Before Amelia was born I had no idea whether or not we were going to breastfeed. I hadn't done any research into it and was pretty clueless and naive. Once she was born it felt like the most natural thing in the world and we went with that. I felt determined to breastfeed her for as long as possible and so glad that I got the chance to.
We've finally come to the end of our breastfeeding journey at nearly 28 months and for some reason I don't feel as emotional about that as I thought I would. I think that if we had stopped when Amelia was younger then it would have been a different story, but the fact that I actually wanted to stop most probably played a big part in that. As terrible as it sounds, I wanted my body back, that may sound selfish but having given a part of your body away to some body else for 2 and a half years and being in pain for a lot of it can take it's toll on you.
Amelia would nurse for comfort and this would be at least 20 times a day, it was beginning to become too much and I knew it was time to stop. I managed to stop her from feeding during the daytime by sitting in the other room or on the stairs so she wouldn't come and sit down and help herself. She would throw tantrums and hit me if I didn't let her feed so this was the easiest way to do so. I had tried many times before telling her she was a big girl and didn't need it now but she just didn't understand. Once we had the day time feeds out of the equation I started to drop the bed time one, we would always sit at the end of her bed until she fell asleep or she would feed and tuck herself up in bed, instead I sat on the floor and held her hand until she went to sleep. After a few days she stopped telling me to sit at the end of the bed and eventually just laid back down and would go to sleep. So much easier than a few months ago when I had previously tried all of this!
The last feed that we needed to drop was the morning one, this was the most difficult as she would come into our room anytime during the night when she woke, this could be at 1am, 3am or even 5am. I would obviously be fast asleep so just let her climb into bed and feed to go back to sleep. She is now finally sleeping until at least 5am most days now so one evening I decided to leave the gate on her door shut so she couldn't come through on her own. She shouted "mummy" and I went to get her and when she came through I gave her water instead and she sat on our bed watching videos on the iPad or making a mess in our bedroom and didn't even try to feed. It took a few days for her to get used to but it finally worked!
One of the main reasons I was itching to stop was because during pregnancy many women experience sensitive breasts, this was the case for me. When ever Amelia would latch on it would remind me of those early newborn days again when you're literally tensing your whole body up and curling your toes in pain. It felt more like a chore than an actual bonding moment like it used to do. I knew she wasn't getting anything from feeding other than comfort so it was time to stop. I had tried many times before ever since she was around 18 months old, don't get me wrong she had cut down a lot and wasn't feeding for as long as she used to but it would be every time she got upset, every time she hurt herself, every time she went to bed, woke up, and 100's of times during the day when she felt like it. I can now sit down on the sofa without her coming over to me to feed as she took it as an opportunity to help herself.
Breastfeeding has been a wonderful experience and I will definitely be trying to breastfeed again when baby boy is born. However I will be expressing every so oftern so he doesn't get too reliant on me and other people can feed him too. I'm also debating whether or not to give a bottle of expressed or even formula at night time as Amelia was a terrible sleeper and would literally be feeding on me all night.
I've learnt a lot about breastfeeding, and a lot about myself. Here are a few of the things I've learnt about breastfeeding:
1. It does get easier!
2. Breastfeeding saves a lot of money
3. It's okay to ask for help
4. Breastfeeding is a commitment
5. It's 100% worth it!
You can read some of my other breastfeeding posts below:
How did your breastfeeding journey go? Are you still breastfeeding? I'd love to hear your experience.