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Time To Quit Breastfeeding

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My baby is celebrating his first birthday and I am nearing the end of breastfeeding. As I begin to wean my baby, I am surprised at how sad I feel about it. I never loved breastfeeding like other women did. I never found it to be that magical experience like other moms. I did it because I felt that it was the best that I could offer my children.

But now that it is coming to an end, I strangely wish that I could go back to a time when I could make everything better for my baby by simply nursing him.

I started by dropping one feeding and offering whole milk from a sippy cup. At first, he was interested in the bright, plastic new cup. But when he tried the cold whole milk, he made an unpleasant face and spit the milk so it dripped down his chin, soaking his bib. He then threw his bright new cup on the ground and cried for me as he squeezed both palms together, the baby sign for “milk.”

The next time was just as unsuccessful, even though I warmed the milk. He tried one drink and promptly spit it back out. His crying for breast milk cuts into my heart as his eyes try to burn a hole in my shirt.

I am now down to only one nursing a day. I had to change his routine. Typically, I would take him to his quiet, peaceful room and rock him in the glider as I fed him. As I began to drop his feedings, I couldn’t even take him to that glider without having a crying, inconsolable baby when he didn’t get his milk. Still, I am consistent with him.

I know that he doesn’t understand why I am stopping the feedings. He doesn’t understand that he is getting older. He doesn’t understand anything other than the fact that he isn’t getting the milk that has nourished him for a year. He doesn’t understand that I am doing what I believe is the best for him.

I expect that I will have readers that will think that I am doing the wrong thing by stopping breastfeeding. I know that there are mothers that wait for children to wean themselves. A friend of mine was once told, “Your baby will let you know when they are ready to be done breastfeeding.” I want to be finished with breastfeeding before my son can TELL ME that he is ready to be done.

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EmpowHER Guest

Thank you so much for voicing what I was feeling for so long - I am still BF my third son (he is 9 months). I was very excited and ready to wean my second but I can already tell that weaning the third will be very emotional for me - because I know for sure he is my last child. He never took bottles but has recently started drinking formula from a sippy cup and I am down to 3 nursings a day - and on one hand I DO look forward to the day that I will be free of the nursing bras etc but part of me is very sad. He is growing up and although that is wonderful it is bitter sweet for Mommy!

July 15, 2009 - 8:09am

I have a 2 1/2 year old son, and I can relate to your story--not from the breastfeeding perspective anymore--but, from your sentiment, "...the feeling of knowing that you give him something that no one else can." I have that feeling every week, and almost every day, because as my son grows older, I can see in his eyes and his smile the bond that we share. My husband and I are the center of his world; we are his favorite playmates, and he chooses to be with us over anyone else (most of the time). I think this is such a special time, as it will not always be this way (and, nor should it!). It's a nice change of pace from the baby-stage, where THEY were the center of their world, and didn't know anyone else existed (literally!)

Just wanted you to know, you will have that feeling again, and dare I say, it may be even a better and stronger feeling. Really! It feels better, because it's not about the most basic survival need (to eat), but it is from a choice to laugh and play together. In other words: it won't be about your boob (ha ha), but about you--a funny joke you share, a silly face you make at each other, a secret dance or song you play when no one else is there--all of these things are gifts and special moments that exponentially surpass the special bond of feeding. It just keeps getting better and better.

July 2, 2009 - 12:30pm
EmpowHER Guest
Anonymous (reply to Alison Beaver)

Thank you for posting - all of you. I have just recently quit breatfeeding my son and have found myself crying every night when i get home since his last feeding a few days ago. I have had to make the decision to stop bf earlier than I had initially planned on. I feel like I'm giving up something so special, something i may never experience again. I have actually been continuing to pump some in order to hold on to that option to start up again. I miss that special time with him. It's almost like a time of meditation or retreat from the world. But in the midst of my sadness and indecision, it's so good to be reminded that bonding will continue on in other ways... I guess i haven't really been thinking that far ahead, haha- I've been so focused on the present. Anyway, thanks again for posting. I know I should be thankful for the time I've had breastfeeding and look forward to all the new experiences we have ahead!

July 2, 2009 - 8:01pm
EmpowHER Guest

Very moving. I am in the process of weaning my little girl of the breast and it is both liberating and heartbreaking all at once.

July 2, 2009 - 12:13pm
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