So there it was. The day that I’ve held off for quite some time. I decided to stop breastfeeding Cenzo after 1.5 years.
I never doubted my decision to breastfeed my babies. It felt like the most obvious option. However, both my children had difficulties of their own. Ryan really had to learn how to feed.
Feeding a toddler
I stopped breastfeeding Ryan when he was 9 months old. Cenzo, being so little, was not ready at all to stop. So we went on. From when he was about one year I only fed him in the morning and before bedtime. Whenever he woke up at night I would feed him as well. Sometimes this happened for weeks but he also had some periods of not waking up at all.
Cenzo became more active and aware of the world around him. Feeding him became more of a struggle as there was always something happening around him. Especially in the morning, with everyone trying to get ready for school and work. I kept worrying about the sleepless nights and whether Cenzo would accept me not feeding him when he woke up. This was the main reason the last few weeks to not give up on feeding. However feeding him before bedtime got worse as well. I must say that I wasn’t enjoying it as much as I used to.
Naturally we came towards stopping breastfeeding. With Ryan it was quite similar. Although he bit me more often and I was getting fed up with being a teething toy! The last night I asked Chris to take some pictures of me feeding Cenzo. I felt a bit emotional.
Life after breastfeeding
The first week was strange. Especially at night. I had stopped breastfeeding in the morning a week before so that was actually a time saving thing. I felt less stressed in the morning which is always a good thing.
After we stopped breastfeeding I felt anxious when I went to bed, hoping Cenzo wouldn’t wake up. I couldn’t imagine what to do when he would cry. Of course he did wake up eventually. Luckily he was happy just being held and cuddled before putting him back in his bed. He even fell asleep after 30 minutes most of the time.
The first morning in the weekend he was being put in bed with us by Chris. Cenzo was apparently hungry and just went for it after lifting my shirt. I was a bit surprised but my breast was a bit full so I didn’t mind.
The second week I felt more confident that this wasn’t such a big deal after all. However both Cenzo and I fell ill. At night he was really lost because of his cold. I took him with me to cuddle him back to sleep. One night he started drinking again but this time my breast was really full and a bit painful so I only felt a big relieve not having to pump the day after. After all breastfeeding is so much easier. Well for me that is.
This second week promised to be quite a hectic week even without being ill. But we were suffering from colds and flu. I had a teacher conference night on Thursday. It was challenging not being on top of your game but I managed. After talking to the parents we even went out for a drink. This was the best choice because normally I don’t sleep well after events like this but this time I had a good night sleep. I guess blowing off some steam works well.
Being ill made me realise that Cenzo has eaten all things good from me. I’m usually not the one who is having colds as bad as it was this time. All the vitamins and everything else that feeds the baby has to be refilled so I promised myself that I must take good care of myself the next few months.
Flu and colds
We are not so lucky this month. We all suffer from having colds. The kids had a stomach flu. Chris got laryngitis and I had a bit of everything but every time I didn’t catch it bad enough. Christmas was spend at home because of this. It’s taking over 3 weeks now. I am so glad once winter is over and we have more energy and feel healthier.
I felt emotional from time to time not having the possibility to comfort Cenzo by breastfeeding. I really missed it sometimes, especially at night.
Although I’m a bit emotional because this was probably my last breastfeeding adventure I must say I feel much better mentally. Although most mothers become really calm because of hormones when feeding a kid I was actually feeling anxious and sometimes a bit depressed. I must say that I know this now looking back and comparing my mental state to a few weeks back. I can’t say that I’m relieved but it feels like it was the missing link. Sometimes I was so irritated, got angry in just a split second and felt really restless. I learned how to deal with it but it was sometimes quite the struggle. Through this process I learned a lot about myself. Being such a perfectionist so that everything has to work out perfectly. I found out that I could only do as much as I could do. My new routine was not making too many plans. I planned one main activity per part of the day because taking care of two kids takes a lot of time. And don’t they always have trick up their sleeve to make sure your always running late?!
I realise that my body still needs time recovering. I must eat really healthy to replenish and to nurture it back into a healthy, balanced body. This will be a great challenge having to let go of way too much sugar in my diet. It will probably be accompanied by headaches and a bit of stress but I’m sure I can do it.
Did you breastfeed? How did you feel after stopping? If you have any tips please share them with us.