Breastfeeding: I Can’t Quit You (Yet)

stopping breastfeeding

Status update on the night-feeding/breastfeeding saga: Ted is now taking bottles. Of formula. Guzzles them right down, has a burp, looks very pleased with himself. In the end, it was simple necessity that did the job – I had to go away for work, and although I wasn’t staying away overnight, I was gone from 6am until 11pm on one day and the majority of the waking hours on two more. In a way, I was quite offended that it all went so smoothly – why wasn’t Ted pining for my big, cushiony bosoms?! – but relieved that we had finally conquered the bottle-feeding situation.

It would have been a great time, you’d have thought, to completely knock breastfeeding on the head, get some bloody sleep and repair my battle-worn, baby-bashed body. But no. Though we are doing (random) bottles of formula throughout the day, I seem to still be acting like a human milking parlour at night, with Ted latching on at any time he deems fit to grapple at my chest and noisily demand his satisfaction.

And do you know what? I’m so torn! Because I could just play hardball and stay away from him at feeding times for a few days – hide in my office with some wine, or sit in the garden shed drinking gin, or pop to the pub (ooh, theme developing here) – but I still appear to have a major emotional attachment to either the idea of breastfeeding, or the physical thing of breastfeeding, or something else. Or both. (Crikey – that was concise and non-confusing, wasn’t it?) And is that so wrong? Why is it that I feel an outside pressure to stop breastfeeding, even aside from my own reasons (sanity, physical health, the wellbeing of my bitten nipples, work)? The number of people who have said to me,

“You’re still breastfeeding? Why on earth?”

or

“You want to get him on that bottle pronto, fill him up with something proper!” (Words to that effect.)

I can hand on heart say that I’ve had more commentary – with both babies – about how I should be stopping breastfeeding than I ever had when I smoked (quite heavily!) and people helpfully told me how bad it was for my health. I find that so odd. And (please don’t think this is a “them and us” breastfeeding wars invite!) it makes me feel as though we still don’t have a great culture for supporting and encouraging breastfeeding. Maybe it’s because people do moan a lot about breastfeeding when they’re breastfeeding (guilty of that) or at least feel the need to discuss it quite frequently, but that’s a whole other post perhaps! I’m sure that most of the comments I’ve had from friends and family have been simply because they are worried about my tiredness, but sometimes when you’re moaning you don’t want a solution, you want someone to say

“Do you know, you’re doing a really good job there. You must be bloody knackered, poor you. Oh dear. God, yes, it must be so tiring. Poor you. Well done though, well done for doing that.”

(Haha! This reminds me of a comment on one of my recent posts where a reader called me a “breastfeeding martyr”. It really struck a chord and gave me loads of material for a lengthy post about how you feel when you’re breastfeeding, so I must remember to edit that and polish it up and hit “publish”.)

stopping breastfeeding

So anyway, I can’t seem to quit breastfeeding, not just yet. Here’s why:

1 It’s easier to latch a baby on in the middle of the night than it is to go and get a bottle. Yes, even if it’s a ready-made bottle beside the bed. Because – marvellously – you can lie down and doze whilst you breastfeed a baby, but you’d be in all sorts of wet-patch trouble if you attempted that with a bottle. The downside of this is that you’re on your own – the night feed problem is all yours. But I can’t sleep through a baby crying anyway, and lie there semi-awake hearing little moans as the bottle is rejected/played with, so it’s swings and roundabouts with the night feed situation.

2 I still enjoy it. Mostly. See below for some current “cons” with the whole breast situation. But I love the closeness and the cuddles and the feeling that you’re doing something quite unique, quite special for your baby. In my mind, I’m giving a little health boost each time I do it, although I have no idea whether this is true – especially if I’m also feeding formula. I read some stuff about breastmilk being pointless once they’re weaned, but I need to do more research on that. The World Health Organisation seem to think differently – oh, the wonderful and confusing world of Google!

3 I can’t give up my Magnums. Regular readers and followers of my social media platforms (@modelrecommends and @uphillbaby on Instagram and @modelrecommends on Twitter) will know that I have a huge thing for Magnums. The chocolate-covered ice creams. Oh man, they are just sublime. My favourite? Mint choc! Anyway, I allow myself one a day as a treat for breastfeeding (I need all of those extra calories!) and I’m just not sure I’m ready to knock them on the head. World’s lamest excuse for carrying on with breastfeeding, but hey.

4 I would have to face up to actual real life in terms of health and fitness and my terrible diet. And am I ready to do that? I feel like breastfeeding keeps you in a sort of baby “bubble” that excuses you from normal worries, such as whether your gut overhang touches your thighs when you sit on a chair. Am I at the stage where I want to go and get fitted for a normal bra (IT DOESN’T HAVE DROP-DOWN CUPS?!) or give up Magnums, or…give up Magnums? (There’s another theme developing here. But can I just say that I very rarely drink. Anything. I have but one vice and that is my choc ice. I have but one vice and that is my choc ice. I feel this could be the start of a successful, chart-topping rap hit.)

5 I can’t stop until I’ve somehow evened out my breast sizes. I don’t know whether anyone else has had this, but one of my boobs is like the breast of a perky Californian cheerleader, the other is…sad sack. I’m addressing this issue and working out just how I might reset the balance. I don’t want to be flinging one tit over my shoulder for the rest of my life whilst the other sits nicely in an Agent Provocateur bra cup. (It’s not that drastic – I do like to exaggerate for effect, you may have realised that by now.)

Some reasons for completely stopping breastfeeding, now, just to represent the flip side:

1 Ted loves a little nibble on the old teat. I never know when he might go for a chomp, so I can spend quite a lot of the feed on tenterhooks, waiting for the little jab from his teeth. I feel as though I’m dating Edward Cullen – always waiting for that bite.

