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How do I wind down our feeding and how do I get over feeling sad about it?

(10 Posts)
arabella2 Mon 30-Jun-03 18:19:37

My ds is 19 months old and I am still breastfeeding him. He has 2 feeds during the day if he has 2 naps, otherwise 1. He has a feed before going to sleep at night and 1 in the morning. Then he also has feeds in the night when he wakes up (I know this sounds bad!).
I really love feeding him though I have worried about him only being able to sleep drinking milk (which is the case unless he is in the buggy or the car where he will also go to sleep) and how I am in a sense "interfering" in his night sleeping. Then over the past couple of months I have just decided not to worry about it and to enjoy it because it is a lovely close feeling to have.
Now however he is getting quite big and I think I would like to wind down to stopping completely sometime over the next 3 or 4 months. I know this will be sad but I guess we will get over it. I would like to start by dropping the middle of the night feeds but keeping the night and morning one and I would also like to get rid of the association between sleep and milk for his morning nap but possibly keep that feed. Then later I could work on dropping the 2 feeds before he sleeps (nap and nighttime) and lastly the first thing in the morning feed.
Does anyone have any advice on how to do this? I would replace the breastmilk with rice milk as we do not want him to drink cow milk (though he does have cheese and yoghurt).
Also, does anyone have any words of advice on getting over the sadness which I know will be there?
I was sad for a couple of days when he stopped saying "mama" and changed it to "mummy", so maybe it will be the same thing - you move on and begin to enjoy new things? I just don't know how we will be able to enjoy the same closeness because feeding him is like a prolonged cuddle really.
Any advice appreciated.

codswallop Mon 30-Jun-03 18:45:45

Do you want to stop?If not then dont! However I would try and avoid feeding him anything in the night or you will find you can never get a nights sleep and will have to resort to controlled crying. Does he have a cup?

Any reason for the rice milk btw?

tomps Mon 30-Jun-03 19:11:46

Arabella, am still feeding dd of 20 months to sleep and therefore can't write lonbger message just now ! But will do later - I am or have experienced much of what you describe, so we can copare notes. best wishes

aloha Mon 30-Jun-03 19:47:20

I think it is a good idea to get rid of the middle of the night feed as this will mean he will sleep through and you will get more rest. I wouldn't worry about the sleep associations as it doesn't seem to present practical problems for you. I would recommend cows milk over rice milk though as it is more nutritious and a good source of calcium. What do you give him to drink at the moment apart from breast milk? Does he have water or juice in a cup? I personally wouldn't introduce bottles at this stage. You could go straight onto cups with cows milk. Your ds might mind less than you think. I cut down until I only fed morning and night, then replaced the night one with a cup of milk (he went off his night feed himself, actually, which made this easy) then instead of sitting in bed feeding in the morning, I went straight downstairs and gave him his breakfast, which distracted him. It really wasn't painful for us, though I know some people find it harder. But I also echo those who say, if you don't want to stop don't. I stopped feeding partly because I wanted to wear a dress again (!) Selfish, I know. I certainly don't feel less close. In fact, 'Cuddle' or rather 'Duddle!" is my ds's favourite word.

