:06:41

I had a really shit time during the first 3 months of bf, so once we got into the swing of it I didn't want to stop! DS was still having boob at bed-time and first thing in the morning until he was about 18 months. We just stopped one day, there wasn't a defining moment that made me stop. If neither of you are enjoying bf then don't do it any more.

blibblobblub Mon 05-Oct-15 20:15:53

MilkyChops I think I'd be devastated if I did stop tbh.

I do enjoy it a lot of the time and I'm not ready to stop yet I don't think. Luckily she will take a bottle so I do have a bit of freedom in going out. It just means expressing and keeping the freezer stocked!

I think she's maybe just going through a growth spurt or something, she's been pretty relentless the past few days. Hopefully it'll pass!

anothernumberone Mon 05-Oct-15 20:30:52

My first 2 I stopped after 1 and 2 weeks because it was awful. DS BF for 2.5 years and self weaned. It got really easy when he moved to solids and could survive without bm and so was less dependant.

NickyEds Mon 05-Oct-15 20:54:02

If you're starting to feel resentful about getting out, how about mix feeding? I mix fed ds to 6.5 months and stopped because we wanted to have another baby. I'm currently bf dd (11 weeks) but she has a bottle of f as a bedtime feed. She will also have a bottle if I want to get out but that's only happened once so far! Your supply will cope with missing the occasional feed and it might just take the pressure off? Tbh mix feeding is really helping- I'm not sure I'd carry on bf at all if I were ebf. It doesn't have to be all or nothing.

circlelake Tue 06-Oct-15 09:29:14

The amount of milk you have to leave will decrease too so it should get easier. I had to go back to work full time after 6 months and only left two bottles of ebm for me being out for 9 hours a day. Then I went to just one. I left a few bags of milk in the freezer but never had a huge stash, just enough for an extra hungry day.

Also once they're eating they can have food and water the odd time. smile

4-6 months was quite hard work i think, I was really tired when I went back to work!

I have a 4 month old right now who is also more grumpy and hungry at the moment and spending a lot of time in the sling...

circlelake Tue 06-Oct-15 09:32:07

Oh I fed mine until two because I'm lazy and I like cuddles and getting them back to sleep easily. Also it's great for when they're poorly and won't/ can't eat much. smile

Doublebubblebubble Tue 06-Oct-15 09:44:45

I breastfed my DD for 19 months - she never ever took a bottle.
I would have carried on until she was ready to stop but I had a very very bad kidney infection (got hospitalised) and had to take mega-strong antibiotics... So boobies were a no go for her and me. And because she was over a year we just swapped boob with whole milk (she was getting a fair amount of whole milk at that point anyway...)

I've also been feeling quite resentful at not being able to go out without a ton of forward planning

Why are you feeling resentful?
I'm confused by this. (I dont mean any offence) do you mean clothing-wise, finding a place to do it (I didn't care where I fed i just whipped my old boobs out where and when - I know its not that easy for everyone)

Bf is legitimately easier than bottle feeding (imho) as that requires a ridiculous amount more forward planning.. (and there is all new advice according to the hvs) With bf you just need boobs lol agree with other pps that you could mix-feed too but when and if you stop it should be entirely up to you xx good luck op xx

ShowOfHands Tue 06-Oct-15 09:53:06

Doublebubble, the op means going out without the baby.

I breastfed both of mine and hoped they'd self wean. Neither did. I had to gently encourage dd to stop at 3.5. I couldn't bear it anymore. It was like a switch flicked and I went from it being one of the lovelies parts of parenting to something which felt so incredibly wrong. Like stroking a dog the wrong way. It wasn't an intellectual thing at all. I just couldn't do it. I very, very gently weaned dd from the breast. Then I had DS and happily fed him until he was 3.5 and the same thing happened. Almost overnight, it started to feel very odd indeed.

I can't explain it but I do know from talking to other extended breastfeeders that it's quite common.

Apparently primates do a similar thing.

Eminado Tue 06-Oct-15 09:58:01

Then one day I realised I wasn't enjoying it anymore and it was becoming a chore. I decided there and then we would stop. "

This summarises it best for me.
I was just done. Didnt enjoy it anymore (spending all evening in a dark room while she bobbed on and off hmm)
I was just done.
She was a bottle refuser though so it was hard but i just felt in my spirit (sorry for the cliche) that we needed to move on.

And I think I was right as it wasnt too hard. Dropped the night feeds first over a bank holiday weekend and then from there it was fine. she was 11 months.

Doublebubblebubble Tue 06-Oct-15 10:15:50

Oh I see - sorry guys x

BertieBotts Tue 06-Oct-15 10:23:46

You could leave formula when you go out so it's not so much effort to prepare. I think I might do this in future as looking back I was a bit nuts trying for ages to express just so I could go out when formula is a perfectly fine alternative. I had this weird thing about it, but especially once they are on solids, it's just another kind of food. One of the best things about BF (in my opinion) is that you can do it alongside all that other stuff - food and nursery times and whatever and it just adapts. It's amazing.

4 months is definitely growth spurt territory smile

I fed DS until he stopped by himself, he was 4 years old. It does happen eventually - I never thought I'd feed for so long but it just kept happening alongside everything else and there was just no particular pressing need to stop, so I didn't push it.

