Emilia and me didn’t have the best start to breastfeeding so I never though I’d still be feeding her when she was 2 years old. The first few weeks were really tough, and so many times I felt like giving up but I’m so glad I managed to continue. I know it often isn’t the case.
Emilia was always a little milk monster but my initial plan was only breastfeeding for 6 months.
I was then planning to switch to formula when we weaned her onto solids I just found breastfeeding so easy at this point though and didn’t feel the need to switch. It was convenient and free, babies can be so expensive can’t they. It probably wasn’t until Emilia was around 18 months that I started to feel like the end was near.
I had always fed Emilia on demand, she didn’t really have a pattern to her feeds. and I found myself frustrated when she still seemed to want to feed all the time. I am a great believer that breastfeeding is a two way relationship, it has to work for both baby and Mum and by this point it wasn’t working for me. I didn’t however want to force her to stop cold turkey, and chose to take a longer gentler approach.
I began by limiting her feeds and getting us into a bit of a routine with feeds. I used a lot of distraction techniques, tried not to sit in the place where we fed most of home, and offered her a cup of milk or a snack when she requested milk from me. This didn’t always work but quite quickly we got down to just 2 feeds. One first thing in the morning, and another just after her nap. I felt happier and we continued for a little while with these 2 feeds.
The 2 feeds we were left with were pretty deep rooted in her routine.
She asked for milk the minute she woke so I thought these would be a bit more upsetting for Emilia. I decided to try to get rid of the after nap one first, and offered her a cup of milk and her favourite snack when she woke up. I was surprised actually and she adjusted quickly. We had a couple of days where she cried and I felt awful, but lots of cuddles and we made it through.
I still loved our morning wake up feed, we had cuddles in bed and it allowed us all the extra time to come round. I actually carried this on until past her second birthday, when one day I just decided to stop. I think being pregnant with my second had made the feeding a little more uncomfortable so it felt like the right time. I had tried to reduce the feed time but this just ended up in frustration for both of us.
When Emilia woke we just took her straight downstairs for breakfast and the change of routine made the process really easy. She took to it with no problems and it wasn’t long before we were back to enjoying some morning cuddles in bed before getting up. Emilia is so affectionate so we still have the closeness we had with feeding. We have lots more kisses and cuddles, she gives the best hugs.
I did feel incredibly guilty for wanting to stop breastfeeding, even though I did it for over 2 years.
I don’t think it is likely to ever be an easy decision but as with all things parenting making sure Mum is happy as well is so important. I know I made the right decision with stopping when I did, it was definitely the right time for us.