Both times around, stopping breastfeeding was one of the hardest things I did. While breastfeeding in itself was extremely difficult, it had so many perks, and created a priceless bonding experience. Stopping, however, was just that – stopping. Disclosure: this post contains affiliate links.
Disclaimer: I am not a doctor, or a lactation consultant – just a fellow mom sharing personal experiences. I am not giving medical advice, or telling you the practical aspects, such as how to stop your milk from coming, deal with the pain, etc. This post is about dealing with the emotional angle of stopping breastfeeding.
I was the one who had a hard time transitioning…
There are a few reasons I found stopping breastfeeding so difficult:
- It gave me a chance to stop in my busy day and connect with both my baby and my toddler (who’d sit next to us and chat).
- It allowed ME to have a small break to catch my breath
- My dietary needs changed overnight, making all my good habit building good for nothing…
As much as I had struggled to breastfeed, and as much as I told myself that every day I breastfed my baby I gave him liquid gold, I still felt like a failure. We are our own worst critics, and I felt really bad that I didn’t make it to the “one year mark” that was the minimum time frame I thought I’d wait before weaning.
How to make stopping breastfeeding a more pleasant experience:
You lost your naturally-scheduled breaks – time to schedule some on your own!! By schedule, I mean literally set a timer every 3 hours to just sit down for ten minutes, read a magazine, drink a cup o’ Joe…
This is one of my biggest challenges in motherhood – to forgive my self-perceived shortcomings. Honestly, we expect nothing better than perfection from ourselves, but perfection is not a human trait.
Knowing that you did your best should always be enough, and knowing that you chose what was right for your family should override any peer expectations.
Find ways to bond:
One of my favorite new ways to bond with M is by taking walks. I also read him more books now, and we chat about the story afterwards… There’s nothing quite like getting philosophical with a three-year-old.
With Baby Y, we bond over bottles! I try to give him one bottle a day personally (as opposed to letting him hold them himself).
Allow yourself a “buffer time”:
One of my biggest mistakes was expecting my diet to just continue on the same 1lb/week weight loss trend. It really discouraged me and set me back. However, allowing myself an “adjustment period” where I expect to gain weight while I rework which foods my body wants me to eat now, allows me to have realistic expectations.
I’m slowly relearning how to eat leaner foods as opposed to the fatty super foods I ate while breastfeeding.
Talk about it with your spouse:
It’s really important to have a sounding board when you’re frustrated. I found that airing my frustrations with my husband included him in this journey and brought us closer – in addition to helping me get through it.
Do something for yourself:
I’m going to repeat it again and again… Mamas, do something selfish. If you don’t care for yourself, who will? Buy yourself an “I made it this far breastfeeding” splurge. Take a coloring break. Schedule a coffee date with a friends (you won’t need to worry about needing to breastfeed in middle ever again…)
As mothers, we can take things very much to heart, and stopping breastfeeding is no different. Know that you’re not alone in your journey – and that you did amazing breastfeeding for as long as you did. Remember: the main thing is a fed baby, not breast or bottle.
What were your main challenges with stopping breastfeeding? How did you overcome them? Comment below!