Monday, 31 October 2016

When Baby Decided to Stop Breastfeeding


When my second child was born she took to breastfeeding immediately. I often think that was because I was more relaxed about the whole thing second time around. As soon as I was able to hold her after the caesarean, I put her straight to my chest and a bond was formed immediately. It was a wonderful feeling.


I knew this time around, I wanted to be in it for the long haul. On my first child I had to stop feeding at 9 months as I was returning to work. I work in an operating theatre on various shift patterns so it was impossible to even keep one feed up a day. It broke my heart. Both of us suffered and it wasn't a pleasant experience at all. This time, I wasn't returning to work so I had every intention to just keep going.

Breastfeeding Ophelia was like a dream. I was confident at it and very comfortable doing it in public. It was our 'alone' time together. Something that was just ours. Even when she started weaning on solids we were still feeding about 4 times a day. It was all going so well. 


At about 8 months she cut back on breastfeeding but was still feeding every morning and every night-time. She still used me for comfort if she was upset or unwell. I honestly couldn't have predicted what was about to come.

We'd had a very successful family photo shoot and I had decided that I'd like a couple of pictures of us breastfeeding. We were setting a date for the shoot. I couldn't wait as I hardly have any pictures of me feeding Eva and it's such a lovely thing to remember.

I can't remember the exact date that she rejected me but I remember where we were. At around 9.5 months old we were sat on one of our sofas. I had Eastenders on so I was watching that whilst getting ready to feed. I popped her to my chest and she just looked at me. I pushed her on but she swiftly pulled back and started getting a bit aggressive, hitting and pushing me away. To say I was shell shocked would be an understatement. At first I thought it was some sort of game she was playing. She would pinch me and I would try and get her to latch on. After about 10 minutes I soon realised she just didn't want to feed. So many feelings were running through my mind. As someone suffering from PND as you can imagine this did not help with my mental state. I tried to talk to my husband about it but all I could do was cry and he just brushed it off and said 'she's probably tired, she's bound to do it again,'.

I listened to him and I was hopeful which I certainly regret now as I think it would have been easier to have just carried on thinking she was done. I attempted to feed her more times that day and each time I was met with grabbing and pulling. This went on for days. I tried everything. Lots of skin to skin time, cuddles and love but she just repeatedly rejected me. I clung on to the hope for a long time. I began getting desperate. I would try and put her to my chest for weeks, just hoping that she would start up again but she wasn't having any of it. 

I really didn't know how to deal with the situation. As the mum, I always thought the decision on when to stop breastfeeding would be mine. I always thought I would be in control. I'd never heard of this happening to anyone I knew. I trawled the internet looking for something personal that I could relate to but I didn't find anything. I felt like a total utter failure. I slipped into that dark, depressive PND state again. I let the situation be worse than it was.

I can't tell you how many weeks I cried for. I was overcome with so many emotions. I blamed myself. Of course I would. I was a bad mum, it was my fault for going out with my friends one night, my fault for not paying her enough attention. 

It took another blogger saying to me, 'just think of the positives Kerry, you've fed her for 9.5 months which is great and she has made the decision to stop herself. She taken it our of your hands. She was ready,' that I realised it wasn't my fault.

It was me that wasn't ready. It was me that had the issues not Ophelia. I guess in a sense I thought that once she stopped feeding she wasn't my little baby anymore. She would be more grown up. As you know my PND has engulfed me this year and changed who I am. However, the one thing I knew I was fantastic at as a mum and something I always got right was feeding Ophelia. I didn't want that taken away from me as I knew I rocked at it. On the days when anxiety took over and I couldn't leave the house, I knew that I was still able to feed my baby and have that bond with her. I just wasn't ready.

I'm ok with it now. I can see how happy she is and that's the main thing. I'm just gutted that we never got that photoshoot. At least the memories are there.


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29 comments:

  1. Awww bless you hun, I can not even imagine but I guess for her it was time to stop breastfeeding.

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  2. Aww i can imagine how you must have felt. glad to hear though that you managed to work through it xx

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  3. It must have just been time for her I guess but I can completely understand how you must have felt with this.

    Jordanne || Thelifeofaglasgowgirl.co.uk

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  4. I can imagine how you felt. I guess she is ready to stop but I know it must have been hard for you.

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  5. I really felt for you as I read that. My second one stopped earlier than my first, although not as young as Ophelia, and it was a very sad feeling.xxx

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  6. I think you did amazingly well to breastfeed for so long. However, I can totally understand how you felt like the rug was swept from under your feet when it was Ophelia who decided enough was enough. The most important thing, and one that you know already, is that she is happy and you did everything you could to give her the best start in life!

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  7. You did amazingly to feed her for so long, I only managed about 3 months. It's really difficult when they start to all of a sudden go through that change from being dependant on you to getting that first hint of growing up. I always still love the special cuddles when bottle feeding though x

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  8. You're doing a great job at being a mom. I guess for her she just didn't want to be breastfed any more x

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  9. It is definitely baby's choice in a lot of ways, which was something i wasn't prepared for when I become a mum x

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  10. You're doing a fab job and I bet it was hard for you but I guess she was just ready to stop, bless her.

