Giving up breastfeeding…

So after 7 months of breastfeeding, I decided to stop. This wasn’t something I found difficult as it was more of a gradual thing than giving up suddenly and having pain and leaking milk troubles. I didn’t realise when I started breastfeeding how important a baby’s suck is for the whole supply and demand thing. I already had one boob that barely produced any milk because I didn’t feed from it enough. I much preferred feeding on my left side because it was easier supporting her head with my right hand (me being right handed) I don’t know if anyone else found this? It did really look like a boob job gone wrong as one was massive (producing all the milk she needed) and the other gone back to its former size (slightly saggier). I tried to pump a lot with an electric pump but I found it’s nowhere near as effective as a baby’s suck and she wasn’t interested in it because she wasn’t getting anything.

Around 6 months, I introduced two bottles a day instead of one; one for out and about, and the other to incorporate as part of her nighttime routine. I tried to pump through the missed feeds but I couldn’t always find the time and it didn’t seem to do much good anyway. I eventually was barely producing any milk so I knew the time had come to give up. There has been definite pros and cons to not breastfeeding anymore. Firstly, she doesn’t get a dodgy tummy anymore from the amount of spicy food and garlic I eat, she’s much more content and it’s allowed us to get into a routine. She’s always loved her bottles so I haven’t felt guilty in that sense and no longer feeding for comfort has done us both a world of good. She will actually self settle now and get herself to sleep with her dummy. It’s been a lot better for me as well because I’m nowhere near as hungry and actually able to start shifting my baby weight. My tits are the same size again (phew!) and I can have a few drinks without having to worry. I’ve also been able to start taking my pill again and my hormones have settled down which has made me feel much more myself.

On the other hand, since stopping breastfeeding, she has been poorly CONSTANTLY. She never really got ill before and if she did, she’d get over it after a day or two. I don’t think it’s helped with it being winter and there being so much going around with the Australian flu but she’s been ill non-stop for the past month and lost so much weight from not eating any solids/having sickness and diarrhoea. She’ll just get over one thing then she’ll pick up another. It seems once their immune systems are low, it’s like dominos with picking something else up and it’s hard to get their strength back. This makes me feel really guilty like I should never have stopped but I know you can’t think like that.

For anyone thinking of stopping breastfeeding, the best advice I can give is to concentrate on the increase in formula instead of the decrease in breast milk. I think if it’s a gradual thing it’s so much easier than going cold turkey but obviously it takes longer and sometimes people need to stop straight away because of things like lactose intolerance. I definitely think breast is best and I’m thrilled that I was able to give Isabella the best possible start in life but on the whole I think we’re both happier now. Comfort feeding is so hard to break away from and any longer without evenings I think I would’ve had a meltdown. Do whatever works best for you and your baby and ignore everyone else!

Olivia xx

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