2 Mixing breastfeeding and formula has resulted in quite a bizarre, chaotic routine of never knowing when Ted’s due a feed or which type of feed he needs or what he had last. Sometimes I latch him on and realise he’s just had a full bottle, but he has a mini feed anyway which is a pointless waste of time, unless it’s somehow comforting him. In the evening, he has a full bottle but then wants to feed to sleep, so I end up doing both. In the morning I breastfeed him because I have lots of milk, but actually it would be better for him to have a bottle so that I can get up and about and do stuff… I need to devise a routine, but I can’t quite work out which feed of the day I want to keep to the boobs. If any. I’m sure that with Angelica I just kept the morning feed? Or was it the evening one? Time to re-read my own blog archives…

Goodness, that was a lengthy pouring-out of the contents of my mind, wasn’t it? Thoughts in the comments below. As always, this is not a post about breastfeeding vs bottle feeding and which is better for the baby – fed is best and (obviously, because I’m mixing formula and breastfeeding) I don’t judge anyone for feeding either way. We’re all just muddling through, aren’t we?

 

*© 2017 The Uphill®: *Outbound links are affiliate links, which means that I receive a very small percentage of any sale made. This does not affect my content in any way and does not cost you anything, but you are most welcome to Google the products on a new page if you prefer. All opinions are my own and any sponsored or paid posts will always be clearly marked as an AD in the title. I accept press samples and receive product and services to review as part of my job. "The Uphill" and "Ruth Crilly" are registered trademarks.

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71 Comments

  1. Lorna
    November 18, 2017 / 3:39 pm

    I recently weaned at 13mths… not that I ever intended to feed that long. But in the end Fate took over, I was sick with what I thought was a virus for a month. When the dr saw me she thought I had pneumonia and sent me to a&e! So mum had to mind baby and that was that. She still, a month on doesn’t drink more than the occasional sip of water but still has wet nappies. And is FINALLY starting to sleep through the night. After 2 long haul breast feeding experiences I vow I won’t do it again, should we go again. Extremely isolating (I live in rural Ireland) and both babies bluntly refused any other source of fluids.

    • Lorna
      November 18, 2017 / 3:42 pm

      And yes, EVERYBODY thought I was some sort of hippy fruit cake, breastfeeding is not common here. So all advice was to stop… right from the start. Even my 6 year old niece volunteered that ‘a bottle is bound to taste better than THAT’… wow

  2. Jo Harvey
    November 18, 2017 / 3:45 pm

    Can relate to this post so much! My little girl is the same age as Ted, and I’m currently battling the Edward Cullen stage. It’s bringing back all the emotions of the tough early days, when everyone kept telling me to just knock it on the head (breastfeeding, not my baby, obviously. Ha!). But, like you, I’m too emotionally attached and the idea of giving up this special little thing only we do together, makes me feel genuinely sad. I’m going back to work in January, and I think I’m in denial about it, as haven’t even tried formula yet!! May have to sneak the baby in to work in my handbag!! Anyway, thanks again for reminding me I’m not the only one with the constant breastfeeding dramas and dilemmas xxx

  3. November 18, 2017 / 4:59 pm

    My boobs never evened out. The one that was more perky during feeding turned out to be the one that looks more “empty” now and hangs noticeable lower. I have considered surgery, but I do have a daughter that I want to know that there are other things that matter more than that, so I just go with my different boobs.

  4. Bryony
    November 18, 2017 / 5:31 pm

    You are doing a great job! I breastfed my first for eight months and my second for 13 months. With both I felt a huge outside pressure to stop after about four or five months. Like it just wasn’t a NORMAL thing to be doing. Hand on my heart (and I am sure I will get a lot of grief for this) I felt like those mum’s who had sacked of the breast feeding earlier wanted me to stop so they could feel better about their own breastfeeding choices.

  5. Nichaela
    November 18, 2017 / 5:44 pm

    I love your blog so much it is a lifesaver during the early hours! My little girl is 5 months and I’m currently dealing with 4 and 5 month sleep regressions and night feedings. I have contemplated quitting breastfeeding so many times but baby doesn’t take the bottle. I do moan about feeding but also love the bonding and how she gets all her food from me. I look forward to seeing how you get on with the formula and continued breastfeeding. You are doing a fab job.

  6. Rachel Oughton
    November 18, 2017 / 6:07 pm

    I can totally empathise with this! Especially the bit about wanting to be able to complain but not be told to stop breastfeeding. I’m still feeding my almost two year old and am always very nervous to say anything remotely negative about it, because I know that’s what I’ll mostly get. It is great, but it is hard work! And I don’t know loads about the science of it, but if nothing else the antibodies in your milk are an advantage that remains long after weaning.

  7. Teresa
    November 18, 2017 / 6:17 pm

    This really struck a cord with me. I went to my little ones first year review a couple of weeks ago and said I was still breastfeeding. The Health Visitor said “we’ll done you, that’s such an achievement, I hope you are really proud of yourself”. It actually made me quite emotional as I had a difficult start breastfeeding, but stuck it out and I really enjoy it. I thought if I could do 3 months it would be great so I set no expectations, so I am surprised as anyone that I am still doing it at a year, but if it doesn’t bother me, why do I have to justify to anyone else why i’m still doing it? It was just so lovely to hear someone say well done instead of why

  8. Melanie
    November 18, 2017 / 6:51 pm

    It is always strange how we are trying to make up our mind about what is best in case of breastfeeding. We are asking for help, discussing and at the end it is all very very individual. I stopped breastfeeding my second son 2 days ago. He is 1 year and 8 month old. The whole “process” took us 4 month, because mostly I wanted it that way and it seemed right. When he started childcare we slowly stopped breastfeeding during the day. He started to eat proper meals during the day and somehow forgot to ask for a breastfeeds. During night it was a lot more difficult, because he wasn’t in the mood for substitutes. Sleeping was not possible for either him, me or my husband. I was close to just accept to breastfeed until he is ready for university. But we made it. The last remaining fed before bed somehow was the easiest to phase out. No crying no asking (yet). Obviously it was good timing.

