The end of our breastfeeding journey

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Well, it’s official. Miss Willow is officially off the boob. This is both incredibly liberating and sad at the same time.

She had her last breastfeed last week Thursday and has been going quite happily since then. I’ve also been managing quite well with only slight discomfort.

I decided to take the slow and steady route to weaning. I started by focusing on night weaning which I have written about in a separate post. Basically, we used the progressive time method and it worked like a charm. She was fully night weaned just after her birthday.

I waited out her most recent bout of teething and for her one year check up in order to get the all clear for full cream milk from her doctor. Once she was settled and my milk production had slowed I moved into phase two. I started replacing her feeds at nap time with the bottle. I know that technically she doesn’t need this, but she is very routine-driven and battle to fall asleep without the ritual of a drink before bed. So instead of rocking the boat too much I decided to go for a straight forward replacement.

I started replacing her feeds at nap time with the bottle. I know that technically she doesn’t need this, but she is very routine-driven and battle to fall asleep without the ritual of a drink before bed. So instead of rocking the boat too much I decided to go for a straight forward replacement. It works for us and I will phase out the bottle later. (also I tried a cup, but Willow refuses to drink milk from it. Apparently milk can only be drunk from a bottle…)

The replacement method worked quite well and within a week, she was drinking milk from the bottle before both of her daytime naps. I left the night feed for last. I still had some formula left so I decided that we would use formula for the night time feed until this canister is used up, then I’ll go on to cow’s milk.

I’m glad I phased out feeds slowly. It worked out better emotionally for both of us. I feel like we were both ready to stopped and neither of us experienced trauma from the experience. Willow doesn’t ask for the breast anymore and has actually become a little more cuddly with both me and her father. She has learned that you can express your love and seek comfort in different ways. We also made a point to have more quite time i.e. reading books, sitting quietly and watching cartoons, having cuddles and giving lots of hugs and kisses in the weeks leading up to and during the phasing out process.

I have experienced very little discomfort so far. Don’t get me wrong, I am still quite swollen and it’s excruciating when an exuberant toddler jumps on my breasts, but I’ve managed to avoid serious engorgement so far.

My tips for survive sore boobs after quitting breast feeding:

  1. Cold compresses – don’t dismiss the power of cold cabbage leaves. But if that doesn’t seem for you then the breast gel packs that can be warmed or cold are just as good. Stick them in the fridge then pop then in your bra when you’re feeling tender.
  2. Ibuprofen! Anti-inflammatories are your friend. Now that you’re not feeding pop a painkiller or two when you’re very sore.
  3. Wear a tight fitting bra – for me, that means a sports bra. The tightness gives extra support and goes a long way to making you feel better about life.
  4. Don’t let hot water fall directly onto your breasts – this I learned the hard way. One shower and the hot water triggered let down in a major way. I was very uncomfortable after that. Rather have a bath and don’t let the water go over your breast or keep your back to the spray in the shower until you milk production has settled down.
  5. Resist the urge to feed or pump – yes, the most effective way to relive the pain is to feed or pump, but that defeats the purpose as it will trigger your breasts to keep producing milk. If you must, rather hand express just enough to relieve the pressure, but know that this will make the process take a little longer.
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