Breast Refusal resulting in Weaning

A baby's refusal to feed is a distressing time. Sometimes the refusal is outright; other times just an extreme fussiness. Usually it is temporary and the baby returns to the breast. Share your experiences and support one another through this tough time here.
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NightOwl
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Breast Refusal resulting in Weaning

Post by NightOwl » Sat Jun 08, 2013 7:30 pm

I have spent many hours trying to work out how to pen my recent experience without collapsing into a sobbing mess...again.

Many of the Perth girls will know my plight as I popped along to their ABA group for support (my old group but I haven't been for years as meetings have clashed with work days) and they were all wonderful. Unless a miracle occurs my last baby is no longer feeding and stopped 3 days after his 1st birthday. It is SO far from what I expected and SO far from what I wanted for him and for me that it has really thrown me and I'm not coping with it very well at all.

If you search through this exact place I went through 6+ days of breast refusal with DD back in Dec 2006/Jan 2007 so when Thomas bit me after 3 sucks on May 19 and then did the same thing every feed that day and for the next day and then the following day refused to even come near my breasts I used all of the same strategies. He was refusing expressed milk, not even becoming distressed at no milk before naps or when he hurt himself and needed comfort or first thing in the morning or last thing at night. He started sleeping through the night and continued to comfort himself with his thumb (a thumb sucker since day 3).

I expressed to maintain supply and continued to spend a couple of hours a day topless/skin-to-skin wtih Thomas...no mean feat given I had 3 older kids demanding of my time and tyhat Thomas showed NO interest in being anywhere near my breasts. When my period stopped he started to drink the breast milk again and I became hopeful once more. I thought that perhaps yes, it was my hormones changing the taste of my milk (I had tasted it and it was just like water with salt added when normally it is so sweet) and that's why he started biting the second milk hit his mouth. He was (is) also cutting 3 molars so I had hope that when they were through we might have seen some change.

Meantime I was very grateful for the Helpline and was regularly using them for support and gainiing support through wonderful forum friends who are counsellors too and emailing counsellors.

Tomorrow will be 3 weeks since Thomas' last feed. I have woken him during sleep and tried to attach him and he has woken extremely distressed. I have showered with him and he rips my nipples off with his sharp little nails and kills himself laughiing at me squirting milk but has ZERO interest in attaching.

I am really, really struggling to accept this. I hate saying "my baby weaned at 12 months". He refused the breast and I wasn't able to overcome that. I feel like I have failed him because I know the amazing benefits he would have received had he got breastmilk until he was 2 (I am a crap expresser and would not express for another 12 months so that makes me feel like more of a failure as he could have BM until 2 if I was willing to do that). At the same time I am surrounded by people high-5ing me for such an easy weaning and talking about what a big boy he is and how wonderful it is that he is so independant. I can't get past the fact that 8 years of being pregnant and/or breastfeeding has finished so suddenly - I had visions of beautiful peaceful feeds well into his second year (my other LOs weaned towards the end of subsequent pregnancies so I expected things would be very different this time), of him remembering feeding, of his siblings being that little bit older and knowing more about feeding through seeing their brother feeding as a toddler.

So much yabbering there. I just wanted to share where we're at and am not posting to hear what a great job I've done or anything like that. I have heard that even those who have been through a planned weaning experience this grief so I do know I'm not alone but I didn't expect this depth of emotion.
*DD 04/06 - mimi for 3 years, 7 months
*DS1 02/08 - mimi for 21 months
*DS2 05/10 - mimi with a nipple shield for 18 months
*DS3 05/12- mimi for a year

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Mummy woo!
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Post by Mummy woo! » Sat Jun 08, 2013 7:41 pm

Oh NO I am so sad for you that feeding has ended this way. I think it is quite normal to grieve for the breastfeeding relationship you thought you would have with Thomas. And it is also normal to feel sad when you have weaned suddenly (hormones :roll: )

I'm glad to hear you have had some support through ABA - and you are right, most people wouldn't understand that 12 months is 'early' for a baby to wean.

(I had a little smile at your little man laughing at squirting milk though. I squirt Mrs Moops sometimes, we both think it is hilarious).
It's OK Pluto, I'm not a planet either

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ClOuD_NiNe
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Post by ClOuD_NiNe » Sat Jun 08, 2013 8:37 pm

I'm sorry things didnt turn out the way you would have liked. Sending you big hugs !@~@~!group hug
DS July 11 - bf for 10 months
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Esther
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Post by Esther » Sat Jun 08, 2013 8:39 pm

Hugs NO. I'm sorry your breastfeeding relationship with Thomas had to end this way and so much earlier than you hoped. xo
Esther
DD1 05, DS 08, BB 11, DD2 12
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mooki
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Post by mooki » Sat Jun 08, 2013 10:58 pm

hugs NO
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Nedsmum
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Post by Nedsmum » Sat Jun 08, 2013 11:31 pm

Can I tell you it's normal -

- normal for some babies to self-wean around 10-14 months
- normal for mums to feel ambivalent about weaning, even when it is desired/planned/expected
- normal for breastfeeding to finish because something else got in the way
- normal to feel absolutely crappy for 4-6 weeks after weaning (I blame the hormones 'calling' us to breastfeed - it's a pretty strong biological urge).

I think I can't say it enough, that breastfeeding is a relationship between two individuals, and even when mum wants x baby/toddler may well want y, and mum usually doesn't win!

The infant feeling guidelines used to say 'breastfeeding to 12 months and beyond, for as long as mother and baby desire' - I quite like that guideline, it gives plenty of freedom and emphasises that both mother and baby are separate components of the breastfeeding relationship.

