Posted by Monday, 2 October 2017

14 MONTHS OF BREASTFEEDING - IS IT TIME TO STOP?


From the moment I found out I was pregnant with Freddie, I knew I wanted to breastfeed (if I could, of course) him. He was my last baby, and it just felt right that I should try it. I didn't want to breastfeed the girls when I was pregnant with them, and I don't feel guilty about breastfeeding one and not the other two. Mainly because they are both healthy and happy. These 14 months haven't been plain sailing, in fact, it's been much harder emotionally and physically than when I formula fed my girls. It's been exhausting, changed my appearance, changed my feelings and just draining more than anything. I've had mixed emotions about breastfeeding throughout the 14 months, but one thing I am glad and proud of is, I kept going.

I always said from the beginning that I would like to stop around the time Freddie is 18 months old; unless he weans himself off. He doesn't feed hardly as much as he used to and you'd never think that he was so attached to me constantly feeding for a few good few months at one point. The first few months I just instantly fell in love with breastfeeding. I loved every single minute of it, even though he never had longer than 2 hours in between feeds. Most of the time he would feed for around half an hour to an hour, to only have a half an hour break until his next feed. It did become draining, mainly because I still had both girls to look after, as well as the housework. But one thing I did differently, was taking the cuddles in. I fell behind with housework A LOT, and I don't regret it either. I have no regrets of the early months as I'm sure we cuddled for hours on end during the day and mostly during the night too. Housework can wait, but babies grow - too quickly. 


It did get a bit too much as he came towards 7 months or so. My partner and I went through a very rough patch, we weren't communicating well, and we spent no time together - just him and me. It was hard. I started to dislike breastfeeding - a lot. It was a point I didn't want to reach, but you can't switch feelings off. I used to cry at every feed before putting him to bed because I knew he would just wake up within an hour or less. He was an awful sleeper and being sleep deprived Mum of three, isn't good. It was me who had to get up to him and feed him during the night when he woke up every hour or two hours, every single night. Some nights were worse but thankfully the night times have improved - a lot. At the time I hated bedtime, I dreaded it. 

My partner asked me if it was time to stop breastfeeding and maybe put him on formula. I wasn't ready to stop completely, but after about two months, I decided to start him on formula just in the evenings. It helped me a lot in so many ways. I had time to do my work in the evening, I had time to go to the shower, I had 'me time' while my partner settled him in the evening and it has made things a lot easier. I personally don't think it was the formula that helped his sleep improve, I believe that just came in time. 


For a few months now he has cut down on feeding. He now only feeds once or twice a day. He will have a feed the minute he wakes up in the morning at around 6-7am, but that only lasts for around 5-10 minutes, sometimes more if he is still tired. His next feed will be before his morning nap around 10-11am but that is a very short one, and he can do without that feed. On the 30th of September, he completely refused the boob and went to sleep with his dummy instead. I still don't know how I feel about that - mixed emotions again. Somehow it made me think that my baby boy is growing up. It made me so sad. I just hope it's not the last feed entirely as I don't feel so ready for that, just yet. 

In the evenings he will still have his formula, I've not tried cows milk yet as his sleep has improved and I'm not entirely sure I want to risk giving him another milk, again and then to disturb his routine of improved sleep - we will see. So, at 14 months, I'm not sure I am ready to completely stop breastfeeding, not yet. I do think that he will be weaning himself off before he is 18 months. It feels weird to think that one day he will stop breastfeeding all together and it will just be a memory. But something I will treasure forever and something I will be proud of. Fourteen months of a rollercoaster ride, but an amazing one at the same time. 



When did you stop breastfeeding your little one?

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