Totallyoutoforder Tue 06-Oct-15 10:35:54

DC1 was mixed fed from 1 month. When I returned to work after 10 months, naturally the formula bottle took over.
DC2 was EBF until 27 months, refused bottles, even with breast milk, one day at 27 moths, asked for a bottle of cow milk, never went back to boobs. I kind of missed it but 27months is good enough.
19weeks is good already, don't feel guilty, whatever works for you will work for your baby, it is much better to give a happy bottle than a reluctant breast.

TheOddity Tue 06-Oct-15 13:21:11

I'm still asking myself this question 3 and a half years later! DS is 3 months off being four years old now and I can't tell you how many times we have tried to stop or I have thought about stopping. He even did stop for two weeks when he had a load of ulcers in his mouth (although the illness came on just at the start of weaning). When ulcers healed, he latched straight back on. This was the trend for us, every time I started to wean, he started to get ill and then only boob would comfort him.
It has been a roller coaster really, a love/hate relationship with breast feeding. I have times when I couldn't manage without it, and times when the sensation is just awful and I want to just pull him off. The nursing relationship changes and you get to set more boundaries after the year stage though which is good, and he can go to sleep with someone else without boob so I have been able to leave him for a night out from about 9 months old without worrying too much.
Now pregnant and facing the prospect of tandem feeding in January. I would say, as always, every child is different and will want/need it more or less. He is not a clingy boy, he just really loves breastfeeding. I think you have to just do what is best for you two personally at the end of the day. No one else really counts in the equation. The stress of weaning has always outweighed the advantages for me. I'm now at peace that he will stop when he is ready and the reduction in feeds is slow but sure. He now says "I'm leaving some for my little sister".

puttheteaon Tue 06-Oct-15 14:11:52

Hi, glad I found this, I've always loved breast feeding, my lo feeds well and there is a lovely closeness and bond that I will miss so much (probs just have to get pregnant again!)

My lo is 8 months and is going back and forth self weaning, on days he eats lots of solids he can go all day without feeding and will feed at bedtime and once or twice overnight then other days he'll barely eat a thing and feed 3/4 times in the day plus night feeds. Just wondering if anyone knows how this affects supply? And also if he drops all daytime feeds is he getting enough milk? I give him lots of dairy in food and water to drink at every meal.

I was getting a bit of pressure to stop bf by my mum/mil and some friends, not intentionally but lots of comments like 'oh people who feed beyond 6 months is more for them than the baby' 'oh is he not ready to stop feeding yet?' and my fav 'aren't you embarrassed breastfeeding now he's bigger and knows they're boobs?'!!!!! I had resigned myself to having to stop and was really sad until I figured I'd just let him stop in his own time and like others have said when I don't enjoy it anymore, feels much more natural and less stress than having to force it! X

puttheteaon Tue 06-Oct-15 14:16:07

Meant to say as well, don't feel guilty, breast feeding is a massive commitment and can be really tough on you when all feeding is up to you, know I've had times where I've been really resentful of dh when its all up to me! Different for every mum and every baby so just do what you want and tune everyone else out! X

circlelake Tue 06-Oct-15 16:08:31

and my fav 'aren't you embarrassed breastfeeding now he's bigger and knows they're boobs?'!!

At 8 months. grin Oh dear puttheteaon,what are some people thinking!

My 3 year old still thinks they are called 'milks' I believe. blush blush

puttheteaon Tue 06-Oct-15 20:45:22

I know!!! Was said to me at a wedding where my normally lovely childless friend was necking jagerbombs and loudly singing Taylor swift....think I know who should be more embarrassed!! X

blibblobblub Tue 06-Oct-15 20:51:55

puttheteaon wow, that's ridiculous. People say some strange things!

Thanks everyone though, I'm certainly carrying on for now. I think in my heart of hearts I would like us to carry on for quite a while longer.

Thebirdsneedseeds Tue 06-Oct-15 21:01:34

Hi Blib,

I stopped when I felt I needed space. I felt like DS was physically "at me" and I started to really not enjoy it. I also felt like I couldn't go anywhere without him without worrying that he'd need me to feed or even be in the house without him needing me. I wanted to go out for a few hours and not feel stressed about rushing back. I wanted my body back. I wanted to go to sleep and not wake in a puddle of milk. I just knew. It was also linked to night wakings and him comfort feeding. It just had to stop. And so I weaned and he accepted it really easily. He was 10 months.

It sounds like I hated it! I didn't. It was a fantastic experience, a brilliant tool and I don't regret doing it but it's hard work and I found it did affect DS's bond with dad in the early days as he was so closely tied to me and my boob. (He never took a bottle) he's now thick as thieves with his dad smile

ohthegoats Wed 07-Oct-15 22:08:36

Exactly what thebirdneedssees said. It happened around 8 months, although to be honest I was 'done' around 6 months, it just seemed so much easier than a bottle, so I kept going until she could bite me. At that point I stopped, quite quickly over 2 weeks. She'd been able to take a bottle since 2 weeks, but I found it was less about what they'd do when I was out, more about my boobs/how I felt when I was out without her. I loved stopping!

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