Today I am going to tell you all about my breastfeeding and weaning experience. At 13 1/2 month’s old, I stopped breastfeeding for good. I did this for a few reasons: 1.) Abigail was no longer interested, 2.) I felt I had gone longer than most and 3.) With my sister’s wedding coming up (and me being maid of honour), I had to be available more and it was hard when I couldn’t go places because I had to feed my daughter. Just a disclaimer, this is in no way shaming women that cannot breastfeed. This is just my story. I’m going to break this post up into two sections, so without further ado, let’s get into it!
MY BREASTFEEDING EXPERIENCE
Before I gave birth, I tried to have little expectations regarding breastfeeding. I prepared myself for the fact that I may not be able to, but told myself that if I could, I would do it for as long as possible. What I could never have anticipated, was having an oversupply of milk. It came in right away! I had so much milk that Abi was choking and spluttering after every feed. She vomited so much in the beginning poor thing. I was happy that I had more than enough to feed her, but the engorgement left my breasts so swollen and stiff that I developed mastitis one week after giving birth. Let me tell you now, mastitis is awful. You develop a high fever and painful, red lumps on your breasts that require painkillers in order to feed semi-comfortably. I had to have an ultrasound to check for any abscesses but luckily it was all clear. Having mastitis and recovering from a c-section meant that I was bedridden. I felt so helpless and unable to care for our daughter. Francis took charge of everything which was wonderful but I couldn’t help feeling guilty that I couldn’t change a simple nappy in that time. During my illness, I considered giving up breastfeeding altogether. I was terrified that I would get mastitis again and again due to my oversupply. I made a deal with myself that if I got it a second time, I would stop. Luckily for me, I never got it again. I took a probiotic during that time – you can check it out here – that supposedly helps prevent mastitis until your milk regulates a bit better.
After six weeks, my milk began to regulate and things weren’t so uncomfortable. Abigail was still throwing up a lot though. I visited a lactation consultant who advised feeding in an upright position instead of lying down, so Abi could digest a bit better. It worked wonders! I continued feeding this way until the very end and Abi was much happier for it. One other thing I’ll say about having an oversupply is that you are told not to pump because it can increase milk production and cause blockages. Scared of going through mastitis again, I never pumped, but this did make me feel trapped in the beginning. I could literally never leave Abi with anyone because nobody else could feed her. It did contribute to my baby blues a little but I’m still thankful I had a good supply over hardly any.
A few months in, my nipples became infected and I needed an antibiotic cream to cure them. That was just as horrible as the mastitis. I would cry in pain whenever Abi fed. I once again told myself I couldn’t do it anymore but once they were healed, I just got right back on the horse. I tried to give Abigail formula in a bottle just in case but she refused it. She never had it and in a way, I’m glad now. We formed such a beautiful bond during breastfeeding. She loved it so much and I loved feeling close to her. I found that even in public, I didn’t have a single care for those around me. I whipped them out and nourished my kid. I’m so proud of myself for going as long as I did and continuing despite the huge obstacles in the way. It made me feel good (especially because Abigail is a vegan) that she was getting the best nutrients and start to life. Her nurses would always tell me how plump, happy and healthy she looked thanks to my milk.
When I reached one year, I noticed that my breasts were not as full between feeds. My period returned after 8 months and she wasn’t gulping the way she used to. Still, I was happy to carry on. However, at 13 1/2 months, she made the decision for me and the timing was perfect…
MY WEANING EXPERIENCE
I will admit, I was very nervous to wean. I had heard it could be extremely emotional for both mum and baby. Plus, if not done carefully, it could cause breast blockages. On July 20th, Francis and I went away for the weekend as a 30th birthday gift from my mother and sister. It would be the first time that Abi would miss a couple of breastfeeds, and we were both concerned that she would be very upset. My mum babysat her and kept updating us. Thankfully, Abi didn’t show any signs of missing it. She ate so much solid food and was distracted by the fact that we weren’t there. We had a great weekend away and it gave me the confidence to keep doing it. I noticed when we returned that she wouldn’t want my breast unless I offered it to her. Even when I did, she would feed for a couple of minutes and then pull off, eager to play. It felt like the perfect time to try.
I had read a really good article that advised removing the feed they care about the least first and then wait a week (still offering the other two feeds). Lunch went first, followed by dinner (waited a week) and finally breakfast (waited a week). By the end of those three weeks, I was no longer breastfeeding and Abigail was absolutely fine. Not a single tear shed – from either of us. It happened naturally and that’s what made it so much simpler. If your child does protest, the article says to give them plenty of cuddles and try to distract them. Fortunately, it didn’t come to that for me. Last month, I went on all day road trip to see where my sister was getting married whilst Francis watched Abi at home. It felt good to have that freedom back. It was nice to be able to spend that time doing some wedding stuff without needing to rush back and feed.
As I mentioned earlier, I am so proud of how long I breastfed for and I weaned mainly because Abigail just didn’t want it anymore. If she had, who knows how long I would’ve kept going. It all worked out so well. There were definitely a lot of ups and downs regarding breastfeeding but I wouldn’t have changed the experience. I was able to give my daughter everything she needed to grow healthy and big. I’ll always be thankful for that.
I hope you enjoyed this blog. Please let me know your thoughts down below. How long did you breastfeed for? What was your weaning experience like?
Thank you for reading!
Peace & Love xoxo