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Giving up the breast - cold turkey, anyone done it?

(19 Posts)
emmagee Tue 28-May-02 18:18:10

My little darling will be 1 in 10 days time and I think I would like to give up breastfeeding. He has never really taken a bottle, thinks formula is horrible and doesn't really drink huge quantities of water from a beaker. He does have cows milk for breakfast with cereal and I have given it to him in a cup occasionally. Has anyone ever just stopped breastfeeding overnight and with how much success as I think that's what I am going to have to do? I think that if I do half and half he will always screech until I give in (which I know I will if it's possible!) Help required!

Lindy Tue 28-May-02 19:02:01

Yes - I gave up overnight & didn't have any problems BUT my DS had been used to about one cup of formula a day so he was used to drinking out of a cup & he is the least 'cuddly' baby I know so he didn't miss the 'intimicy' side of b/feeding. He was 8 months at the time. Good Luck!

mears Tue 28-May-02 19:02:09

If you go cold turkey you will get engorged breasts and be very uncomfortable if you are still doing lost of feeds. Drop them individually with 2 or 3 days in between. It would also be really traumatic for your baby. At one year he will be able to be distracted with other things if looking for the breast.

batey Tue 28-May-02 19:57:28

Listen to Mears, engorged boobs can really hurt. I gave up over 2 weeks and still it was like having 2 super sensitive rocks hanging off your chest. It did literally make me curl up, eyes watering if anyone even brushed near them, let alone being climbed on by dds. Try getting dh to give him milk/ formula when you know he's hungry/ thirsty, that way you wont be tempted to give in . Good Luck.

batey Tue 28-May-02 19:57:28

Listen to Mears, engorged boobs can really hurt. I gave up over 2 weeks and still it was like having 2 super sensitive rocks hanging off your chest. It did literally make me curl up, eyes watering if anyone even brushed near them, let alone being climbed on by dds. Try getting dh to give him milk/ formula when you know he's hungry/ thirsty, that way you wont be tempted to give in . Good Luck.

batey Tue 28-May-02 19:58:34

I didn't click on refresh, honest, it did this all by itself!

bluebear Tue 28-May-02 21:40:39

When ds was 7 months I gave up all the day feeds ( had been doing at least 8 during 7am to 7pm ) cold turkey, my reasoning being that life was just one long feeding time and if I held out without bfing for a short time during the day then he'd start waking at night for it. Tried to settle on morning/evening feeds in his room and bottles during the day (he refused them for the first day or so but gave in eventually). My boobs were fine - which surprised me.
However, within a week, he was having plenty of bottles during the day but I stopped producing enough milk for his am/pm feeds and they had to become bottles too.
Have you thought of going cold turkey on feeding him, but expressing regularly at 'feed' times to prevent engorgement - you could then slowly cut down the amount you express. Don't know if this would work - just a thought.

Azzie Tue 28-May-02 21:55:52

Emmagee, when dd was 9 months I gave up feeding her overnight - I had a bad back, took some pills suggested by the pharmacist, then read the label after I'd taken them and saw that I couldn't breastfeed when taking them (I cried a bit, seeing as she'd had her last feed without me realising it - I'd been planning to give up soon because I had a trip away planned, but not that soon!). I was worried because she had previously refused to drink any ordinary milk or formula. She took some from a beaker after that, but otherwise we filled her up on yoghurt and milk with cereal - a couple of years down the line she seems fine!

However, it was personally a little upsetting how quickly she got over not breastfeeding .

charliesmummy Wed 29-May-02 02:11:49

emmagee - I stopped two feeds a day (impatient) as opposed to one feed a week little by little, and it hurt like hell. I was totally convinced that I had mastitis because the pain and soreness was unbeleivable - I had fed my ds for 4 months but was returning to work. Because of this I had so much milk and as I was desperate to move on I would go in the shower with my Avent pump and just pump a little off that way just to reduce them slightly and it seemed to work, they finally dried up after 2 weeks. - Although have never looked the same again!. Good luck.

mollipops Wed 29-May-02 06:51:32

emmagee, when you say "overnight" do you mean literally just that, stopping altogether? As has been said, I feel this would be more difficult for both you and your ds.

Think about which feed in the day he seems least fussed about, it's usually mid-afternoon or morning. Whichever feed he spends less time on or whatever. Then drop that feed first, simply by changing your routine at that time of day - go for a walk, give an earlier bath, play with a new toy etc. A couple of days later, you will be able to drop another feed and so on, until you may find he stop wanting to feed altogether. With me the morning feed was the second last to go, followed by the bedtime feed. Once I stopped the nightfeed, it was up to dh to settle them for bed for a few days, so that the breast wasn't an option and they couldn't "sniff it out" either!

It won't take as long as you might think, and since your dd drinks well from a cup/beaker you don't need to start on bottles (better not to now, or you will have to go through weaning off bottles and start all over again!). I know with dd I was keen to wean as I was going on a short "holiday" alone, and once I dropped a few feeds she simply lost interest and refused to feed. It was definitely more traumatic for me than for her! So don't give up only because you feel a year is some sort of milestone or because it seems like something other people would expect. You don't sound really sure about it...make sure you are making the decision because it is right for you and your baby and not for anyone else.