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  11. Aaawww - I didn't breast feed any of mine so didn't have to go through this. You are a wonderful Mumma! Big hugs - Kaz x

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  12. This sounds so tough and I can understand why it affected your PND. My daughter is a real daddy's girl and she often pushes me away or rejects me. It really hurts. And you do question yourself as a mum. But you are an amazing mum. And it sounds like Ophelia is a gorgeous child who decided when she was ready for the next stage in her development. That is something to be proud of. Hugs Lucy xxxx

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  13. I never realised I baby would stop of it's own accord. In a way I find it fascinating- although you obviously struggled with it. I'm keen to breastfeed baby 2, but one of the things that does worry me is if we are successful how we end the journey- again I thought it would be when I was ready, but I guess sometimes the baby does give us that choice.

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  14. I know how you feel. My eldest daughter loved breastfeeding whereas my second was more content with a bottle. It can be so devastating but equally doing what is right for your little one has to be the right thing to do. Being a mum is tough at times but it sounds like you are doing an amazing job xx

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  15. Such a shame. Must be very tough. I think though that some babies just know their own mind. x

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  16. Aww bless you, I can only imagine how you felt but look how well you have done x

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  17. I can't even imagine how you are feeling or felt. I'm just about four months and couldn't bare the thoughts of her stopping. Well done on getting to 9.5 months, that's amazing!!!

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  18. You should be proud of yourself, you managed to feed her pretty much exclusively for 9.5 months and then you got her to actively decide when she was ready to stop. That is a sign of a healthy baby.

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  19. Sounds like a difficult time, I was the other way. Neither of mine took to feeding and I felt guilty because of that. I think your friend was right though, your little one made the decision that she was ready, you did an amazing job getting to 9.5 mths! x

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  20. Being a mother of two kids I can imagine how you felt. 9.5 months are amazing and you did great job.

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  21. My first weaned herself off the breast at 11 months and i was gutted - she still is a strong-willed and independent thing!

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  22. Bless you! I had to stop feeding Evie and I was so cut up about it, but I didn't get to the stage of her choosing to stop herself, I can only imagine how much worse that must have felt. But 9.5 months is such an incredible time of bonding. You have two very gorgeous children and they are so lucky to have you as a mum. xx

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  23. Oh lovely, sounds like you've been going through a rollercoaster of emotions but have more confidence in yourself because you are doing an amazing job. 9.5 months is an accomplishment in itself...Ophelia was obviously just ready to move on to the next stage xx

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  24. Firstly well done for getting as far as you did. There are alot of mums out there who don't get near that time frame. I can understand why Ophelia taking the decision and not you would upset you. I made the decision for my son and I but regretted stopping when I did a few months later. I wish I had carried on but it was too late then. I think some of us are damned if we do and damned if we don't x

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  25. I'm sorry you had to go through it and I can imagine it really played on your emotions after suffering with PND. But your friend was right you did a marvellous thing to keep feeding until she was ready to stop and she was ready to stop sooner than some and sooner than you thought. We go through so much emotionally as parents and forget that sometimes we're a little too hard on ourselves, but at the same time we still have a right to feel how we feel. I cried for days when I stopped because I felt like I'd failed my children it make me feel sick that I couldn't carry on for them. One thing that has come from your experience is this very honest post that someone may be trawling Google for one day like you were x

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  26. It's so hard when your baby decides they are done with breastfeeding so unexpectedly like that, especially when you're really not ready to say goodbye to it. I had a similar situation with my second - one day she said "no booby Mummy" and that was that - like you I cried for days. You did so well to feed her for as long as you did though and glad to hear that you are ok about it all now. Those beautiful memories will always be there xx

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  27. My breastfeeding journeys were each so different. My first was born prematurely and I hadn't planned to BF as I was really young and felt insecure. I ended up expressing for her whilst she was in hospital but my milk dried up before she left the hospital. Then I had made the decision to BF my second for the first 6 weeks which ended up being 6 months when she just decided she didn't want to feed from me anymore. I was devastated and felt like I couldn't control my own decisions. For my third daughter, I was adamant to reach a year, but she had an undiagnosed tongue tie which meant she wasn't feeding correctly and we decided to stop at 9 weeks. then she had her tongue snipped a month later.

    This post is very good for raising awareness.

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  28. My, my, my ... children hey. They sure have a way of changing our plans and expectations, don't they. How annoying, hey. I can't even imagine your frustrations ... and the desperation and confusion you must have felt during those days. It's quite something to come to terms with, isn't it. It feels so unfair that they would decide to self-wean before we're ready ... a common motherhood pattern.

    I'm glad like other motherhood challenges, you made it through. So sorry you didn't get your photography session; but the breastfeeding memories you made remains.

    Thanks for sharing this aspect of breastfeeding that isn't talked about as much.

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