Giving Up Breastfeeding

Giving Up Breastfeeding

I never thought I would feel this guilty about giving up breastfeeding. When I had Carter, I just knew that I wanted to breastfeed for as long as possible. Little did I know that just 3 months in and after finally getting the hang on of latching on properly, that it would all change again. And I would have to start introducing formula and that my breastfeeding journey would come to an abrupt end.

I absolutely love breastfeeding and it’s a really great way to bond with your baby. Never would I have thought, that I would struggle so much to give it up. Even now, a month since we started giving him formula, I’m still struggling to stop fully. I still breastfeed in the middle of the night, because let’s be honest. It is so much easier than having to faff around with bottles and I still have mom guilt moments.

So I wanted to share the different stages of giving up breastfeeding. I think there is probably a lot of other mums, who struggle as much as I did with this.

Knowing your milk isn’t enough

Carter went from being happy and content for a few hours after each feed, to screaming blue murder within the hour. He would feed non stop, then get frustrated when he wasn’t getting more milk out of me. He simply drained me and my body couldn’t keep with the increase in the milk that he needed. I was exhausted and pretty much just tied down to the sofa and feeding non-stop, it wasn’t fun for either one of us. It was like a never-ending circle. Deep down, I already had an inkling of knowing he needed formula to top it up, as he wasn’t getting enough from me. The health visitor confirmed this when she came to weigh him, he had dropped a whole percentile already.

When the mum guilt sets in

I never expected to have this sudden feeling of mum guilt hit me. I felt like I failed, despite eating all the right foods my milk wasn’t enough. My milk had not dried up but it just wasn’t enough to fill him for longer than an hour. My health visitor was lovely, she could see how guilty I felt about giving up breastfeeding. She reassured me that I have nothing to feel guilty about. I had done 3 months of exclusive breastfeeding which is a great achievement, she said I could still top him up with breastmilk. Which what we have been doing ever since. I still haven’t stopped completely though. I probably will by the time his first tooth comes through.

Finding the right formula & bottles

We had NUK bottles with latex teats for expressed milk and Carter always took them. But once we started introducing formula he refused bottles altogether. We tried to mix formula and breastmilk, but even that didn’t work. Different bottles or teats didn’t do the trick either. He finally fully took the bottle after two weeks and changing to Aptamil in NUK bottles with latex teats.

What changed and how did we do it?

I would start him on the breast and then slowly push the bottle in and take the breast away. He would drink an ounce or two and then start crying, as he realised it wasn’t the breast anymore. We repeated this for a week and a half, yes it wasn’t easy but it worked. And eventually, he would drink the bottle and also take the bottle straight away.

1 Months On – How Are we getting on?

At the moment, I’m only breastfeeding Carter at night time when he wakes after his bedtime bottle. And I’m likely to drop this last feed by the end of the year or when his first tooth comes. I just can’t bring myself to fully stop just yet. Don’t feel pressured into having to drop breastfeeding completely, do it on your own time. My health visitor said it’s okay to keep offering the breast for comfort, for as long as you like.

Carter loves his bottle now, he gets excited whenever he sees his milk. He still takes to the breast as well, there isn’t any nipple confusion. I don’t feel as guilty anymore, as I know he’s getting everything he needs now. But it did take me some to get to this point.

Tips on gradually stopping breastfeeding

The most important thing is to not stop breastfeeding all together at once. Otherwise, you might end with painfully, engorged breasts and could develop mastitis. I would recommend to gradually cut out on feed at a time. Whenever my breast felt achy, I put cold cabbage leaves on them. It really helped.

I thought I would include a link to the NHS Guidelines as well, there are some additional great tips on how to give up breastfeeding. You can find the link here.

These are the NUK bottles that we use, the teats come 2 sizes. 0-6 months and 6-12 months, the latex teats need replacing more regularly than the standard silicone ones.