  9. Jenny
    November 18, 2017 / 7:32 pm

    Well can I just say to you – you’re doing a GREAT job!!! Happy healthy baby whatever way he’s fed!! I’m still breastfeeding my son who’s about the same age as Ted. Since solids and water for a drink came into the picture we’re down to about 3 feeds a day and a feed once or twice (or thrice if he’s being a scamp!!) during the night. If you and your little man are happy to keep going with both, you should do it – you’re his Mammy and know him the best!!

  10. Anu
    November 18, 2017 / 8:27 pm

    Hi Ruth!

    I’m a long time reader though I don’t think I’ve ever commented a blog post before. Here you said that perhaps breast milk becomes less nutritious after baby statrts solids and that really struck a chord. I do want to point out that breast milk actully becomes denser with antibodies, oligosaccharides* and all that good stuff the less the baby feeds. It eventually becomes much like colostrum. So if you only bf once a day for example, you are giving your child a very healthy shot of goodness. And when it is time to wean off, the last breastmilk will become very salty so that the child would be put off by the taste.

    A little-known fact is that the nipple absorbs the baby’s saliva and thus receives information from the baby. If the child would get sick the mother’s breast will produce much fattier milk filled with antibodies for the baby.

    Another random fact: scientists recently started studying a substance (I forget what exactly) found in breastmilk that could be included in cancer treatment. Also, there are numerous health benefits of extensive breastfeeding for mother and baby.

    By all of that I want to say that you are doing an amazing job, Ruth. I know it hasn’t been easy (it never is). You do your thing that suits you and your family. Do your thing, Mama!

    For me breastfeeding has been empowering and enslaving, amazing and awful, easy and arborous, a quick fix and an incredibly time-consuming process. Not sure if I love it or even like it. But I have been extremely well-supported and by this odd comment I wanted to give support to you too.

    *a type of oligosaccharide works as a Trojan horse for getting rid of viruses/harmful bacteria. To get into the bloodstream the virus/bacteria has to get attached to a receptor cell in the gut. The oligosaccharides pretend to be those receptor cells and but instead of taking them into the bloodstream they get rid of the bacteria.

    It is very ok to be sceptical towards all of the above, Google for references!

    • Julz
      November 19, 2017 / 9:15 am

      Not skeptical, in fact saving your post for those people who tell me I’m going to have to stop breastfeeding soon… my daughter is 16 months old and shows no sign of wanting to stop. We will stop when she’s ready, not because I want to.

    • Jess
      November 22, 2017 / 5:33 am

      Another breastfeeding researcher here (my masters thesis is on breastfeeding and sleep) and I was going to jump on and say the same sort of thing! Every breastfeed has a health benefit whether nutritional or in terms of attachment and you’re doing a great job. It is hard! I’m breastfeeding number 2 going on nearly 9 months and it’s arduous and delightful and tiring and sweet and all the mixed up things. I’m also too lazy for bottles while wishing baby took a bottle so I could go out a bit more again. So this all really resounds. Hang in there 🙂 x

    • Jo
      November 22, 2017 / 2:31 pm

      This comment right here has persuaded me to persevere with my morning and evening feeds for my 10 month old. I’ve been back at work 3 weeks and it’s started to get hard to get home in time, but I do love it (especially our first dozy feed at 6.30am) and i would love to carry on if I could.

  11. Sk
    November 18, 2017 / 9:10 pm

    We all love you and your musings Ruth. You are doing an outstanding job. Whatever works for you is the best way. In this world where they grow up too fast and the World is a scary place,you should enjoy every moment you can. My baby was awake until eight but we had a giggle and I just adore her so much. So many people have said “I wished I’d just enjoyed my baby” but I’m determined to do so.
    Your blog is a treat so thank you

  12. AA
    November 18, 2017 / 10:29 pm

    Love this!
    I breastfed baby 1 for 13 months during which time I realized you’re damned if you do and damned if you don’t. There is always judgement from some people. Luckily I live in a place where it’s quite supportive but when I went back to my native country I always got comments.
    Expecting baby number 2 anyday (2 under 2 until Jan) and setting myself goal of six months – if I make it beyond yay but I refuse to let other men/women influence this decision.
    It’s hard work being a parent – regardless of how you choose to provide nutrition.

  13. Mo
    November 19, 2017 / 8:46 am

    Ruth you are doing an amazing wonderful job and you’re brilliant. You are the expert on what’s best for Ted, so if you’re not ready to stop, well you know best.
    I agree with you, there possibly isn’t as much support for breastfeeding as one might have thought. People are very quick to tell you to quit.
    I mean, if someone told you that the traffic was terrible today, you don’t respond with “that’s your own fault, you should quit driving, stop being a martyr!”
    I breastfed my little girl until over two years of age. I only quit because I’m pregnant again, and I was so ill and felt like my boobs would fall off. And she misses it!
    My daughter was in hospital at 18mths with a vomiting bug and breastmilk was the only thing she took orally. The nurses gave me SUCH a hard time “how could you still be breastfeeding?! You need to stop” And above their heads was a poster declaring the hospital “breastfeeding-friendly”.
    Anyway, you’re great, you know best, and forget everyone else.

