Moving on from breastfeeding

how I ended up a co sleeping mum

I’m a firm believer that how your choose to feed your baby is an entirely personal thing, I’m an avid breastfeeding supporter but would never push my choices on any one, preferring instead to offer advice I gained professionally and personally, when asked for it. Yet even with all my knowledge and experience I still struggled to feed Baby R in the early days.

You’d be forgiven for thinking that third time round I should know what I’m doing but still those first few weeks were a mixture of pain,despair and frustration, it was only my determination to succeed and stubbornness that I should know what I’m doing wrong, that spurned me on. I knew the science behind breast milk, the bonding opportunities that I was creating and the long term benefits to both Baby R and I, so it was going to take a bit more than blood, sweat and tears for me to succumb to a bottle.

It took two long weeks for my corner to reveal its self, in hindsight that doesn’t seem much but while you’re living it day and night, two weeks seems an eternity. So when I did turn that corner and my body healed from the trauma, my enthusiasm returned and  felt I’d cracked it, I didn’t want to be thinking of the time when I would stop. But that time is fast approaching and I’ve got to face the grim reality that very soon my breastfeeding journey will be over for good.

And that makes me sad.

Sad that my body will no longer provide life to another being.

Sad that I’ll no longer feel the closeness of Baby R snuggling in for a sleepy feed.

Sad that I’ll almost certainly shrink to a bra size small enough for a pre teeen.

Sad that I’ll no longer be able to eat cake at 10am / 2pm / 8pm without feeling guilty.

Sad that I’ll never breastfeed ever again.

Maybe the sadness’ due to the fact that my decision to stop isn’t my own.  As maternity leave draws to an end and my (brief ) return back to the work place draws closer, I’m feeling a little forced into giving up something I enjoy so much and nobody enjoys being told what to do.

Maybe it’s the hormones and once they’ve exited my baby-baring-body and shut the door for good, I’ll embrace the joys of wired, (padded!) bras, a wardrobe without easy access and being able to drink a Pimms or 2. Who knows?

So as I whittle down the day time feeds in a carefully executed plan, while my husband and older children stand eagerly in the wings with the bottles, please excuse the tinge of self pity I’m trying so desperately to hide.

I’m a breastfeeding Mumma but my time is up….

…..and that makes me sad.

 

baby and mum holding hands

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65 Comments

  1. 16th March 2015 / 7:31 am

    I can relate to this Ali, different circumstances but I stopped earlier than I’d wanted to and was devastated, especially now that I know it wasn’t necessary. Big hugs, you’ll still get sleepy snuggles and you’ll develop a new normal xx

    • 16th March 2015 / 7:42 am

      Thanks Hannah, I like that line about it being a new normal. That’s a really good thought to hold onto as it’s essentially about creating that and I’m rubbish at change but knowing it’ll feel normal not to breastfeed will be something I need to remember.

  2. 16th March 2015 / 9:35 am

    Oh hon this is such a beautiful yet heartbreaking post, and I can really relate to it. My breastfeeding journey is coming to an end too, and being my third baby he’ll definitely be my last. So bittersweet isn’t it. Hugs xxx

  3. 16th March 2015 / 9:36 am

    Oh hon this is such a beautiful yet heartbreaking post, and I can really relate to it. My breastfeeding journey is coming to an end too, and being my third baby he’ll definitely be my last. So bittersweet isn’t it. Hugs xx

  4. 16th March 2015 / 9:36 am

    Oh hon this is such a beautiful yet heartbreaking post, and I can really relate to it. My breastfeeding journey is coming to an end too, and being my third baby he’ll definitely be my last. So bittersweet isn’t it 🙁 Hugs xxx

    • 16th March 2015 / 11:08 am

      it is bitter sweet, thats the perfect word! I guess I wasn’t always sure there’d be a number 3 so it’s so much more special and I’m trying to enjoy every moment because I know its my last.

  5. 16th March 2015 / 10:30 am

    Oh no, you must indulge in some self sympathy. I miss the cake the most 😉

    • 16th March 2015 / 11:00 am

      It’s definitely the cake thing that’s going to be difficult!

