Finishing Breastfeeding And It's Effects

First of all, let me just start by saying well done for breastfeeding, in whatever form that may be - direct from the booby, pumping, combi-feeding, however!

Breastfeeding has so many benefits, and that's whether you've breastfed for one feed, or well in to toddlerhood, the list is endless. However, instead of focusing on the positives to breastfeeding, I thought I'd tackle the subject of stopping breastfeeding. 

Now, before I even thought about writing this post, I had no idea that weaning from breastfeeding would even be an issue. I just thought that I would no longer offer and that would be that. Oh, how wrong I was!

Let me just clarify that our breastfeeding journey has not quite come to an end just yet. E is currently feeding once in a 24 hour period (her bedtime feed). I was in no real rush to get her off the boob but I was also aware that she didn't really need it anymore. So, I thought I'd explore the options for gently weaning from me, in a way that wasn't going to upset her.

Where did I start?

I started by putting some feelers out there on Instagram, and asking what other breastfeeding mums had done when the time had come to start weaning their kids. I'm glad I did because I've found such a lovely community of parents on Instagram, so it's nice to know that some of my parenting experiences aren't totally dissimilar to others.

Anyway, I'd put up one of those question boxes asking for people to tell me about their experiences, and the overall consensus was 'don't offer, don't refuse'. Others had also pointed out to try and drop one feed at a time, rather than going cold turkey

So, that was my plan. I wasn't going to offer E anymore, and see if she would actually ask for it herself. Now, writing this, it feels like E just knew that I was talking about this subject because she just stopped. She instantly dropped two feeds (at the time she was feeding three times a day - once in the morning, one before nap time and one before bed). This was absolutely not my intention, but it was obviously a step that E was ready for. 

If you've followed my blog, or my Instagram for some time now, then you'll know that I like to be lead by E and what she wants, rather than me pushing her to do something that she isn't ready for. So, her dropping some feeds was quite a shock to me because it was so sudden, but I'm so glad that she's done it on her own. 

What about mum?

We all know about the breastfeeding benefits to baby, but what about mum? I know it's not about me, because the purpose is to feed the baby, but breastfeeding also has so many benefits for mothers. 

When breastfeeding, the love hormone, Oxytocin, is released which in turn makes both mum and baby feel calm, safe and happy. This was a fact that I didn't really know about and certainly wasn't a reason for me wanting to breastfeed, because again if you've followed our journey, you'll know that originally, I didn't want to breastfeed. I didn't like the idea of having a baby attached to my boob all of the time, or having to feed in public. However, that quickly changed after the first feed.

Anyway, I'm going off on a tangent. I can honestly say that breastfeeding has done wonders for my mental health, which I know isn't the case for everyone. However, this is just my story. Throughout my breastfeeding journey, I have felt empowered that my body was able to continue to help nourish my baby and provide for her past pregnancy, and during feeds I definitely noticed that any anxieties that I might have been feeling seemed to disappear. 

I personally don't think I've struggled with mental health before, however what I have struggled with is my skin. Oh my goodness, my hormones make my skin go crazy. I can say that this has been greatly affected by breastfeeding coming to an end. I feel like a pubescent teenager with greasy hair and spotty skin. It's just horrendous. I'm hoping that once my body gets used to not feeding as much, or at all, that things will calm down with my hormones and I'll be back to having my normal skin, which has actually greatly improved.

Moody moods

I touched on mental health a little bit, but I thought I'd elaborate a little more. Generally, I'm a pretty positive person (or so I like to think), of course I have my moments when I think everything has just gone wrong - who doesn't? 

However, I really noticed that my moods seemed to plummet once the feeding had stopped but I didn't really put 2 + 2 together. After a big of googling, I noticed that there was definitely a correlation between a mothers moods changing and finishing breastfeeding. It really surprised me! I definitely did not expect to notice the change, especially when E was only feeding minimal amounts, for a long time. But I guess, going from feeding throughout the day (breakfast, lunch/naptime and bedtime), to then only once at bedtime was a big adjustment. 

So it's worth bearing in mind that you might become more irritable, tearful and very PMS like if you're cutting down on feeds.

The beginning of the end

Breastfeeding has been such a unique experience through motherhood, for me so far. I've loved it, despite not being keen on the idea through pregnancy. From having that first feed, just minutes after I was taken to recovery after my c-section, to now almost 2 years, just blows my mind. I'd have never have thought I'd have persevered, or even given up my body for so long. 

It has been tiring, yet so rewarding and I am bloody proud of myself!

Lots of love,


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