  14. Suzy
    November 19, 2017 / 9:23 am

    Ruth, I needed this post! In fact, all of your posts always give me great comfort and a giggle at such a tiring, stressful yet precious and wonderful time in the baby years. You tell it EXACTLY how it is.
    My LO is 7 months old (3rd child) and I can relate to absolutely everything you’ve said. We are still breastfeeding, he still refuses the bottle, and like you I sort of want to stop (biting, sick of bfeeding tops etc) yet also love it, it’s our special thing and so good for them.
    I’m so knackered I spend half of my time crying with tiredness and half of it laughing with delirium… you’ve given me hope, and a good dose of normality in the uniqueness of it all… if that even makes sense. Well done you. And well done me. I’m trying to take one day/night at a time… thank you for sharing x

  15. Megan
    November 19, 2017 / 10:23 am

    We are all doing a wonderful job Ruth, and it is hard! I’m currently (also actually doing it now!) breastfeeding my 13 month old baby. She feeds many times a day, maybe 6 or 7. There are a couple of reasons why I feel so strongly about our decision to keep breastfeeding. One is that she had two episodes of profuse vomiting after an allergic reaction when we started giving solids, before she was diagnosed with FPIES (pretty rare so you may not have heard of it). She developed food aversion, particularly to the spoon and even at 7-8 months we were struggling to get much food into her. Breastfeeding more than usual was so necessary as her needs increased but food intake didn’t. We had never given her a bottle and it’s just a route that seemed difficult and unnecessary if I could give her what she needed. She still eats nowhere near babies her age and still struggles if she feels out of control of what’s going in her mouth, but she is absolutely thriving and I put it down to breastfeeding! We had a rocky start with flat/inverted nipples, poor latch, using breast shields for 5 months, but it feels so easy now I need to remember how hard it once was to appreciate what gift we’ve been given to continue without problems. I totally understand your predicament and I feel it’s so unnecessary for outsiders to judge your decision! You should be applauded for the amazing job you’re doing. Well done! I hope this gives you some support to do whatever you want, and feel is best. X

  16. Lindsey
    November 19, 2017 / 11:57 am

    Look Ruth, in my opinion (and from my experience) you need to get on a schedule. Scheduling feeds and daytime naps are what will get Ted to sleep through the night. You can’t expect him to stop the night feeds on his own if he doesn’t feel full enough from his daytime meals. Also daytime sleep is imperative for their nighttime sleep. And just FYI, I am also still breastfeeding at 10 months and giving formula and solids. It really has less to do with what kind of milk and more to do with being regimented (not to say super duper strict all the time though).

    Get on a schedule. It’s work, but it’s so worth it.

    • Aimee
      November 21, 2017 / 9:19 pm

      What schedule does your little one follow? We follow a schedule (+/- an hour!) and my daughter is 9 months and breastfed but doesn’t sleep through the night, and still wakes up for one or two night feeds!

    • Kate
      November 21, 2017 / 9:56 pm

      Any suggested schedule ?? Clueless here

    • RC
      November 28, 2017 / 6:01 pm

      Never had a schedule with either of mine, bf first on demand for 11 months, happily took a bottle of Ben when required, onto solids at 4 months (the advice back thrn) didn’t sleep through for 2.5 years. Second was bf on demand for 15 months never took ebm of formula from a cup or bottle, introduced solids at 7 months and slept through at 10 months. Every child is different, routine suits some children and some families but not all.

  17. Elise
    November 19, 2017 / 11:58 am

    I didn’t breastfeed my first son at all (I just didn’t want to) and I know it was the right choice for me at the time. I breastfed my second son for a little more than a year because it felt right, and I know it was the right choice too. Both boys are doing perfectly fine, thank you very much.
    And yet, well, you’ve guessed it, I have heard random criticism for both choices from all sorts of people, from strangers to doctors to friends and family members (even my mother said something to the effect of “well, I suppose he is getting fed anyway” for my older son AND “do you plan on breastfeeding him until he goes to school?” for my younger).
    I have made it a matter of principle: I absolutely refuse to judge anyone’s parenting, no matter how different from mine, and I force myself to not justify my parenting choices because nobody should have to. It is hard enough being a mother (and a woman in general), nobody needs the side-eye on top of everything else.
    As for your current ambivalence, Ruth: I went through a similar phase, it lasted for about two months until my son gradually self-weaned. I think by the time it happened, we had both reached the point when we were ready to stop. In my case I think I had a hard time letting go (in spite of being frankly at the end of my physical resistance to sleep deprivation) because he is probably my last baby and, well, we had a great run… Ah, and in the end he fed exclusively from my right boob (go figure) and it was all wonky, but luckily it was the smaller of the two initially, so in the end things evened themselves out, as it were…
    Enjoy every bit of it, you are doing a fantastic job.

    • RC
      November 28, 2017 / 6:03 pm

      Agreed, criticism seems to be the only certainty with parenting especially with feeding choices. Judged fir not BFing, judged for feeding too long.

  18. November 19, 2017 / 2:12 pm

    My sister is still breastfeeding her 16 month old. Obviosuly, it’s not just breastfeeding by now, he eats things etc. But her French gyne said to her ‘you’re still breastfeeding? we’re not in Africa!’ In a condescending way. Needless to say this didn’t go down well with my sister…She was so shocked.

  19. Francesca
    November 19, 2017 / 3:55 pm

    This really resonates with me. 15 month old boy feeds morning and evening. He also really happily takes a bottle of cow’s milk if I’m not around. And I’m pregnant (with twins!), so you’d think the sensible thing would be to stop. But I can’t. Especially the morning feed… he drinks so much, is so soft and warm and cuddly and I just never want it to stop. The evening feed I can take or leave as he’s often very wriggly and doesn’t seem to take much. He’s sleeping 12 hours a night, which is proof that breastfeeding doesn’t have to interfere with sleep. Even if it’s mainly for comfort, stop when you’re ready, not when people tell you to (Mum, I’m looking at you). You’re doing an amazing job. x

  20. Grace
    November 19, 2017 / 5:09 pm

    Ruth, well done!

    To be brief I willsay that I was only able to have one child and nursed for 6 months. Your posts have been a beautiful reminder of the difficult and lovely moments and aspects.

    I would not change them for all the world. The first two and a half- years were all we had together.