Tinkerbell Wed 29-May-02 11:03:46

I tried to stop breastfeeding by cutting out the 11am and 2.30pm (so Gina Ford!) feeds when he was taking the least but he absolutely refused. Weak as a mouse I always relented and latched him back on. So I stopped trying on the milk then altogether and gave him water from beaker instead which he loved anyway. This was at 6 months.

At 8 months I then felt it was time to get him on a bottle for good. It was hell but I felt stronger this time. It also helped that he was hungry for his milk then for the morning and evening feeds so he always gave in...although sometimes after a 30-45 minute screaming struggle which was very upsetting.

But it hurt big time giving up. I got very sore, leaked alot and emotionally felt very low so I really wouldn't suggest going down the cold turkey route.

I agree with mollipops about the bottle/beaker thing. As he's one now, why not go straight to cow's milk, which you know he has no allergy to, from a beaker during the day and then slowly introduce this at other times. Saying that, I still give ds his evening feed from a bottle as he finds it so soothing (but he will accept it then from a beaker too, so hopefully I', not getting myself into a trap!!! wishful thinking maybe!!)

emmagee Wed 29-May-02 13:21:10

Lots of useful stuff, thanks. To respond to a few points; I'm not giving up because I feel pressured to, lots of people have already made the odd comment along the lines of "you're not still doing that are you...." etc which doesn't bother me. I guess it's really motivated by the fact that I haven't had a single night away from him in a year, and for those who know me from other postings, that has been my choice - attachment parenting and all that...
I just know that until I can get him off the breast, at least partially then I can't go away and having had little success getting him to take any sort of bottle regularly I wondered whether it was one way of doing it.
My daughter, now 3 and a half took a bottle from 6 weeks, i was going back to work at 6 months so it was essential to get her to start. Also with this one there are the issues of perhaps not having any more babies, so I know I am going to feel very sad, and cave in more!
Tinkerbell, how did you cope with a 30 min. screaming struggle? I tried once about 6 months ago to force the issue but he got really upset and I found myself questioning what on earth i was doing holding the bottle in his mouth! It kind of went against my approach to parenting in every other department. I guess it's a bit like controlled crying, once you break through the first night it feels less traumatic?

bundle Wed 29-May-02 14:52:34

emmagee, I've just given up breastfeeding my dd (23 mths), which was easy peasy because she'd only been having one feed a day for months now and she'd been taking a bottle (expressed milk, then eventually cows milk) from 6 mths when she went to nursery. My supply has gradually dried up (although I'm sure there's a bit still in there, we've been doing it so long!) so I didn't get any pain or engorgement. I also had the odd couple of nights away from her and the supply came back again once we were reuinited. Well done for the brilliant job you've done, and good luck with stopping.

bundle Wed 29-May-02 14:53:35

oh - forgot to say I would try getting someone else to do the bottle thing, dd was always reluctant for me to do it, obviously wanted breast instead cos she knew it was on hand.

Tinkerbell Wed 29-May-02 19:23:57

Bundle has a good point re getting someone else to do the bottle bit as I know it worked for lots of friends. No joy with either dh or my mother so it was left to me.

30 minute struggle....hmmm...put some classical music on to try and keep him calm, sent dh off to watch telly with the monitor firmly OFF and then played aeroplane with the bottle, read 'We're going on a bear hunt', bottle in, sang a bit, bottle in, held bottle in, red-faced baby, who am I, awful mother, shook a rattle etc etc until he always took it in the end and it just took less and less time. After a week or so he waited open-mouthed for it!!

I guess you are right, once you know he will take it, it IS like controlled crying as it does work. But it made me feel like hell!

GOOD LUCK!

emmagee Thu 30-May-02 13:19:57

Tinkerbell, when you first started, if he absolutely wouldn't take a bottle would you give in eventually and give boob? Or send him to bed hungry?

I have made a tiny bit of progress, no breatfeeding during the day for the last two days, he's definately got the idea that something is amiss and is really unsettled. I give him water, food a toy anything to prevent feeding but it's a struggle and his big sister is getting it in the neck a bit!

Tinkerbell Thu 30-May-02 17:51:51

emmagee, when I very first tried at 6 months I always gave in as I couldn't bear the thought of him going hungry, but at 8 months I'm afraid I kept on trying until he did take it. I didn't want to leave him hungry but I also knew that the minute I gave in on the bottle and latched him on, next time would be even worse. So each time was a struggle until he took it.

BUT, I did speak to the breast-feeding specialist from my antenatal classes and she said that if he absolutely refused to take it at any point, not to worry as he would make up for it during subsequent feeds. I'm just glad that it never came to that.

emmagee Sun 02-Jun-02 14:23:37

Well, I have given up all breast feeds except the early morning, he's not having any milk at bed time, as I'm not giving him the breast and he's 'declining' the bottle! He has been quite upset and clingy but nothing like as bad as I am feeling! I feel like I am in emotional freefall, really cross, prickly etc with husband and daughter, feel REALLY teary and nauseaous (spelling!!) in that way you feel when you've had a shock or split up with someone. I wondered if anyone knew what happened to your hormomes when you stop? I haven't started my periods again since his birth and wondered if they may be about to recommence now the breastfeeding is so diminished and if so, is this PMT big style?

mears Mon 03-Jun-02 00:17:54

Emmagee - are you really ready to stop these feeds. It sounds very traumatic for you both. I would up them again. Remember breastfeeding releases calming hormones from the brain - sounds as thougfh you are in need of them

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