“Our relationship changed within 4 days of stopping breastfeeding at 20 months old”
I still can’t believe this time last week i was still breastfeeding Ava, two feeds per day, one feed when she woke up and second feed after child care around 5pm. I treasured every moment with her, however i was ready to stop…
How I knew it was time to stop?
I was done. I was becoming over it and resenting breastfeeding. I couldn’t just hold Ava and kiss her and cuddle her without her sniffing out my milk, wanting a feed and kicking up a fuss or tantrum… I felt it was beginning to effect our Mum/Daughter relationship… I just knew it was time to give up and Ava was getting plenty of nutrition from food sources and I felt it was only for comfort as she would only be on there for 5 minutes or so…
Did I have a breastfeeding goal?
I never really had a breast feeding goal, I knew it was fantastic for Ava but i wanted to see how I went. As time went on… 1 months… 2 months…. 3 months… 6 months… then after 6 months I thought I would love to make 12 months to give Ava optimum nutrition in the first year of her life! So i did… then we hit a bit of a fussy phase at 14 months after a trip to the UK and we got into habits such as feeding to sleep after jet lag and sickness… I was SO close to giving up at this point… I was exhausted and started to become angry and frustrated. Ava was becoming irritable around me… I felt I couldn’t be around her all the time… it was sad…
“I started to become frustrated and angry that i was feeling this way about breastfeeding”
I then tried 2 days without milk, I avoided putting her to bed, my husband would and she was fine, she didn’t seem to ask for milk when I wasn’t around. However, after a couple of days giving up, i went back to breastfeeding as Ava was sick with a cold, i thought the magic of boob milk would help her overcome the sickness. So at 15 months (hey, i lasted 2 days…!!) the breastfeeding journey continued again and we went back to feeding seperately to sleep and back she went to her normal sleeping routine! Wahoo passed that fussy phase… I was feeling more positive about our breastfeeding journey! So I kept going…17 months… then 20 months came and I knew this was it… it is time to give up breastfeeding finally… this was my decision…
“I just wanted to hug Ava and cuddle her and play with her without her kicking up a tantrum and wanting a breastfeed”
I decided it was time to stop… So I stopped…
I ended up exclusively breastfeeding Ava until she was 20.5 months old. We never introduced bottles, dummies and I never really expressed only if i needed, due to comfort. Ava never took to a bottle, she loved and wanted the boob!
What was it that helped me give up breastfeeding?
One word – DISTRACTION.
Ava would wake up in the morning and all I could hear from her room was ‘MIIIIILLLLK’ ‘MIIIIIILLLLK’ It was the cutest thing ever to hear… Ava and her little voice… wanting milk and comfort cuddles… however I wasn’t enjoying it anymore…I wanted my body back and I wanted my little non-fussy girl around me back…
Here is what we did on Day 1 of stopping breastfeeding to Day 6:
My husband and I distracted Ava in the morning and when she came home from child care (the usual times of her feeds), Ava did not seem bothered to miss both feeds today.
AM: Ava wanted milk in the morning, hubby wasnt home so i needed to think ahead and plan what to do when she woke up… I got some breakfast ready for her (toast and peanut butter) as soon as she woke up. She said ‘MIIIILLLLKK’ MIIILLLKKK’ in her cute little voice, but i pick her up out of her cot at 7am and instead of going to our bedroom to give her her normal feed, I took her straight to the kitchen and said ‘Ava, yummy toast for you’… she took the toast and sat outside with me and ate her toast, then went off to child care for the day. PM: i picked her up from child care at 430pm and instead of going straight home for a breastfeed, we went to the park and played with her friends… I brought along an afternoon snack (Ava’s breakfast loaf) and her water as i knew she would be hungry. We got home afterwards and I had dinner ready for her, she ate her dinner straight away, no time for milk. I then got my husband to put Ava to bed that night. She did wake up a couple of times during the night saying ‘milkkk millkk’ but hubby went in and put her back to sleep and she went back to sleep…
Same routine, Ava wakes up wanting milk, i had to get as hubby went to work early… Ava really wanted milk… so I sat her down on the kitchen chair and cuddled her and I said to her… “Ava, Mummy’s milk has gone, the milk has walked out the door and we say bye bye to it” Ava then cried… i felt terrible – but I had to be consistent and be strong. I pointed to the door and said it again “bubby, the milk has gone, let’s say good-bye to the milk…” Ava then waved to the door and blew kisses…. (my heart sank, it was so beautiful), she gave me the biggest cuddle it was so beautful and stopped crying, it was like she was saying to me ‘thank you so much mummy for all the milk and the moments we have shared together’… we then both got up and walked over to the door and opened the door and Ava said ‘BYE BYE…. BYE BYE… and she then continued to blow kisses”…. this moment was so beautiful… After child care that day, she mentioned the word milk with the biggest cheakest grin on her face 🙂 I said ‘Ava where did the milk go??’ she pointed to the door and said bye bye… i said ‘good girl’ come over here and give me a hug… and she did with lots of kisses. I am feeling a little emotional today, reflecting on all the closeness of breastfeeding and the fact Ava is growing up so quickly…
No mention of the milk today. I am ensuring Ava is getting enough calcium in her diet… full fat greek yogurt, full fat milk in cereal etc… Ava has never really wanted cows milk out of a cup.. so I opt to put it in her foods.