    • Ally
      November 21, 2017 / 10:57 pm

      Bless you Grace. I hope you always hold onto the beautiful memories you have of your brief time together and they can bring you moments of joy. Your post has reminded me to hold my little one a bit tighter and take some time to savour our quiet breastfeeding moments. x

  21. Shannon
    November 19, 2017 / 5:41 pm

    From a mom who couldnt breastfed two, you re a champ! I think, when you are ready, you will do it. The stress of stopping can’t be good for you. My 2 are teens now and yet I still very much enjoy these posts. My very best good wishes to you!

  22. Moo
    November 19, 2017 / 6:47 pm

    About the uneven boob thing, one must remember that men’s bits are not perfectly pert symmetrical dollops, so go easy on sweating the small stuff about it. Who cares, truly, no one. X

    • Katie
      November 20, 2017 / 12:35 pm

      Hee hee love this!

    • Katie
      November 21, 2017 / 12:48 am

      Brilliant! And so true!

  23. Sharon
    November 19, 2017 / 7:33 pm

    i breastfed all 3 of mine for about 18 months each and tho i was kinda desperate to stop i didnt really want to give it up.. I think its the hormones and physical attachment to your baby that makes you want to carry on. Also you are special in that no one else can give that to them. On the plus side someone told me and i believe it is true that the longer you feed your children the more intelligent they end up and i have noticed this not only with my own but others who have fed their children for a long time they are definitely brainier….

    also saggy boobs do reinflate over time i have found! maybe never quite as perky but better than they are just after you finish breastfeeding!

    well done for keeping on. You will never have this time with Ted again so why not keep on as long as you want to.

  24. Tina
    November 19, 2017 / 7:43 pm

    Can relate to all of this!! Especially the being constantly grappled at for milk in the night, and using breastfeeding as an excuse for eating everything under the sun.
    Love your posts as always xx

  25. Charlotte
    November 19, 2017 / 7:57 pm

    So I’m guessing moving him to his own room didn’t help with the night feeds, huh? God, breastfeeding is so emotional! I’m also having trouble, although my issue is different than yours – my little one is nearly 7 months old and for a while now he has not been very keen on the breast. He really loves his solid food, and seems to think that breastfeeding is now a boring distraction from the fun he could otherwise have. Health nurse says he still needs quite a bit of milk though. And he will usually take a bottle when he rejects the boob. So why not just let breastfeeding go, right? I just can’t. I love it and the closeness and I feel like I give him the best I can. And I feel so hurt and rejected by him, although he’s just a baby.

    Sry for the long comment. Love your blog <3

  26. Anja
    November 19, 2017 / 8:15 pm

    Oh number 5 had me in fits! I just love your writing so much! And I really understand the pressure you feel and it is so sad that we feel it!
    With my first one, I thought I would tire of breastfeeding and that I would want my body back, but I seriously enjoyed it. For the cuddles, for the convenience and what have you not. However after I stopped when he was 1 year and two weeks old, I did feel relieved and I did love getting my body back (which btw took much longer than that…) Whatever what I want to say is, breastfeeding is such a personal thing and I wish everyone would keep their noses out of somebody else’s business!
    Oh and of course: well done Ruth, for pushing through, for giving little Ted what you think is best. You’ll eventually stop when you feel it is best for the both of you!

  27. Katie
    November 20, 2017 / 12:34 pm

    I’m not the biggest pro breastfeeding person in the world and yet here I am still feeding my 18 month old. And enjoying it more than I ever have. When he asks for it (“mummy bubby”) it melts my heart.

    My mum said something that struck a chord with me; “there’s very few guilt free pleasures in life, if you’re happy and he’s happy carry on.” So on we go, (“uzzer one” = turn me round so I can have the other boobie now please mummy!) <3

  28. B
    November 20, 2017 / 12:37 pm

    Hi Ruth
    My four month old recently started rejecting breastfeeding half way through each feed – starts off happy and then screams and cries when the flow slows down. Took her to gp etc and was advised to just keep trying but after 2 weeks of increasing misery and a cranky, hungry baby I decided to top her up with formula. So she gets 2 courses now! But first feed of the day is just breast when I have enough fast flowing milk to feed her up! I started to regulate the feeds to every 3 hours or so which she’s adapted to well (was breastfeeding after every nap /every 1.5 to 2 hours previously) Her nappies tell me she’s still getting the benefit of the breast milk but she’s definitely more satisfied now and doesn’t over eat – she tends to take the same amount of formula each time. I’d say whatever suits you and the baby and makes you both happy then go for it. Had I stuck rigidly to just breastfeeding only we’d spend most of the days with both of us in tears and life’s too short!
    Xx

  29. Clare
    November 20, 2017 / 6:11 pm

    As a first time expectant mum I’ve found the constant judgement for every decision pretty overwhelming, I can only imagine what it will be like when the baby is actually here!

    In the meantime I’ve found the attitude of, it’s no one elses sodding business pretty useful. Not in a nasty, aggressive kind of way but it’s my body, my baby (well ours but you know what I mean) and when I am growing a human and then nurturing them it’s my business only the decisions i take – as long as they are happy and healthy and doing ok.

    I am not keen on breastfeeding for a long time, mainly because i need to get back to work fairly soon but whatever suits you is totally best…maybe caveat any conversations with ‘Only positive comments allowed please, thanks in advance’.

  30. Quess
    November 21, 2017 / 3:01 am

    From my own experiences nursing three little I assume your breasts will even out after weaning. My last child weaned two months before she was four and my breasts up till that long were quite uneven since she favored one breast over the other. They are fine now, and even fuller than after I weaned my second child. Breast feeding is a normal, but personal choice between a mother and their child. I am from the state’s and have had many negative comments about continuing nursing, even when my children were only 10 months. Kudos to whatever you decide!

  31. Alanna
    November 21, 2017 / 10:58 am

    Could you do a post on quitting smoking! I smoke and would love some inspiration!

