Feeling ambivalent about weaning

How, when and why to introduce foods other than breastmilk

Feeling ambivalent about weaning

Postby Yankee » Tue Sep 30, 2014 4:16 pm

Breastfeeding was very hard and painful for me early on, and I'm glad I stuck it out until it got easy, but now DD is a year old and down to just two feeds a day (first thing in the morning and before bed, but not feeding to sleep) and I'm working four days a week and feeling really conflicted about how long I want to keep breastfeeding for. Here's my disorganised bundle of thoughts.

I guess the heart of it is, I'm not really enjoying it anymore and I'm having a hard time justifying the small inconveniences against what I feel like are only small benefits of bf at this point. I know breast milk keeps providing benefits but she's only having two feeds and she eats tons of healthy food and loves cow milk. Yes it's also cuddles and bonding but we have plenty of cuddles in other ways too, and to be honest I'm not feeling very nurturing and cuddly during feeds anymore. It's mostly the morning feed that I'm starting to resent, because it means I have to jump in the shower and dress before she gets up, still wear a maternity wardrobe and take a good 20 minutes out of my morning before work to sit there and feed her before going downstairs, shoving cereal in my mouth and then going to child care (where she gets her first solids of the day, on work days). If I dropped that feed then it wouldn't matter if it was me or DH getting her up, and I could have my breakfast at the same time she eats hers. To be honest the only thing I like about morning feeds is that I get to read my book, I don't feel like it's bonding time anymore.

If anything I'm starting to feel like DH is TOO supportive of bf. He thinks I should keep going until she's two, even though he knows I'm going to a conference in January and away for 10 days. So in my head that's the deadline for weaning, at the very latest, but he thinks I should just pump twice a day while I'm away. Like I know he wouldn't give me a hard time if I decide to wean, but at this point I don't feel like I'd be supported in that decision.

It came to a head emotionally for me last night. DD's top tooth is coming in and her attachment is getting rough. After bedtime feed she had actually left a red mark where her tooth was rubbing. Yes, I know they learn to adjust, but the thing was when I mentioned it to DH his first comment was, "why don't you use the nipple shield?" And it brought all the horrible memories flooding back, of cracked nipples and nipple shields and pumping and comping, all the shit we went through for weeks at the start, and I said no way. I didn't mention to him how it brought it all back, but it was another example of not feeling supported.

But then I think, is it really that bad? Shouldn't I just keep going? But I feel like I want an end date, I feel trapped if I don't know when it will ever end. And January just feels to far away. I honestly think I would drop the morning feed tomorrow if I felt DH would actually agree with me, but I feel like if I bring it up he'll just go, 'oh well you've made up your mind then so it doesn't matter what I think does it?'

I'm not sure what I want from this post, just a sounding board really.
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Re: Feeling ambivalent about weaning

Postby Ronale » Tue Sep 30, 2014 5:11 pm

Ahh Yankee, sounds tough. On the one hand it's great your DH is so pro-breastfeeding, on the other, it seems that he isn't really listening to how you feel about it. I can really empathise with the needing an end date - could you say to your DH what you've told us in terms of feeling trapped and needing to know when it finishes? Acknowledge the reasons why you might continue, but talk about how you feel. Ask him how he feels about continuing breastfeeding, and how he could support you to make it easier for you. e.g., the morning feed sounds like a total pita, perhaps he could get up with DD in the morning and bring her to you? Make you eggs on toast so you can eat something nice once a week, give you a massage while you feed...etc, if he wants you to continue, perhaps he could sweeten the pot so to speak? Would that make a difference to you?
I think the January trip is a different matter though. Expressing for 2 feeds a day for a toddler is hard work. If you're not feeling it, it will be even harder. Perhaps a negotiation point may be agreeing not to 'wean' per se, but rather stopping feeding/expressing for that period and if she comes back you can decide then. Many mums find that going away may or may not wean a determined toddler, so it can really go both ways.
Ultimately though, it is your decision, the guilt trip of 'you've already made up your mind' is pretty unhelpful in my experience. You've done such an amazing job to get to this point, and that should be celebrated!
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Re: Feeling ambivalent about weaning

Postby Parla. » Tue Sep 30, 2014 6:02 pm

It sometimes seems like most of us are ambivalent about weaning, but that's probably just that those who have an easy decision don't talk about it as much ;)

Of course you know it's your choice. You've done such a fantastic job to get to 12 months.
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Re: Feeling ambivalent about weaning

Postby Lil.yaya » Tue Sep 30, 2014 6:47 pm

At the end of the day it's up to you Yankee. It is great that your DH has supported you during breastfeeding but from your post it sounds like you are ready to wean.
The only insight I can give is that I have regretted later after I stopped feeding my DS and DD1. DS was much younger and I went back to work not even really considering keeping some feeds and pumping. I just didn't know enough about bf then and I feel sad about that. DD1 weaned at 17months with very little encouragement, and I still wish I had kept that last feed going for longer. At the time I just let it happen naturally, and didn't really consider continuing to feed her.

So just make sure you are sure iykwim?
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Re: Feeling ambivalent about weaning

Postby Yankee » Tue Sep 30, 2014 8:15 pm

Wow I didn't realise how much that was a massive wall of text ... Thanks for listening ladies.

Ronale, if I'm away for 10 days with no feeds, is there even a chance I'd still have milk when I came back? I thought for sure by then the milk would dry up. Or am I misunderstanding your post?

Processing my thoughts a bit more, I think I'm going to talk to DH about dropping the breakfast feed, but feel like I'd be happy to keep the bedtime feed for the foreseeable future.