  6. 16th March 2015 / 10:55 am

    Really lovely honest post. I had to stop breastfeeding really early which I was gutted about. Think it is great you have managed to breastfeed for so long. Hope you adapt well 🙂

    • 16th March 2015 / 11:00 am

      Thanks Rachel, I am really lucky to have managed this long, I thinks it hard as I know it’ll be my last time and I’m a very sentimental person.

  7. 16th March 2015 / 11:02 am

    Yes I do, I’m tryng to remind myself that just being able to have a glass of wine now and then will be good as I’ve been teetotal for nearly 2 years and I really miss Pimms and Baileys!

  8. Rachel
    16th March 2015 / 7:35 pm

    Oh you sound so sad 🙁 I only bottle fed so I cannot relate to your feelings but you can look back and be proud that you have given your children the next possible start in life. Now you can enjoy yourself a bit more and indulge in a drink or 2!

  9. Urban Mumble
    16th March 2015 / 10:21 pm

    I used to be a lot more judgemental about women deciding not to breastfeed…and then I had my first one and GOSH was it hard and painful at first. I persisted and eventually it all turned for the best but I become a lot more open minded. I never thought it could be so hard.

    The second time it was easier for me, but I’ve heard so many experienced mums say it’s not always the case, just like in your case. I guess the little ones have varying techniques too. Some of them are just naturally better at getting their latch correct from the start.

    Enjoy the lovely summer and spring dresses you’ll be able to wear now 🙂

    • 17th March 2015 / 5:46 am

      Thank you I will, although I think it’s going to take a lot longer than anticipated. He’s a lot more into the comfort of it than my older children

  10. 17th March 2015 / 9:43 am

    I can understand your sadness at coming to the end of your breastfeeding journey especially when your hand has been forced a little. Those last times are very bittersweet aren’t they? You’ll still get those sleepy snuggles though and am sure it will be nice to enjoy Pimms occasionally and not have to worry about easy access with clothing – I love breastfeeding but definitely have days of looking at my wardrobe and wishing my decision about what to wear wasn’t always based around what I could easily feed in!

    • 17th March 2015 / 5:51 pm

      I do have a whole wardrobe of clothes waiting to be worn! Might buy a bottle of Pimms to treat / congratulate myself on feeding for a year!

  11. 17th March 2015 / 1:00 pm

    Ahh that made me emotional to read that! Some friends were very happy to give up their breastfeeding journey, but I felt very sad- such an end of an era isn’t it? #thetruthabout

    • 17th March 2015 / 5:48 pm

      It is, it’s like I’m coming to terms with my body doing its intended purpose.

  12. 17th March 2015 / 5:58 pm

    I only managed to breastfeed EJ for five days so my ‘new normal’ started a long time ago. To be honest I still eat cake and I don’t feel guilty about it because it makes me happy! Also, even without any formal exercise, all the running around after the kids makes it difficult to put on too much weight! 🙂 Good luck with your transition Ali, and thanks for linking up to #thetruthabout Xx

  13. 17th March 2015 / 6:48 pm

    I can relate. Baby #5 and I never got off to a very good start. Supply problems and not to mention that he was fed through a tube for the first few weeks of his life. I’ve always really enjoyed nursing, especially while they’re so tiny. It was hard when that kind of had a premature death and I wasn’t ready for it yet.

    #thetruthabout

    • 17th March 2015 / 8:26 pm

      I think when you’ve had a rough start it makes you more determined to keep going as long as you can, I imagine it was really tough after tube feeding.

  14. 18th March 2015 / 10:09 am

    I can relate to this, I went though these feelings when I returned to work as I was convinced that it would mean the end of mine and Boo’s breastfeeding journey but we lasted through my return to work and then I gave up work 3 months later and we are still breastfeeding. I am sorry that you feel sad about the end, it is sad but it’s also an amazing thing you have achieved. I wrote a list about the positives which helped me feel better… the caffeine and the underwired bras being big positives!!

    • 18th March 2015 / 2:47 pm

      Yes, I’ve got a few more positives to add once I really think about it. I’m not even sure how we’ll stop the night feeds though.

  15. 18th March 2015 / 10:13 am

    I have never breastfeed so have no idea what this is like. But I know how sad it is to think I will never be pregnant again as we have decided three children are enough xx

    • 18th March 2015 / 2:45 pm

      I think that’s partly why I’m sad it’s the real end of an era, Grandchildren next!

