Stopping Breastfeeding: 3 weeks on

At lunch time today, it will be exactly three weeks since Alex had his last breastfeed, at 21 months old.

We had been night weaning him for about three weeks, just cuddling him and paying him when he woke in the night, and had nearly cracked it. He was sleeping through until about 5.30/6am before needing a feed, which was great since he had been feeding every two hours up until then. He still mostly needed feeding to sleep, but on several nights in the couple of weeks before he stopped completely, he went to sleep without being fed.

We weren’t making a huge effort to wean him, as he still fed about 4-5 times a day so just didn’t seem ready, and I’d resigned myself to still breastfeeding him for a long time. We had gently been encouraging him with beakers of cows milk, which he was quite happy to drink, but on top of breastfeeds instead of replacing them.

On the Saturday, we had some friends round for the morning, and when they went he climbed on and asked for a feed, and went to sleep. As much as I wanted him to wean, if I’d known that feed would be his last, I would have made the most of it. I expected be feeding him again just a few hours later. Bedtime came – and went – without a feed. The next morning he woke up and didn’t come to me as he usually does. Before I knew it, 24 hours without a feed had passed, and it began to hit me that he was starting to wean. It wasn’t until the Monday evening that he pulled at my top, which was his way of asking. We distracted him with a beaker of milk and he forgot all about it. This happened a couple of times but not once did he get upset, and by the weekend he stopped asking.

Three weeks on, he still points and says ‘boobies’, but now tells me ‘all gone’. He drinks quite a lot of cows milk, just like Harrison. I do think keeping a pet cow in the garden would be cheaper than the four pints of milk we get through with them a day!

I’m not entirely sure how I feel about it. I thought I would be over the moon when he weaned, especially if he did it himself. I didn’t think I would feel as sad as I do though. I love not having to think carefully about everything I wear, or putting up with looks for feeding a toddler. It is also lovely to have my body back (sort of!) and to know that he could spend more than a couple of hours away from me. However, breastfeeding has been such a huge part of my life for so long now that I do miss it. Mainly I miss the cuddles – since stopping he has become a bit of a daddies boy, so comes to me less. Saying that, as I write this, he’s fast asleep snuggled up to me and probably will be all night!

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