Everyone talks about how good breastfeeding is but no one talks about how hard it is to stop

To all the mamas who want to stop breastfeeding but are afraid, you can do it.

Psalm 30:5 Weeping may endure for a night but joy cometh in the morning.

I decided to stop breastfeeding, and mamas, it was difficult. The whole household was affected, it was painful physically and heartbreaking emotionally.

I spoke to a lot of moms and did a lot of research on this topic. A lot of moms wanting to stop are afraid, afraid of their partners not being supportive and afraid of the tears that come with it. My opinion on this is that a happy mom equals a happy child, we as mothers give so much to our kids that sometimes we forget to give to ourselves, it is so important to feed ourselves mentally and spiritually so that we can keep on growing as parents and evolving. Breastfeeding is an amazing beautiful miraculous gift and a blessing; I always say this and if you can breastfeed, please do.

Everyone talks about how good breastfeeding is for you but no one talks about how hard it is to stop and this is what my post is about.

I am a big breastfeeding advocate; I think it is amazing that we can give our kids exactly what they need. I breastfed Eli for sixteen months, he is healthy and above average height and weight and I am thankful that I could breastfeed for this long but now I am ready to stop and I believe Eli is too.

I woke up one morning and decided today is the day I want to make a little effort and this is how it all started. We are in lockdown due to Covid so we don’t go out or see anyone, so I have been living in my pajamas but this morning I decided I wanted to make some effort. I chose a dress and put some make up on, I looked in the mirror and my heart broke, I just didn’t look like myself anymore; I have lost so much weight breastfeeding and I just looked old and tired.

I have wanted to stop breastfeeding for months, I just never had the courage to go ahead with it and my husband also wanted me to continue breastfeeding for as long as possible due to all the benefits for the baby.

Breastfeeding is tiring and draining. This is my journey; I chose to stop cold turkey.

Night 1

I knew my husband would cave at the first scream that came from Eli, so I moved us into the guest room, I was afraid but determined to stop, I felt ready and I knew Eli was too. My husband was not happy I was stopping but I needed to stop and I decided to stand by my decision against all odds.

I watched a video that a friend sent me awhile back of a mother covering her nipples with a black face mask and showing it to her baby saying her nipples are sore to help the baby not want to breastfeed, she did this and it worked, so yes I did the same. I went to the bathroom and covered my nipples with a black face mask, Eli wanted to drink and I showed it to him and said no it’s sore. He screamed and kicked and scratched and cried for twenty minutes until he fell asleep. He slept for ten minutes and kicked and screamed and cried for another twenty minutes and fell asleep. I made sure I had a water bottle and milk bottle available for him, showing him at all times in case he was thirsty. We spent most of the night awake, to be honest, crying, but we made it till morning. I got about four hours sleep but when I woke up I felt more alive than ever. I was happy and proud of myself, the first night was over, and we did it.

Day 1

I woke up with Eli’s favourite breast being tripled in size, my breast was so engorged that it looked like it was going to burst, it felt like someone had filled it with cement and the cement was getting hard and it was just so painful and heavy. I wanted to cry and scream and scratch my nails into a wall but as a mom we don’t have time for this so we just keep going. I googled remedies and asked around and it seemed that the most talked about remedy was cabbage leaves, putting cold cabbage leaves against your breasts. So this is exactly what I did, I filled my bra with cold cabbage leaves even though its winter and I’m freezing. The cabbage leaves helped a lot, the cold helped with the pain so much. The cabbage smelled so bad in my bra, but for the pain relief I was getting it was worth it.

Eli was very needy today and quiet, wanting to be carried everywhere and just loved, which is exactly what I did; I gave him all my attention and cuddles. He asked for my breast a few times but I just kept showing him that it was sore and even though he can’t speak, it’s like he understood as he would look and just carry on with whatever he was doing, no tears, nothing. I knew the day would not be a problem; it was the night feeds he was attached too. Eli used my breasts to sleep and this is my fault; he has no idea how to sleep without drinking from my breast. My advice to all moms is to not allow your baby to use your breast to fall asleep while breastfeeding.

The night is coming and I am feeling nervous and anxious, I hope he will be okay and I hope I will be able to endure the screams; I am trying to be optimistic but I’m honestly afraid.

My breasts are engorged, anything touches it and I want to cry out in pain, it is sensitive and tender, like a bomb waiting to explode.

