Friday, March 25, 2011

Bye Bye Breastfeeding Days

I have officially stop breastfeeding Kenan. Fourteen months and two days - that's how long it has been.

While I had looked forward to this, now that it's become a reality, I do miss having Kenan at my breasts. Before you start having funny ideas, it's the closeness that I'm referring to. I guess it's a special bond between mom and child that only nursing moms can understand.

So why did I stop? Well, because Kenan began to bite my nipples real hard. Anyway, he had cut down from three feeds to two, then to one in the past two, three months. So it was about time - it was nothing intentional on my part, Kenan just didn't seem as interested to latch anymore.

Meanwhile, I started him on formula milk. Initially, I let him drank the same brand as what he was used to having in his cereal but he refused (he didn't reject the milk when it was mixed with cereal). Then I thought perhaps the container was the problem, so I alternated between milk bottle (he hardly ever uses one anyway because I latch him 99% of the time) and magmag cup to see which one he preferred and he took some milk from both. Then my husband suggested giving him fresh milk and I did, but Kenan didn't want it. At one point, I almost gave up, thinking that I probably had to continue breastfeeding him for much longer.

Then I wondered if it could be due to the formula milk. True enough, I switched to a different brand and bingo, he started drinking formula! At the same time, I also found out that Kenan prefers to drink from a cup using a straw (just an ordinary straw).

After that, everything was ready and it was all up to Kenan to let me know when he wants to stop breastfeeding.

So when he began latching only about once a day - not because he asked for it, but that I just latched him anyway - and then he started biting my nipples very hard, I knew it was time to stop.

But it was with  mixed feelings that I say goodbye to breastfeeding days. Strangely, despite the fact that I didn't have an easy time latching Kenan, it was emotionally harder to stop breastfeeding than I had imagined.

I still remember in the early days when I started breastfeeding Kenan, I was in a lot of pain because of engorgement and blocked ducts. I even got a private lactation consultant to my place to help clear the blocked ducts. She also taught me how to latch better but even after that, it took us - mother and son, alot of 'practice' to finally get the hang of things. That was about three months later. Meanwhile, I had to contend with constant sore nipples. Even after proper latching was established, my patience was still being tested. Initially, Kenan could feed up to 30 minutes on one breast!

Thankfully, I didn't have to pump since I work from home. So that was one problem less. And when we were out, I'm happy to be the instant milk machine - it saved us the hassle of making milk when outside and most shopping malls have nursing rooms, so it was not a problem at all. I also used a nursing cover, so I practically breastfed everywhere I went.

Honestly, the thought of giving up crossed my mind so often that I'm surprised that I even persevered. What really kept me going was the desire to give my son the best, and of course, the support from my husband. He's been a great source of encouragement and I'm thankful that he is supportive of breastfeeding. The same can't be said of my mom-in-law. I wished that she didn't think it was a bad idea. But I guess during her time, most people gave formula milk and it wasn't common for moms to breastfeed, and when she was taking care of her eldest grandson, he was also on formula. So to her, that was good as it was convenient for her. So if you intend to breastfeed, make sure you have at least someone who is super supportive of you doing it. Or else, when faced with all the initial challenges, you might just give up.

Now that I have stopped breastfeeding, I sometimes wonder if that will make Kenan and I any less close. I know it might be a silly thought but I do worry about it. I guess I will have to work on building the bond with him in other ways.

Anyway, one thing I'm happy about is to be able to put away the nursing bras and nursing tops! Think I have fallen into some kind of a fashion rut after wearing nursing tops for so long. I can now indulge in some retail therapy and get my wardrobe together again. Anyone wanna join me on a shopping trip?


angie jo said...

I totally feel you my friend. I'm definitely a breastfeeding mum! It was actually harder to wean me than isabelle!

Ruth said...

Angie, you have 'warned' me about it but I didn't believe... until it was my turn and then I understood what you meant. Yes, weaning can be an emotional challenge for some moms!

Martine said...

Hi, Ruth!

I am still breastfeeding my 16-month old son, and I must admit, I think I will find it very hard to stop! I am anticipating the wave of emotions that will overcome me, when the time comes.

I love breastfeeding. Like you, I fought for it (My story is here: And I am glad I was (and still am!) able to BF my son. So far, we have had a good relationship, i.e. not biting!

I love your blog, by the way. Am following you via Google Connect.

FYI, I grew up in Singapore! Went to United World College for five years, when our family was there in the 1990s (We lived in Hong Kong since I was a child). Long time ago! I love Singapore, and it will always be my second home.

Ruth said...

Hi Martine, thanks for sharing your story! It really reminded me of those early days of breastfeeding and the pain I had to endure. But it's all worth it ya? Your son is blessed because you have persevered even though it was tough.

Thanks too for your encouraging words :)I've added your blog to my blogroll and will be following you!

pc said...

hi. first time here:), attracted by the title and hence enquire... how did you make the little one less interest on latching on...

my girl is 13 mths. she sees me as if there is a big bottle of milk walking around and hence eager and whine for the boobs. i could not see any sign of weaning. i know, i know... should take it easy, but just wondering if there is a way to expedite the process:).

just wondering...

Ruth said...

Hi PC, thanks for visiting :) When it comes to weaning, I guess each child is different. Mine wasn't very interested in breastfeeding after he was about 12 months old so I took the cue from him. I cut down one feed at a time, starting with the very first morning feed (he didn't ask for it, so I didn't give). But I understand that sometimes a child wants to breastfeed not so much because she wants the milk but for comfort and security, so needs to see what's the case with your girl. And is your girl taking solids well? If not, then that's another thing to work on before weaning her off. I know of someone who's daughter refuses to take solids so she's still taking just FM and she's over 2 years old. The Dr has to prescribe her with vitamins.

To help answer your question, I found some pretty good articles about weaning, hope it's of help:

pc said...

hi again,

thanks for the reply and the shared link. probably i should take baby steps... im aware that every baby is different... i guess i was tired to be the bottle.

but hey, i did make some progress by weaning her night feeding since 2 weeks ago... good thing is that, she is taking solid well.

cheers to breastfeeding!

thanks again for sharing:).

Ruth said...

Hi PC, thanks for dropping by again! Hope you find the links useful. Weaning the night feeds is a good start :) Anyway, you might just miss breastfeeding when she's totally weaned off.. coz i do miss it sometimes!


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