  16. 18th March 2015 / 10:38 am

    Aww I was sad when I gave up too. I tried so hard to carry on but at five months he was feeding so much I just couldn’t handle it! Literally every 2 hours all day and all night. I was literally a walking zombie. So I slowly weaned him onto the bottle and he became this happy, fuller baby! It made me happy that I’d made him happy, but sad that that closeness had finished. #sharewithme

    • 18th March 2015 / 12:46 pm

      It sounds like you made the right decision, sometimes you just don’t have the supply to keep they level of feeding up, it’s what makes you both happy that counts.

  17. EmmaH
    18th March 2015 / 10:51 am

    I recently stopped breastfeeding too, at 8 months. I went away for a week and got rejected on my return. I’m sad I don’t get to feed her any more. I’m more sad about the fact I’ve got to pay for milk now. But I’m glad to get my body back and wear a nice dress!

    • 18th March 2015 / 12:47 pm

      I was shocked how expensive formula is, at least he’ll be on a more solid diet do won’t need as much at 12 months.

  18. 18th March 2015 / 11:23 am

    Oh hon, I truly feel your pain. Knowing that this is the last child you’ll breastfeed, and that time is rapidly ending, is one of the saddest things. Yes, you’ll be able to drink Pimms and wear underwires again, and actually these things do become real positives in time. But that closeness you have with your baby cannot be replaced.

    It has been a year, almost to the day, since I stopped breastfeeding Fraser. He is our second and final child and he decided that he no longer wanted to breastfeed (a long story, and I won’t bore you with it).

    And that was that. I’m still sad about it now. As I’ve said on another blog, he now thinks my boobs are willies! Anyhoo, much love and support to you.

    #TheTruthAbout xx

    • 18th March 2015 / 2:43 pm

      Oh, no that must be much harder when it wasn’t even your decision. That comment at the end did make me chuckle,did you write a blog post about it or was it just a comment? I’d love to read it!

  19. Jenny
    18th March 2015 / 8:41 pm

    I can relate and I felt so many emotions when I stopped breastfeeding and it was mixed emotions but once I got my body back to being mine. It felt good. Thanks for linking up to Share With Me. #sharewithme

    • 18th March 2015 / 9:34 pm

      There are good points and I think a year is plenty enough, it’s just the end of an era I guess.

  20. 19th March 2015 / 9:42 am

    I am surprised to say I actually am enjoying breastfeeding my baby. Its our little bonding time. Before I had her, I never thought I’d enjoy breastfeeding but knew I should be breastfeeding if I can. Now I know I’ll be sad when I finish. But its got to end for every mum sometimes, doesnt it…

    • 19th March 2015 / 1:45 pm

      Yes, it’s one of those things that as natural as it is, it does have to end although I’m sure there’ll be some people out there who disagree!

  21. 19th March 2015 / 10:49 am

    I was happy with when I chose to stop but I still missed it and the ease of it all! And the boob thing….well its taken another pregnancy to get them back to normal!

  22. Mumma McD
    19th March 2015 / 10:55 am

    Oh I feel this too! I’m still breastfeeding my 19 month old – he’s my last baby and neither of us are ready to give up… I’m pretty sure he’ll be ready before I am!

    #brilliantblogposts

    • 19th March 2015 / 1:29 pm

      I wonder if it’s easier when they make the decision rather than we do, at least there’s no guilt involved!

  23. Mim
    19th March 2015 / 2:07 pm

    Oh what a beautifully written post – I relate to this so much, although more prematurely as I’m yet to have my last baby next month but I will feel the same. You’ve accomplished so much and you have so many wonderful memories that you will keep forever. More than anything though, I hope you get to retain the size 🙂 🙂 Mim @ mamamim.com #maternitymonday

    • 19th March 2015 / 2:43 pm

      Thank you so much, what a lovely comment. I hope to retain my size too! (no hope) best of luck with your soon to be new baby

  24. 23rd March 2015 / 1:14 pm

    Aww I understand, I had to stop bfeeding LM early as she had a temporary lactose intolerance and reflux among other things that improved on a lactose free formula. Formula was the right decision and improved our life so much but I do feel sad I wasn’t able to breastfeed for longer. SOunds like you should be proud youg ot through the difficult early days and carried on for as long as you did – but that doesn’t mean you shouldn;t allow yourself time to get over it 🙂 Thanks for linking with #MaternityMondays

    • 23rd March 2015 / 9:09 pm

      Thanks Caroline, I would never preach to anyone to breastfeed as it’s such a personal decision and no matter how long you breastfeed for, it’s always hard to make that decision to stop.