Night 2

Eli slept a lot longer and only woke up twice, whenever he asked for my breast, I told him its sore and he would calm down like he understood. I realised that he is not crying for breast, he is crying for comfort and because he actually does not know how to fall asleep without breastfeeding. I offered him his water and milk bottle and he had a few sips of each. I had to sing and rock him to sleep.

My breasts are so engorged and painful and my anxiety is shooting through the roof even though Eli slept, I didn’t, I couldn’t.

Day 2

I woke up in so much pain; my breasts were just so tender. My husband did some research and he suggested that I maybe pump a little milk to help relieve the pain. I checked with the nurse from the breastfeeding clinic and she agreed; she advised me to take a tablet called Destinox to help dry up the milk. She also advised that I hand pump a little bit for relief but not use a breast pump. My husband seeing the results and that Eli is okay and coping well has him finally being onboard with it all and even saying he is happy that I stopped.

I hand pumped and this helped so much, my left breast went down in size a lot thereafter, thank goodness and my pain eased up a bit.

I shared every bit of my experience with this on Instagram and I received so much support from other moms, some even thanking me for giving them the courage to also stop. This helped me not quit and I thank each one of them for that.

Eli did not ask for milk at all today, he just cried a lot when he was tired as he seemed to be confused as to what to do when his asleep. I just sang and rocked him to sleep.

I also am wearing baggy clothes and making sure my chest is covered at all times, everything I wear goes up to my neck.

Night 3

This night has improved so much. We decided to spend our night back in our room with Dad. My husband and I put Eli in his co sleeper next to us with the iPad and some toys and his water and milk bottle. He seemed a lot happier this night, just climbing onto our bed to give us kisses and then back into his co sleeper to play.

My husband got Eli this growth milk for one year olds to three year olds by Parmalat which tastes a lot like breast milk, this has been a huge hit with Eli and for the first time before bed he finished his milk bottle instead of his water bottle.

He came to me and cried a bit but not for milk just because he was tired, I sang and rocked him to sleep. He woke up a few times crying but did not ask for breast milk.

I hand pumped a little bit and this helped ease my breast pain.            

Day 3

Eli woke up really angry today and difficult. His voice was a bit husky so I believe all the screaming has hurt his throat and I also see that a few of his molars are pushing through so he is in a bit of pain. I gave him some honey and yogurt and even some ginger tea with honey.

The afternoon he fell asleep by himself for the first time without me having to sing or rock him to sleep. I put on his favourite baby word learningYouTube channel called Rock and Learn and I covered him with a blanket next to me and he fell asleep two minutes into the video. I joined him and we took a two-hour nap.

The evening I rubbed lavender calming baby oil on him after his bath, filled the humidifier with lavender oil and put Olbas oil on his t-shirt and mine. I honestly love Olbas oil; I really believe it protects the children in winter and that it has a calming effect.

My breasts are also feeling a lot better.

Night 4

Eli fell asleep again by himself which was so heart-warming to see. He only woke up once and threw a huge tantrum but not for milk as he didn’t ask for any.

Day 4

Eli woke up at five am ready to start his day and he brought a huge appetite with him. At seven am he had scrambled eggs and ham for breakfast and then he saw me eating musli and yogurt for my breakfast with honey, so I gave him some  and then a hour later he wanted a cereal bar and then for lunch he had frikadel and cheese with a milk bottle. I was blown away by his appetite but I encouraged it as I believed his body was adjusting to life without breast milk. I decided to increase his food intake and always offer snacks in between and feed him more times a day.

My breasts started aching again and I got really depressed and sad as I thought they were getting better; the pain was again becoming unbearable. I was about to put cabbage in my bra when my husband reminded me that when I was pregnant he bought me these breast ice packs made for moments like these, he put these in the freezer for me and oh my, was this a game changer! The pain subsided so much.

The next few nights I just kept putting them into the freezer and into my bra. This really helped a lot. I felt my breasts leak a lot throughout the day but ijust kept wearing these pads.

Eli has completely stopped asking for breast milk and he is happy with his bottle; I still cover up my chest when I’m around him completely. On night seven, Eli completely slept through the night for the first time ever, it made me realise that he wasn’t waking up because he was thirsty, he was waking up for comfort.

My breasts are still tender but the pain is mostly gone to the point I am not needing the ice packs anymore.

To the moms who are afraid to stop, if I can do it, you can too and so can your baby.

Sending lots of love and hugs, you got this mama!


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