Sunday, 3 July 2011

The end of an era..stopping breast feeding.

It was slightly ironic that I made the decision last week during National Breastfeeding Week, to stop breastfeeding. It wasn't a decision I made lightly, in fact I had always assumed there would come a time when I wanted to stop but that didn't really happen. I decided to stop breastfeeding, after Elvis used his new teeth to bite my nipple to the point where it bled heavily, then before this could recover, he attacked the other side. I was in so much pain that I couldn't see how I could continue, and after using my breast pump to manually express for a few days I made the decision to stop..
But how do you stop? It might sound silly, but I found there are few resources on what to do when you want to stop breast feeding? I had masses of milk, and found myself leaking everywhere, the only advice I found was to not express and not drink as much..neither were terribly helpful to me!
After two days of walking about with canon balls instead of breasts, I decided I had to express, the relief was tremendous! The following day by the evening I was just as heavily laden, so I expressed once more on the left side which was causing me terrible discomfort. I vowed that was it, I needed to struggle through now!
Weeding the garden the following day led to a comment from my neighbour asking why I didn't get tablets to dry the milk up? (she asked this as my t-shirt was soaking around the breast area and I clearly appeared oblivious to the fact I was appearing in the rural equivalent of a wet t-shirt contest). I really didn't want anything from the Dr's to dry the milk up, after the problems i had encountered with Boo (when my milk dried up without explanation very early on)so I smiled and replied 'Yes maybe!'.
Elvis hated me putting him to bed, he wanted to be breast fed and the sight of a bottle made his face scrunch up and tears ran  down his cheeks. Normally he is so cheerful, I sat wondering why I was torturing him (and myself!) maybe I should continue?! The voice of reason spoke out, Mr G reminded me that I had to stop at some point and as I had started the process I should continue. It sounds silly but a little part of me resented him saying that, I almost wanted him to say 'Gosh Darling, you must continue until Elvis is at least 12months old' I suddenly felt..redundant? Seeing my eyes drop to the floor, and well with tears, Mr G swung an arm around me and said 'Let me put him to bed while you jump in the bath'
Of course Elvis settled straight away with Mr G, and while I lay in the bath a sense of relief came over me, and I knew that I wasn't doing anything wrong by stopping breast-feeding at 5 1/2 months. 
Elvis is doing well and is happily taking a bottle of formula. 11 days on, I am still carrying alot of breast milk but it is reducing and I've not expressed since day 3, I wonder when it will totally dry up?
The only advice I have is keep wearing a supportive nursing bra, does anyone else have any tips on what to do when you decide to stop breastfeeding?