  32. Gabrielle Brown
    November 21, 2017 / 12:34 pm

    Only a madwoman would quit breastfeeding before Christmas…you can eat it alllllll! Deffo put the thought on ice until the new year and enjoy both baby nuzzles and infinite amounts of festive nosh. Living the dream 🙂

  33. Rachael
    November 21, 2017 / 12:46 pm

    Hi Ruth yes it is a shame that people have rather a strange attitude to bf – that a bottle is better???! Well I suppose I sound extreme because I bf my daughter to 3 years and currently feeding my second at 6 months – I never intended to feed for so long the first time but very happy I did and my little girl didn’t want to stop so we carried on. You are and have done a brilliant job and given the best start to your kids. It is hard but worth it I reckon anyway well done you 🙂 xxx

  34. Susan
    November 21, 2017 / 8:37 pm

    My – not so little – girl who is almost three still breastfeeds sometimes. Only in the morning OR before bed. Our breastfeeding relationship was never about me having a choice or wanting to stop. There was just no way. It was the only thing she would ‘eat’ till she was two years old. Breastfeeding is so much more than food. It is love, cuddles, skin to skin. Stopping suddenly can really cause harm I think. I’ve tried to stop around the age of two because of the no eating problem because a doctor told me to but it was hell. Crying, whining and a very upset little girl who didn’t understand why I stopped cuddling/breastfeeding. I believe every drop is good for your child and you should do what you want to do. Do not listen to other opinions. I have had opinions about breastfeeding especially about breastfeeding older children but now I am that person and I love it.

  35. Alicka
    November 21, 2017 / 8:37 pm

    Hello again, I have nothing of value to say except try not change anything until you settle into yor new house. These things have a way of just turning out on their own somehow… In the meantime enjoy the magnums and cuddles. Moving is hard enough!
    Btw I am told the sizing settles after breastfeeding stops. I am yet to find out so don’t take my word for it

  36. Jasmin
    November 21, 2017 / 8:38 pm

    I breastfed my daughter for a year until she self-weaned. As in she bit me hard on the nipple and then pulled my tshirt down over my boobs. What can I say? She’s always been quite determined… I felt a bit ripped off!

    I feel very lucky that I had a lot of support and never once was on the receiving end of any negative comments about breastfeeding. It enrages me that other people think they have the right to comment on women’s bodies and how they choose to feed their child (and how long for). The biggest upside of breastfeeding? Not having to wash/sterilise bottles and the instant calming effect.

    As the mother of a crappy sleeper, hang in there. Mine didn’t sleep through the night til 18mo, schedule or no schedule.

    Love your writing x

  37. Mags
    November 21, 2017 / 9:51 pm

    You are doing amazing, you have 2 lucky babies. Breastfeeding isn’t easy but looking back I’m so glad I did it for 13 months. I’m also weirdly passionate about it now – in a way I never could have imagined before having a baby!
    P.S. I love both your blogs 🙂

  38. Jo
    November 21, 2017 / 10:06 pm

    I went through this debate in my head with my son. I breastfed him until he was 18 months (I only wanted to do it for 6 weeks! Pah!) What I found was I really enjoyed it but also moaned about it. lol! I found it so much easier than bottle feeding with either formula or breastmilk. My husband tried in a few occasions to feed Stan and I was almost stood there hoping he wouldn’t take it and feeling a bit jealous and always ended up feeding him anyway. I suddenly woke up at 4am one Sunday morning after yet another night over being constantly attached via the boob and decided that was it…no more.
    I also have the uneven boob-ness. Stan decided at 4 months old he would only feed from the right boob (now called Sad sack). It is now bigger and a lot ‘less pert’ than the left. Stayed the same for the last 6 months and has not evened out since having my second son (now 5 weeks old). I’ll keep my eyes peeled for a post about this from yourself. Anyway, love reading your posts as always.

  39. Alexandra Spencer
    November 21, 2017 / 10:16 pm

    ‘But sometimes when you’re moaning you don’t want a solution’……..One of the best pieces of advice I was given post-children was ‘listening without fixing’, and actually, it applies everywhere. Re. children, the example given was if they come home from school saying ‘so and so was incredibly mean to me’, instead of flying in to the school demanding the situation be sorted, asking your child if they want you to talk to the teacher / other parent / head about it, or whether they just wanted to tell you so that they could have a cuddle, some sympathy and a pick-me-up chat.

    I now try and apply this to other relationships too. My husband, for example, usually wants to ‘fix’ whatever is upsetting me / I’m moaning about (which is lovely in theory). However he now understands (mostly!) that sometimes I just need to rant, and offering up the odd ‘poor you’, lots of sympathy and perhaps a hot drink and a biscuit goes down much better than a list of ‘what I could do about the problem’ (most of which I’ll already know 🙂

  40. BB
    November 21, 2017 / 10:30 pm

    Stop when you’re ready. Cut down when you’re ready. Schedule (or not) when you’re ready.

    Lots of love from a Mummy of one who fed like it was going out of fashion day andnight for a whole year, then weaned 1 feed at a time over the next year. It’s a joy, privilege and pain in the arse all rolled into one!

  41. Sarah
    November 21, 2017 / 10:53 pm

    Hi Ruth, you are doing an amazing job. I too feel an emotional attachment to bf. My 4 month old has an intolerance to dairy & soy. So I’ve had to give them up. She has only just started to take a little bit of prescription formula after 8 weeks of trying. I’ve been so desperate to be off this diet as it makes me feel a bit down especially when tired and looking after two under two but I also feel torn because I love breast feeding and i feel sad at the thought of stopping. I really wanted to enjoy eating and having a proper cuppa by Christmas though
    I too have always had comments from family about going on the bottle. saying my girls have been unsettled/crying babies because I breastfeed X

  42. Sarah
    November 21, 2017 / 11:21 pm

    I would love to hear your ideas about how you can even things out in the chest area! Google has failed me. Nursing has been such a remarkable experience and, like pregnancy, has changed my body in many ways, for the better and the worse!