Also DDs tooth didn't dig in tonight which is a relief!
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Re: Feeling ambivalent about weaning

Postby fellare » Tue Sep 30, 2014 8:43 pm

hugs, this sounds tough on you! But you're doing well and it's good that you reach out to help make your mind.

as for your last question. It really varies a lot. For some women milk dries up pretty quickly, for others it can take years! and then there is the occassional grandmother who can relactate without issue. I have no idea what causes these differences, so couldn't predict what would happen to you.

Having milk there doesn't mean your child will want it, though. But you can always try to relactate if that's what you would want, so there is no reason to feel this holiday must be the end. If you want to keep the evening feed after that, you can.
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Re: Feeling ambivalent about weaning

Postby adk » Tue Sep 30, 2014 9:08 pm

Huge hugs Yankee. You went to a phenomenal effort to establish breastfeeding and have done an amazing job giving your little one a brilliant start to life. If it is time to wean completely, then well done!!! It is great DP is supportive of BF'ing, but ultimately he is not the one with the little person attached to his body twice a day. He has done a wonderful job of supporting you to breastfeed, and now needs to be as supportive of the end of your breastfeeding journey. Hopefully you can talk to him about that. Whatever you decide, you are an inspiration to those of us who have also struggled!! Hugs again.
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Re: Feeling ambivalent about weaning

Postby Ronale » Tue Sep 30, 2014 9:09 pm

pretty much what fellare said (thanks!). I still find it amazing that women can relactate years after they weaned, but it is possible! In fact what is truly amazing is those women who lactate without being pregnant.

And yay for no tooth digging in - it is such a relief when that sorts itself out.
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Re: Feeling ambivalent about weaning

Postby Jenbt85 » Wed Oct 01, 2014 6:55 am

I could have written this post! I definitely felt ambivalent and then started battling with aversion. It really confused me because I love breastfeeding, so couldn't understand why I was suddenly over it. I tried to push through it, but it was still there. One day I noticed that DS was sucking but not swallowing and after a couple of days of that, felt like my supply had disappeared so stopped.

My husband was a bit concerned about me stopping too and encouraged me to continue. It was only when I burst into tears and said that there physically wasn't anything there anymore to give that he realised he was being pushy. I think because I had been so ignorant about the benefits of bf that when we had problems establishing bf I read up on it and shared that info with my husband. Our families didn't bf us, so when there was pressure to use a bottle he was advocating strongly for bf and parroting the benefits. He was so used to educating people of the benefits and listening to me be passionate that in trying to be supportive, he was just being heavy handed.

I have had moments of regret/sadness after giving up, but I think I would feel like that at any point. You do get the cuddles and the relationship doesn't crumble. It's a new step forward.

Whatever you decide, you have done a brilliant job getting this far. One thing that strikes me in lots of your posts is how well you know your own mind. It's perfectly ok to wean if that's what works for you.
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Re: Feeling ambivalent about weaning

Postby Yankee » Mon Oct 06, 2014 11:00 am

After stewing over it and examining my feelings for another day or two, I raised the topic with DH again. He still made it clear that he thought I should keep breastfeeding for as long as possible, but that he'd support my decision. He says it feels like it's all happened 'really fast', that just a few months ago she was feeding 6 times in 24 hours, then suddenly it's 2 and now I wanted it to just be 1. I found that a bit weird. I guess it 'seems fast' when you're not the one getting up overnight or leaving your desk at work to breastfeed. :roll:

In any case, starting on the weekend I dropped the first feed. You can tell she's a bit upset/confused when she wakes up, gets a fresh nappy and clothes ... and is taken out of the bedroom instead of to the feeding chair! What's going on?! But by the time we're downstairs she's fine, and it feels more sociable having breakfast together.

To celebrate I've brought out my dresses I haven't been able to wear since I got pregnant, and treated myself to a few new tops (although I have to make sure I can still get out the girls at bedtime!). I'm happy with the decision so far, and content to keep the bedtime feed now that I feel like it's on my own terms.
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Re: Feeling ambivalent about weaning

Postby Ronale » Mon Oct 06, 2014 4:09 pm

Awesome Yankee - I'm glad you have made a decision you're comfortable with and have new tops to celebrate!!
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Re: Feeling ambivalent about weaning

Postby Yankee » Wed Oct 29, 2014 7:17 pm

So we've been doing just the night feed since my last post and it's working out fine. I do wonder if she's getting much milk anymore, I don't really hear any swallows and about half the time she gets very fussy - pulls off the first side and cries, pop onto the second side, short feed and more fussing, swap back to side one for a long slow feed, then sometimes even back onto side two again.

But still, I thought I was the one who would decide how long we kept that feed. But that may not be my decision after all.

Tonight she was particularly off - tired, gassy, didn't want much dinner but fixated on her sippy cup. So the sippy cup came upstairs for bedtime feed. She's normally excited about milky, walks right to the feeding chair, but tonight she just toddled around the room with the sippy cup and a shirt, no interest in being coaxed to milky. I got her on my lap at last and she still was not at all interested - not whilst holding the cup, not with the cup taken away. Bit me when I tried to help her latch. Would make the sign language sign for milky, then shake her head and say no.

Actually my first feeling was relief - maybe we're weaning, won't that be nice. But when I told DH what happened I burst into tears. I don't even know why, maybe because it's unexpected or because it suddenly reminded me of the rare times when she was little and refused to feed.

It's probably just a fluke, she had such an off day and she's really been pushing boundaries recently. It's like overnight she turned into a toddler and wants to control everything. But even if it isn't a fluke and this is the end, I'm ok with that.
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