Not sure if Ava is missing breastfeeding but she was up and down like a yo-yo last night in bed… but she never really mentioned the word miilllllkkk…. she just kept calling out for mummy and daddy….? My boobs are really sore today, they have gone hard, but I have just been having warm showers and massaging them. Its strange as the past 4 days they have not hurt. AM: Ava asked for milk, I gave her a bowl of cereal with cows milk instead and she loved it became distracted and that was the last i heard about milk today.
Ava slept great last night no crying no asking for milk. She has not asked for milk at all today. I am cuddling her and kissing her all the time and she is doing the same. When she does and if she does mention ‘milk’, she now jokes and giggles and waves at the door and isn’t sensitive about it.
How I feel now and do I regret giving up breastfeeding?
I feel like a PROUD MUMMA! I gave Ava a great start in life. I feel very grateful that I was able to breastfeed Ava. I was grateful we could continue our breastfeeding journey for this long. I have loved every moment of breastfeeding (except during the fussy phases) and bonding with my daughter… something so special that I will treasure forever…
How has Ava been since giving up breastfeeding?
Well, am on day 6 now of giving up breastfeeding… and it is fare enough to say that this was the right decision. Ava is so much more affectionate with me, we can play together without her asking for milk and pulling my top down, be close with her, without her asking or fussying and wanting to be breastfed. Our relationship has changed all within 4 days. A little bit of me says, why didn’t you just keep pushing and making it to 2 years… But I have to keep reminding myself why I stopped… and our little girl is stronger and I have done really well in sticking it out this long. I dont regret this decision to stop breastfeeding.
My tips on stopping breastfeeding for those mummies who can relate to my story and are seriously contemplating stopping?
- Get your partner/husband/grandma/friend to get bub up in the morning! Break all habits relating to breastfeeding… i.e. I did’t bring Ava to my bed in the morning.
- DISTRACT – DISTRACT – DISTRACT: change the routine, distract your baby do what you can… we would offer toast, Cereal or take her outside in the morning.
- I wouldn’t tease Ava by showing her my boobs at all in the first week, cover up the milk machines!
- Mummies – exercise exercise and exercise, keep those hormones in check by getting out there and doing some exercise and realeasing your feel-good endorphins. Go for a walk, run, swim, yoga, do some weights or hit the gym! You will feel much better for it.
All the best mummies… thank you for reading my breastfeeding journey and thank you to all my followers who have supported me through this incredible journey.
To my husband, thank you for supporting me. You have been there the whole way encouraging me to keep going when times got tough but also appreciated and supported me when it was time to stop breastfeeding
Thank you also to my Mum for supporting and encouraging me all the way to the very end.
Thank you also to the Australian Breastfeeding Hotline (Free call in Australia ph: 1800Mum2Mum). You ladies are wonderful and provide such a supportive service which I used on many occasion in times of stress, confusion, support and any questions relating to breastfeeding.
To my baby girl Ava… ‘you mean the world to me’ and i hope i have given you a great kickstart in life.
If you would like to read more about breastfeeding please read here:
Human milk provides virtually all the protein, sugar, and fat your baby needs to be healthy, and it also contains many substances that benefit your baby’s immune system, including antibodies, immune factors, enzymes, and white blood cells. These substances protect your baby against a wide variety of diseases and infections not only while he is breastfeeding but in some cases long after he has weaned. Please read more here