  25. 24th March 2015 / 7:32 am

    Thank you, just not the done thing to hoik your dress up to your waist in public!

  26. 25th March 2015 / 9:01 am

    This post is so lovely to read. It isn’t how I felt at all but I can see how heartbreaking it is for you. I echo the comments above and maybe get excited about a little bit more you time and a summer of pimms. #sundaystars

    • 25th March 2015 / 12:10 pm

      Thanks for your understanding comment, I think feeding your baby is so personal that each story is different. I’m already dreaming about the wine & Pimms I can enjoy this year!

  27. 7th August 2015 / 7:59 am

    What a lovely post, straight from the heart. It’s always emotional stopping breastfeeding and it doesn’t help that there are so many hormones flying about. I understand your sadness totally. I notice this is from March. I’d love to know how you feel about it a few months down the line. Well done on your breastfeeding journey. I hope you’re enjoying the Pimms! 🙂

    • 7th August 2015 / 11:25 am

      Do you know what, I carried on! Albeit a little less but neither of us wanted to stop, he’s 14 months now and I’m just winding down very slowly.

  28. gemma clark
    7th August 2015 / 11:27 am

    Unfortunately I only managed 2 weeks with my first and I still regret it 10 years later! Number 2 is due in 10 weeks and am determined to make it work this time x

    • 7th August 2015 / 11:35 am

      2 days or 2 weeks that’s still going to make a huge difference to your baby x best of luck with number 2. Much better support around these days x

  29. 7th August 2015 / 12:10 pm

    I fed twins so very sad as I managed only 5 months, I did always long for the chance to feed one baby again, but IVF and twins meant it was not to be. I feel for you, make sure you treat yourself . I did a lot of really cuddly feeds to help for the first few days.

    • 7th August 2015 / 8:07 pm

      5 months is fab, I never thought I’d get the chance again so I’m cherishing every moment this time

  30. 7th August 2015 / 9:48 pm

    Reading this again (I first read it in March) and it’s still made me emotional! I am so glad to read in the comments that you got to carry on =)
    We are still feeding but down to only two feeds a day and I feel like we too are winding down, my only hope for the end of my breastfeeding journey is that it is Boo’s decision

    • 7th August 2015 / 9:53 pm

      That’s pretty much where we are, maybe upping the feeds when he’s poorly but today he’s been so busy, he’s only feb once for a few minutes but it’s his decision so I’m just going with him and what he wants for now.

  31. Adventures of a Novice Mum
    8th August 2015 / 10:51 am

    Crumbs; I lost my comment!

    Awwwww … really sad. I’m not there yet but the thought of it makes me feel, ‘i’m not even sure how to describe it’. Shame some mums have to stop breastfeeding on return to work after maternity leave. I suppose it all makes every feed even more special. And when the last one comes, you’ll find new ways of being close 🙂 #PositiveAboutBF

    • 9th August 2015 / 9:49 pm

      It’s just that end of an era thing, isn’t it. All good things come to an end I guess.

  32. Rosie
    8th August 2015 / 11:33 am

    It hasn’t ended yet.

  33. Lizzy Cooper
    8th August 2015 / 9:59 pm

    Mine hasn’t ended yet but I dont want it too!

    • 8th August 2015 / 10:39 pm

      It’s a real end of an era, hanging up your nursing bra for good just feels so final.

  34. Maria Hackett
    8th August 2015 / 11:55 pm

    wow! emotional article,!
    im 20 weeks pregnant with twin and cant wait to meet my babies, hold them and breastfeed them. so exciting xx

    • 9th August 2015 / 8:47 am

      That is so exciting, and fantastic that you’re planning on feeding twins

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