I do believe there is a 'soft spot' for weaning around 10-14 months. I do think that it's far more likely if the baby is also being given bottles, as it's so simple to substitute the breast for a bottle, and if you aren't using bottles at all, then it's probably less likely that they wean at that age, but it's definitely common, you are definitely not alone!
Breastmilk - the ultimate 'brain food'!!!

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JMc
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Post by JMc » Sun Jun 09, 2013 2:17 am

Hugs
DD - November 2009 (Breastfed 19 months)
DS1 - August 2011 (Breastfed 2 years and 8 months)
DS2 - November 2014 (Breastfeeding happily)

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~WildChild~
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Post by ~WildChild~ » Sun Jun 09, 2013 6:49 am

Hugs xx
DS1 2006 - breastfed for 5 years
DS2 2009 - breastfed for 5 years
DD 2011 - breastfed for 4 years 9 months
Angel baby 2016
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NightOwl
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Post by NightOwl » Sun Jun 09, 2013 8:08 am

Thank you everyone. Thanks for listening.

A really small blip in the face of what others go through (are going through) everyday but I'm surprised at how deeply it's affected me.

Nedsmum, no bottles here, ever. Not even a sip...none of mine were ever interested although I tried with the first 2 but didn't bother with the last.

Despite knowing it's a 2 way street and that I can't force a child to breastfeed the "Mummy knows best" mentality keep wacking me in the face. My big 2 want to cross the road independently but I know it's best if they hold my hand so they do. My baby doesn't want mimi anymore but I know it's best if he does...nothing I can do about it :(

That said I am so blessed to have had 4 very different BF relationships with 4 very different kiddos...it's just me not ready to let go.
*DD 04/06 - mimi for 3 years, 7 months
*DS1 02/08 - mimi for 21 months
*DS2 05/10 - mimi with a nipple shield for 18 months
*DS3 05/12- mimi for a year

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Rachwa
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Post by Rachwa » Sun Jun 09, 2013 9:43 am

Much love. You know I'm always here xx
DS1 (T) Dec 2010, weaned Dec 2012
DS2 (H) July 2013, milk is in!

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Feebes
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Post by Feebes » Sun Jun 09, 2013 10:23 am

Even I'm surprised that he's weaned all of a sudden. Understandable that you are having a hard time dealing with the sudden weaning. I'd also be concerned about him not getting the good stuff for as long as the others did.

Lots of hugs, even with dd2 doing a gradual wean I had a hormonal dump at the end too.

xXx

Feebes
DD 02
DS 05
DD2 2010

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manomummy
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Post by manomummy » Sun Jun 09, 2013 11:41 am

Hugs NightOwl, I can feel your sadness coming through your post. !@~@~!group hug

I wonder too if the early weaning is also as he finds life some much more busy and exciting with his older siblings.

I can certainly understand you not being ready to wean, and he still being a baby at 12 months.
DS 06 - BF for 28 months
DD1 09 - BF for 33 months
DD2 13 - new BF journey has started

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NightOwl
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Post by NightOwl » Sun Jun 09, 2013 7:33 pm

Thank you Rach and Feebes and manomummy.

I think you're right too manomummy...life is very busy and in some ways he seems much "older" at 12 months than his siblings but in other ways he's far more babyish...I think I worry a lot that I contributed greatly to his weaning by not giving him enough time. By that I mean that for Thomas Breastfeeding was an on/off for nourishment thing that he never developed a dependency on for comfort cos I was always having to take him off to wipe a bum, break up an arguement, make a snack. Even overnight we often didn't have lovely quiet time together cos big kids would come in and need resettling. There hasn't been a single second he has even looked like he missed mimi or needed it since the day he stopped...suddenly he sleeps all night (the day before he stopped feeding he was waking between 1 and 3 times for a feed...absolutely would not take water), he walks to bed and signs sleep at nap time and when I lift him up he has a sip of water, puts his thumb in his mouth and goes to sleep. For the previous 368 days he fed before every sleep.

His thumb is a great source of comfort for him too. From 3 days old he would use his thumb even if he was being worn by me. I would have to take it out of his mouth and feed him...he never cried, just put his thumb in his mouth. This morning he started stirring at 7:30 but his thumb kept going in and out if his mouth and he didn't start actually crawling to me to get up until 8:45.
*DD 04/06 - mimi for 3 years, 7 months
*DS1 02/08 - mimi for 21 months
*DS2 05/10 - mimi with a nipple shield for 18 months
*DS3 05/12- mimi for a year

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marie7
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Post by marie7 » Mon Jun 10, 2013 5:38 am

Huge hugs NO. What wonderful nourishment and comfort you have given all of your georgous kiddies! I'm so sorry Thomas hasn't fed for as long as you hoped, and totally understand your feelings. My ds2 is being mummy led weaned down to a couple of feeds a day and I'm still back and fourth about him being too young! I also totally understand how this could have happened with you and Thomas as you said about him not comfort feeding at all. My 2 have only breastfed for so long because of the comfort feeds.... And all of my friends bubs have weaned early (albeit a lot earlier than 12mths) because they have never comfort fed, so I think as he gets comfort from other sources (loving the cute thumb sucking stories!!) he is ready and willing to give up mimi, and even tho your not ready he is :( More hugs for you xxxxx
DS APRIL 09 BF 2YRS DS2 FEB 12 BF
Number 3 on its way due 18 may!!
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manomummy
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Post by manomummy » Mon Jun 10, 2013 6:10 am

Go gently NO. You might be able to take some comfort in knowing that Thomas stopped when he felt ready and secure to leave mummy's breast.

(I'm no trying to tell you how to feel, just wanted to give support).
DS 06 - BF for 28 months
DD1 09 - BF for 33 months
DD2 13 - new BF journey has started

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