After two years it was time to stop for my well being. I wanted to continue for longer but an intuitive tug kept hinting there might be a connection between breastfeeding and my emotional volatility. My GP confirmed a long held suspicion that I had a sensitivity to the hormone progesterone, the levels of which remain raised through out breastfeeding. A sensitivity can affect mood swings and depression.
I genuinely felt sombre about stopping. I adored the tenderness of our breastfeeding relationship. Still it was now time to focus on my needs. I felt reassured in the knowledge that I'd thoroughly done my bit for Little A.
So, if you are interested, I wanted to share with you how we did it.
Since Christmas I had whittled down her feeds to the big three; when she awoke in the morning, at nap time and before her bedtime story. She used to snack mid morning and afternoon but I just ceased these comforts and distracted her with cuddles, books, toys and Cbeebies. She grizzled at first but after a couple of days accepted the new state of affairs.
In preparation I reminded Little A on a daily basis that baby milk was going to finish. Her "why mummy" was met with "because you are a big girl now and baby milk is for little babies". And to her credit Little A clearly understood and accepted the propaganda I was drilling into her angelic mind. It almost felt like I was subjugating Little A to the prolonged modus operandi of a redundancy ...
Dear Little A,
After a considered review we have to restructure mummy's milking assets. Therefore, unfortunately, the position of breastfeeding beneficiary has become untenable. This letter serves as formal written notice that baby milk is to be phased out over the coming month..
We will endeavour to help you find other suitable sources of comfort and advise contact details for relevant agencies in due course. We would like to take the time to thank you for your loyalty and devotion to your role.
Any outstanding milk will be provided in a complimentary beaker.
Yours *MR Department.
Importantly, I realised that if I was going to take something absolutely cherished away from Little A, I needed to offer her something in return. So with this is mind my WMW, weapons of mass weaning, relied on two cunning means;
|Stickers, sticker book and a new jazzy plate for yummies|
|New 'out of focus' big girls beaker|
|Some familiar friends|
The morning feed was the first to go since its not associated with falling asleep. Upon waking the aim was to extract Little A from her cot and plant her in my bed. Then after kindly informing her that baby milk is all gone, distract her with homemade banana muffins, 'big girls milk' in a beaker, stickers and sticker book, and cuddles en mass. Then the plan was to leave it for a week before dropping the next feed.
The nap time feed was the next to cease. Again, after advising Little A that mummy milk has disappeared into oblivion, offer her stories, cuddles and milk in the big girls beaker. Then wait another week for the finale.
The bedtime feed was the last to conclude. The aim was to commence the bedtime routine that bit earlier to accommodate any screaming and flailing limbs. Again I was going to distract her with lots of stories, big girls milk, and remain with her, if this was required, until she fell asleep.
On the third day after dropping each feed I decided to reward Little A with an In the Night Garden figure to congratulate her on her weaning graduation.
I planned for the worst expecting numerous seismic tantrums. But it turned out that Little A was more ready than I had anticipated. She totally and utterly surprised me. The stormy waters turned out to be mine. Days before our weaning mission began I felt both tearful and rather apprehensive.
Little A suckled for longer than she normally would during her last morning feed whilst we enjoyed a wonderful snuggle in bed. The night before I reminded her that baby milk was finishing the following morning. The next day as I entered her bedroom Little A sheepishly asked "can I have some baby milk mummy". "Do you remember what I said last night," I replied, and then scooped her out of her cot, carried her into the lounge and sat her on the sofa. I reminded her that baby milk was all gone and then distracted her with the alternative perks on offer. And she accepted them. She whined a little and then ploughed into her stickers. I couldn't believe it. No crying. Nothing. But Little A was shrewd, "baby milk at nap time and bedtime''. "Ah, yes" I reassuringly answered.
So over the duration of that week I cautioned Little A that nap time milk was going to end. Little A had her one and only tantrum which lasted all of four minutes on the day this feed terminated. Red faced and wagging her finger at me she rebuffed the new books I proffered with "that's not working mummy". I couldn't believe that my two year old had wised up to my methods of bribery. But it was wasn't long before Little A acquiesced and asked excitedly for her new stories.
Silent grief filled tears rolled down my cheeks whilst Little A enjoyed her final bedtime feed. This was it. The very last one. I quietly murmured, "I've loved every minute of breastfeeding you my little darling but tomorrow night baby milk is going to end". The following evening Little A began frantically tugging at my jumper upon hearing those dreaded words that mummy milk was no more. She tightly scrunched her face and was about to let out a voluminous wail when I produced some new bedtime reads and an additional Gruffalo toy from behind a cushion. Little A's eyes immediately brightened as she grabbed her new possessions, and then completely forgot about her milk. And hasn't asked for it since.
And just like that we were done. Weaned.
My energy levels are noticeably increasing and thankfully Younger Dad is now able to put Little A to bed. I'm praying to the heavens my breasts will reduce after all this. I never used to be an H cup.
Freedom and new bras beckon.