  43. Julie
    November 22, 2017 / 3:04 am

    Breastfeeding is so emotional. I breastfed my son to 18 months and only stopped because I wasn’t gaining enough weight with my second pregnancy with twins. I breastfed the twins until 24months. I think there are so many positive things from breast feeding like the immunity you give them and the studies that show a high intelligence level. I say “great job Ruth” and continue as long as you and Ted enjoy it. It’s a very personal and hard choice to decide when is the right time to stop.

  44. Sonia
    November 22, 2017 / 3:21 am

    Hi, I’m still breastfeeding my two years old son and have no intentions of stop doing it… still feel a deep connection and I know that I’m giving him confidence and health for his future. (Also the WHO recomends at least two years of breastfeeding).
    Sonia, from Chile

  45. Dominika
    November 22, 2017 / 4:27 am

    My daughter is 12 months old and I’m still breastfeeding, I recently cut down on the daytime feedings and it’s mostly morning, evening, and nighttime now! She was developing a cold the other day and I decided to give her the boob at noon… and she went back to just a little bit snotty. I think WHO recommends at least 2 years of breastfeeding, milk being the main food until the baby is 1 year old. I’ve read a TON about breasfeeding, joined a FB group with specialists on the topic. From what I understand the nighttime boob is what is the most nutritive and good for baby’s development, so aside from me doing it out of convenience (I nap while I breastfeed at night too haha), I keep doing it for this reason, too. There is so much misinformation about breasfeeding, my daughters co-teacher (not main teacher/caregiver, whatever you call it!) asked me yesterday why I’m stull breastfeeding since my milk has no nutritive value anymore – which has made me SO ANGRY, because I don’t expect every aunt or grandma to he up to date with this kind of knowledge, but a person working with children below 1yo and generally at a daycare center, who feels like they have th expertise to comment on the topic SHOULD REALLY KNOW MORE. Or just stay silent. Eh. But like you’ve said – no one ever felt the need to comment about my smoking habit, why are they so passionate about boobs? If breastfeeding babies is so bad for everyone involved, how did we survive as a species until Now?
    Either way, I immensely enjoyed your post! I also love the closeness it gives me to my daughter, I actually feel sad when she just comes for a short pit stop in the evening when I come back from work and doesn’t eat for a few minutes like before…
    As for the difference in boobs, my baby decided that she dislikes my right boob and has been feeding mostly from the left one since she was around 2 months old, so we had some fun size times hahaha When I started working, even though I breastpumped all the time, my left boob would react badly and I would wake up the next day with it the size of a watermelon while the right one was maybe an apple hahaha. Now that I’ve pretty much stopped feeding her during the day they look more similar in size at all times, after a feeding they look basically the same. I think the slight sag will go away with some massaging, worked for my friend at least!
    Lots of love from Seoul ♡

  46. Missy
    November 22, 2017 / 6:26 am

    You’re doing great! Try not to stress it too much……he will eventually stop and you’ll be onto the next phase. I breastfed all 3 of mine for various amounts (9 months, 4 months, and 13 months) and for various reasons and supplemented with formula with needed. I remember with my youngest though feeling torn and confused and never knowing when to wean. I was constantly nervous that my supply would disappear and that I needed to keep going until it did (it had happened with my daughters.) When we made it past the year mark it dwindled naturally and he never looked back. You’ll get there. Try to give yourself some grace. The baby stage is so short in reality and when they turn 11, 7, and almost 3…..you look back and can’t believe it went by so quickly.

  47. Anita
    November 22, 2017 / 6:44 am

    I was at the other end of the spectrum. Didn’t have enough milk and didn’t like breastfeeding. The amount of flak I got from family, strangers, doctors, nurses made me utterly depressed. I felt like I was not doing enough for my baby and there was something wrong with my body. This breastfeeding/bottledeeding debate is the worst, you never can win no matter which side you are on.

  48. November 22, 2017 / 7:16 am

    Urgh, I get told to stop breastfeeding all the time (my son is 15 months and we do one feed a day). People tend to be horrified. But the toddler seriously enjoys it. It seems a bit cruel to stop. Just keep doing whatever you want to do!

  49. Maria
    November 22, 2017 / 10:02 am

    Ruth you are doing an amazing job and you are a great inspiration!
    I have a little girl same age as Ted. I had a really difficult time breastfeeding in the beginning- a baby that wasn’t gaining weight at all and everyone else other than my husband were pushing me to give the bottle. Words such as ‘you don’t have enough milk’, ‘you are not doing any good for your baby’ were damaging to my already bad psychology.

    I went back to work when she was only 4 months old and had to pump at work 3 times per day until she was 9 months old… I had to travel overseas when she was only 6 months old and had to pump at the airport toilets, during a 10 hour flight, in between meetings…

    I remember at the pumping session at the airport toilets, before boarding to come back home, while rinsing the bottles a woman told me ‘ Well done you’ and I just burs into tears..Someone finally telling me well done that could see what hard work it is.
    Now that she is 10 months old it is pretty easy and bf helps when I have to put her into bed, when she wakes up at nights etc…
    While in the beginning I was bf everywhere, now I find myself having to hide because everyone tells me ‘are you still bf? she is old now, it is not norma!’
    Keep up the good work, do whatever makes you and your babies happy. Whatever you do it is for the best of your family so never let anyone tell you otherwise
    Love reading your posts!
    With lots of love from Greece

  50. Oana
    November 22, 2017 / 1:04 pm

    You’re doing a GREAT job!!!I am still breastfeeding my baby boy at 25 months old!!

  51. Penny
    November 23, 2017 / 4:08 pm

    The best advice that I’ve received thus far as a Mom is “you know what’s best for you and your baby”. It’s so true. Only you know the specific circumstances you’re dealing with. Outsiders don’t have the full context, so it’s very easy for them to just dish out half-baked advice that may or may not have any relevance for you and your family.

    If you’re not ready to give up breastfeeding and you’ve obviously weighed the pros and cons – then just keep on until you don’t have any doubts that it’s time to stop. I bet that you will just know when it’s time.

