And just like that, it’s over. After 751 days my breastfeeding journey with my son has come to an end. It’s taken me a while to process my emotions and come to terms with it.
So many emotions…from guilt, relief, sadness and pride. We have come such a long way from having a c-section to a lack of confidence in nursing in public, mastitis and everything in between. Every breastfeeding journey is different and I’ve enjoyed learning along the way.
My emotions have been out of control
Since stopping I actually ended up arranging an appointment with my nurse practitioner at my GP because my hormones felt so out of control. She reassured me this is normal and it just takes time.
Evidence suggests it can take 6-8 weeks for your hormones to regulate after stopping breastfeeding, so apologies now to my Husband! Most days I’ve been teary and just so emotional.
Learning to parent without breastfeeding
In a way, I feel like a new Mum again as I am learning how to parent without breastfeeding, something which has always been such a big part of our relationship. Especially when I went back to work and we continued our journey, those special feeds to reconnect after being apart all day at work and nursery.
In a way, I feel like a new Mum again as I am learning how to parent without breastfeeding
Breastfeeding is comfort, nutrition, pain relief and more so taking that away has left me feeling overwhelmed. Breastfeeding can no longer be my go-to response and I’m having to think of other ways to comfort, teach and help my little boy.
The most amazing and empowering thing I’ve done
It has been the most amazing and empowering thing I have ever done, more than I imagined. Having a lockdown baby was the most challenging time with no face-to-face appointments, closed community centres and little support. We got through and with each week that passed, I was so determined to keep breastfeeding.
Initially, we aimed for 6 weeks, then 3 months, then 6 months and then a year. The WHO recommends breastfeeding until a minimum of 2 years and beyond so when we hit 1 year we had a new goal.
I thought we’d end breastfeeding at 18 months
I actually wanted to stop around 18 months which is when I started feeling really touched out and experienced nursing aversions. We started off with gentle weaning and then putting boundaries in place. It was small changes at first like reducing feeds to three times a day. Slowly this became only feeding upstairs in the morning and at night. Then over time, we were just down to one bedtime feed.
I actually wanted to stop around 18 months which is when I started feeling really touched out and experienced nursing aversions.
The bedtime feed was my favourite. Those sleepy snuggles and some downtime at the end of a busy day meant alot. I was still struggling with aversions and even after a few minutes I could feel my skin start to itch. I then started timing feeds and explaining to Freddie that he had 15 minutes left. Every few weeks I would reduce the time so that eventually bedtime was just a 5 minute feed. He handled it so well and with being older it meant he could understand more.
I am proud of all we came through and achieved
I am incredibly proud of everything we have achieved over the last 2 years. The breastfeeding community has been amazing, the support from strangers online has kept us going and answered our doubts and worries.
I have made some amazing friends during our journey. I have helped so many other mummas and families too – something I am honoured to have done. I have written 8 articles and counting for Boobingit. I have had my work published in various papers and platforms through being a Breastfeeding Champion at work too.
For now, I’m hanging up my trusty old nursing bras and enjoying the next stage in parenthood…until next time.
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