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20 Comments

  1. 25th November 2019 / 11:26 am

    This is such a helpful and insightful post that I am sure will help so many mums on their different stages of breastfeeding. I am so sorry that you are feeling the mum guilt but glad to hear things are working themselves out for you guys now. It sounds like you have a fab health visitor and a plan. Thanks for sharing your journey xx

  2. 24th November 2019 / 9:08 am

    I combination fed my third for 13 months… It was such a wonderful experience… I was gutted when I had to stop.

  3. 23rd November 2019 / 10:11 pm

    Please don’t feel gully, a fed baby is a happy baby whether that’s from breast milk or formula x

  4. 23rd November 2019 / 9:44 pm

    I had to introduce formula with both my boys at around 4 months because my milk just wasn’t enough for them. First time I really beat myself up, second time I just accepted that was the way it had to be. As long as both mummy and baby were happy.

  5. 23rd November 2019 / 8:59 pm

    I loved breastfeeding but it didn’t go as I’d hoped with either of my children and I didn’t manage to feed for anywhere near as long as I’d wanted to. It’s extremely difficult to come to terms with and other people often don’t understand.

  6. 23rd November 2019 / 4:18 pm

    I was devastated when I had to give up breastfeeding but it was the right time and I don’t miss it now. I remember it being hard though

  7. 22nd November 2019 / 6:17 pm

    I’m at 9 months with my 3rd and only feeding at night . I’m kind of getting ready to stop but then part of me know this is my last baby but like you at a year, I think I’ll be done.

  8. 22nd November 2019 / 6:11 pm

    I breastfed both my sons and felt mum guilt with my first as I had to stop at 14 months as I was pregnant with my second and was suffering with hyperemisis.

  9. 22nd November 2019 / 4:03 pm

    Iโ€™m at the exact same position as Iโ€™m wearing off my 7-month old! But as she is baby no.3 Iโ€™m being much less harsh on myself – hope it all gets easier for you!

  10. 22nd November 2019 / 2:57 pm

    Mum guilt is just horrid, I think we all have it at some points and breastfeeding can be hard. You have all those emotions rushing around your body and I know I was a bit illogical when I stopped feeding my twins, as one wasn’t thriving. Mich x

  11. 22nd November 2019 / 2:52 pm

    Well done! Ending the breastfeeding journey can be so hard and emotional. I remember I was ready to stop at 15 months but my daughter wasn’t so I rubbed lemons on my nipples and that was the end of that lol!

  12. Rebecca Smith
    22nd November 2019 / 1:37 pm

    Please don’t feel guilty. I was the same with Jack but had a completely different experience with Olivia. xx

  13. 22nd November 2019 / 9:15 am

    It sounds to me like you’ve done so well! You have absolutely nothing to feel guilty about x

  14. 22nd November 2019 / 12:51 am

    Don’t be hard on yourself about that. It doesn’t make you any less if you give up on breastfeeding. You are doing your absolute best and everything happens for a reason so cheer up!

  15. 21st November 2019 / 11:17 pm

    Aww I am so sorry you are feeling guilty about it, you have to do what is right for you and baby. That is all that matters.

  16. 21st November 2019 / 9:33 pm

    I couldn’t breastfeed at all due to a hard birth and trauma. Well done for being able to do it at all!

  17. 21st November 2019 / 8:58 pm

    Please try not to feel too guilty. I never breastfed, I just didn’t feel the urge to. My girls are strong and healthy having had formula all their lives ๐Ÿ™‚

  18. 21st November 2019 / 6:38 pm

    Donโ€™t be so hard On yourself. Everything happens for a reason ๐Ÿ™‚ weโ€™ve just given up co sleeping and I felt awful but itโ€™s really going well and Nila is happy and so am I ๐Ÿ™‚

  19. Cassie Mayers
    21st November 2019 / 2:52 pm

    I really struggled giving it up, and I miss it so much now. I found that the nights were the hardest because going into Lilys room, she would just smell my milk and I always felt so guilty not giving it her. I finally stopped when she was 18 months old.

  20. Helen
    21st November 2019 / 1:56 pm

    Oh bless you – as mums we can be so hard on ourselves! You’ve done amazingly ๐Ÿ™‚ I currently have a four week old baby, so am back to the start of the breastfeeding journey. x

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