    Re: the culture of breastfeeding – I find that support for breastfeeding or lack thereof really varies according to where you live. I live in a place that is VERY pro breastfeeding, which is great for some, but was really difficult for me because I was only able to breastfeed my daughter for the first few months due to low milk supply and was combination feeding her from the beginning because she wasn’t putting on weight properly. I had SO many comments / pressure from people about how I wasn’t doing the best thing for my baby by exclusively breastfeeding her – even though I didn’t have a choice!

    In my view, the only wrong answer in all of this is to not feed your baby. You’re doing a great job and nobody knows what’s best for you and your baby better than you. Trust your instinct and I”m sure it will all fall into place. Good luck! xo

  52. Anna
    November 24, 2017 / 12:43 pm

    I have the exact same thoughts on the subject! I have the exact same situation with ny tits (one being a sac and the other being perfect – even more milk in the perfect one. Thus reading this post really made my day. I get lots of comments to switch to formula. My son is eleven months old. I am trying but still it is not working. Though, I promise to get him to dring formula when he is one year old. Thank you, thank you, thank you!! You are great!!!

  53. Anna
    November 24, 2017 / 12:50 pm

    Also, the best part of your story is that you really are assertive and independent and you are doing what you want despite all the people telling you what to do. I find this really refreshing and feministic (if there is such a word). Well well done Ruth!! I like to think the same about myself although most people just think that I am weird and not, ‘independent thinker.’ Shame, but what to do. Bye!

  54. Lizzclare
    November 24, 2017 / 7:29 pm

    Still breastfeeding George at 21 months, once a day early mornings if he’s up before half 7 we have half hr in bed before breakfast lol. I am 12wks pregnant and getting my head off the pillow any earlier is wretch inducing and so it lingers on. I was going to stop at 12months but he had a dreadful cold and wouldn’t eat just wanted mumumumum which is what he calls my boobs. He’s been sleeping through a few months now so I could stop but every cough cold ect I felt likeI was comforting him and maybe even making him better.
    With another one on the way I really need to knock it on the head and I’m not one of those tandem feeding mothers. I don’t have the energy even now with a full nights sleep. Just get Christmas out of the way

  55. Johanna
    November 26, 2017 / 2:06 pm

    Hey Ruth, as always I love your blog-posts! And I DO think you are doing an amazing job – all pressure aside whether what you are doing is perfect (it never is, anyway), but it is admirable how much you do for your kids and I think one can already from the pictures you share with us tell that they are growing up very happily.
    I only want to make one remark/ suggestion: Since you mentioned that you always think you are giving Ted a ‘health-boost’ when you breastfeed him, something worth considering might be that breast-milk is only as healthy as the mother is. I don’t want to say that you are too unhealthy for your baby or anything ridiculous like this, but regular Magnums and all that considered, even though your breastmilk certainly is perfectly fine health-wise, it might not be the super-health-boost you think it is. Again, I don’t want to say that your breast-milk is not good for your baby or even that you are harming him (god forbid!!), but since you are saying that this way of thinking about breast-feeding is what – at least in part – keeps you going, it might be worth rethinking this particular point.

  56. Johanna
    November 26, 2017 / 2:38 pm

    I am a bit worried my comment might come across as harsh or something, so let me just add for clarification: Whatever exactly the nutritional benefits of breastmilk might be, I think the emotional reasons for breastfeeding (or against breastfeeding) are surely very weighty – and it is totally ok if these reasons outweigh (possible) nutritional considerations. Not only for the mother, but also for the child. So don’t worry too much!

  57. Leyla
    November 28, 2017 / 11:05 am

    I read somewhere that one breast produces more hindmilk than the other and that that breast is often the favourite breast…my baby is 11 months and I’m still breastfeeding, I’ve noticed that the one he prefers is definitely a bit closer to the ground. When I got fitted recently at Rigby and Peller the women doing the fitting said one of her tits is still smaller than the other and looks different she called it favourite boob syndrome!

  58. November 30, 2017 / 10:50 am

    I posted a pic on Instagram yesterday celebrating the (almost) end of my breastfeeding journey… Hazel is 12.5 months and we’re just down to a morning feed now. I was SO anxious about replacing her bedtime feed with a bottle but needs must (because I am going on a spa break next week and my husband needs to be able to put her to bed!) but she absolutely loves warm cow’s milk and has transitioned without a hitch. She has a bedtime bottle and one in the night if she won’t settle, and then a morning breastfeed.

    I totally, totally feel you on the weird mix of emotions that come with stopping/continuing breastfeeding. Part of me wants to continue the morning feeds for a while longer yet, but I can’t work out if that’s because I *actually* want to or because I feel like I ‘should’, due to some misplaced sense of competition and wanting to ‘see it through to the very end’. The other part of me is keen to stop the morning feed sooner, because it would draw a line under the whole thing and we could move on to the next stage of motherhood (whatever that is).

    Ugh. Why do we tie ourselves up in knots about this stuff?!

  59. Vera
    December 1, 2017 / 1:40 pm

    Hi Ruth!
    I’m so sorry that there are so many people in your life who think they need to give you advice on breastfeeding. 🙁 I used to live in England and I remember how different the attitude towards breastfeeding was there. Now I live in continental Europe and here the average time is at least 12 months (actually, the WHO recommendation is to exclusively bf till 6 months, then give nutritious complementary foods and continue breastfeeding up to the age of two years or beyond) and it is only the older generation who think anyone “should” stop breastfeeding. My third baby is 14 months old now, I breastfeed him once during the day and several times during night. I will slowly start to de-attach him during nights, but only because I need my sleep. 🙂 He almost never catches the colds and illnesses from her sisters and I think it is because he is still breastfed. Keep up the good work, don’t listen to anybody, and always remember: time flies by so fast! That’s what I’m telling myself day by day. :))

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