tomps Mon 30-Jun-03 21:46:24

Duddle is a favourite with dd too, but usually means 'pick me up so I can see better what's going on above me / over there' rather than 'let me get closer to you I love you so much !' Arabella as I said, dd still breastfed to sleep and until about 6 weeks ago I was also feeding her once / twice (or more if ill / teething) in the night when she woke up. She's stopped doing this now of her own accord which is great and sleeps all night long with no effort from me - hurrah ! Like you, unless she's in the car or buggy she also needs feeding for her nap. Except at nursery ! Which proves to me that she doesn't actually need it so when we eventually stop breastfeeding I'm sure she'll be able to get herself to sleep. In fact she can do at night with daddy or granny lying next to her or even me if she's fed but not fallen asleep at the breast. So don't worry too much about the sleep association thing - I did, but so far dd has proved me wrong and I think I'll just let her quit feeding to sleep by herself ... Practical stuff - I found stopping morning feeds easiest - I make sure I'm covered up when I go into her room first thing, then get her down to breakfast ASAP. Re cows milk, as Aloha says I think it does contain a lot of good stuff that you don't get in rice or soya milk (and doesn't have all the added extras necessary to make it palatable). Dd drinks goats milk though as it has smaller molecules than cow's and is therefore easier to digest and also less mucus-producing. Or so I've been told, and dd likes it just fine. Hope that helps. I know what you mean about the sadness of giving up breastfeeding - I'm not even planning to stop just yet as it's not a problem and we both like it. I think I'd feel sadder if I make the decision to stop and dd would really like to continue, but hopefully it won't come to that. However, I think there are so many pleasures with each new stage of development that breastfeeding will be quickly forgotten as we move onto the next big thing. Good luck with however you tackle this.

VFeist Tue 01-Jul-03 19:05:46

I didn't stop breastfeeding my little boy until he was over 2 and when we eventually stopped it was relatively easy - I think because we were both ready.
I stopped the day feeds first by never offering milk in the day at all ever, just juice and water. Then I aimed to turn the night feeds very gradually into cuddles. There were some painful sessions at night when he yelled for milk but I was strict for a few nights and then he gave up. Sometimes he looks up at me and smiles and says his code word for milk and we both laugh together. Those few nights were hard though, and I gave up many times when I just wanted to get some sleep!
My advice would be to wait until you're ready and then be really firm. I read in a Laleche book that women who are not determined to give up find it almost impossible to do so! I would definitely agree with that - so maybe that's the key - to work out how much you really want to stop. I have to say I wasn't at all sad when I did because I was so very ready. I'm now sometimes nostaligic, but not sad.
All the best to you.

oscarsmum Tue 01-Jul-03 19:52:57

I breastfed ds last thing at night until he was 18 months old. When I decided to stop, after a supportive weekend with my girlfriends and their children, I replaced the feed with a cup of milk, a book/s and a magic lantern light so we could sit quietly together and cuddle watching it go round. Gradually I started introducing the milk when we were downstairs and now we just have the books and the lantern light and a big tuddle. Ds is 2.

KMS Wed 02-Jul-03 00:19:38

i cut out feeds during the night first by DH offering cup of water. DS soon stopped waking and slept through! I then tackled daytime "feed to sleep" and put him to bed tired but awake after cup of EBM or cows milk and a cuddle on chair by cot where we would have had feed. Gave up night feed to go out one evening and lots of "don't you think it's time you gave up" from M-in-law. regretted it and missed feeding. so dont rush it if you are not ready!

susanmt Wed 02-Jul-03 20:15:57

I tackled daytime feeds by offering a cup of cows milk and a snack (fruit or cracker - ds loves cream crackers!) about half an hour before it was his normal time for a feed. Got the advice from mumsnet!
The morning was the last one we gave up too, and in the end it was easy as my milk just dried up (found out a couple of weeks later I was pg!) and so he stopped looking for it. He was 14 months. I did feel sad about it as I wasn't planning to give up so early but my body had other ideas.
I think the sadness is easier to get over if you know you are going to be doing it again - that is what helped me both times (gave up with dd when she was 13 months - I was pregnant that time too!!!).

arabella2 Thu 03-Jul-03 21:15:15

Thanks for all your messages. Tomps, I'm really glad your daughter stopped drinking at night of her own accord, that must have been amazing.
The reason for the rice milk is that both dh and I do not believe in too much cow's milk - though ds does have cheese and yoghurt. There are other ways of getting the right amount of calcium - almonds being one of them.
I think I'm going to have to try to get rid of the night feeds and day snacking for now and just keep the night and morning feed until we are both ready to stop because I don't think we are! Whether it's possible to stop the night feeding without stopping completely at this late stage, I don't know!

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