How I Stopped Breastfeeding

April 27, 2015

Shiloh was one month here, with Mama.

Shiloh is 17 months now, and three months breast free. Officially two, because it took a month to get him off of them. Here, I will chronicle how my partner and I took our son off the magical breastmilk. It was a hard and tough experience, but we all grew so much from it.
(I am in no way claiming this is for every mother. If circumstances were different I would still be breastfeeding, and I'm glad I did it until he was 15 months.)

At around 15 months, breastfeeding was taking a toll on me. I work 9 to 5, and I also juggle date nights with my beau, girlfriend dates, and meetings. At work, for three months, I pumped and dumped every two hours- I pumped and dumped because my son did not like to drink breastmilk from bottles, he liked it right from the source! After having to come back to my desk to more work piled on, and then come home to sleepless nights-because he woke up every hour to feed; I decided for the third time, that I was going to quit breastfeeding my son.

Quitting breastfeeding took many tries, at least three, until I finally allowed myself to quit. It was hard to think we wouldn't have that bond anymore. I just kept thinking he would change with me, and dislike me. During our experience, we noticed it was hard for Shiloh to be around me if we were trying to feed him a bottle, because he would keep pointing at my breast and crying. So, my boyfriend took the job of feeding him the bottles in the night/day. It took a month, and it was so heart wrenching! I cried, Shiloh cried, and we cried together. I thank my partner for being so great and strong for us too. If we didn't have the help from the middleman, we both would still be attached at the boob. My boyfriend wasn't the only one working at this, so was I. I had to try and feed him with a bottle after two weeks of no breast, and it was hard, but I did it! He cried, but after wiggling and trying to yank my shirt off, he took the bottle. I had to stay firm and hold my tears back, if they see you cry it's harder for them to allow themselves to take the bottle of milk. I also had to change my sleeping habits for a month. I usually slept topless, because it was easier for Shiloh to take the boob without pulling on my pajamas and choking me. Shiloh couldn't see boobies for a whole month, because we were afraid if he did, he would remember what they gave him, and want to go back. My son was quite good about it though, after about three weeks, he woke up and saw me getting ready for work, and asked for his "che che" instead of the "bewbies," and I cried, but we did it! He was finally off the boob, but I was still in pain.

Now, the pain. My breast hurt for two straight weeks, or more, I was delusional. I had to sleep on the couch sometimes, because I wanted to just release the pressure and let Shiloh feed, but I had to be strong. The hardest thing is to be strong in this time, because there are so many instances when I wanted to quit because the pain was too much, and being uncomfortable at work and my co-workers seeing me scratch my breast wasn't a good look on me either.
Let me break down the breast: they are obviously engorged, for me, they itched like crazy, I was leaking all the time- thank god for breast pads!, they hurt because I thought they were going to pop, and then one day it was all gone! No more milk, no more hurting, and finally fitting into bras I had stored in the back of my cabinet.

This is my story, but every mother's chronicle on how they stopped breastfeeding could be different. I just hope that when mother's read this, they can see that it's hard to stop, but it can be done. Sometimes I think our bond isn't the same, but it is and it's better. We took 15 months to bond over my breastmilk. We had our little alone time to look into each others eyes and be one, mama and baby. Now, our bond is so much stronger then before, because those 15 months build us to this. To love each other from afar, to know exactly what he wants from simple gibberish, and to know that if "mama" ever asks for a beso or an abrazo my little boy never hesitates to give me one. He is kind, lovable, smart, and just everything I wished for, and I can say that was because our bond that formed at first feeding, and now still continues, while I feed him a bottle of chocolate milk.

Some products I used to calm the itching and peeling of my breast:

  1. Vaseline. I would just lather them up, because my areaolas were starting to crack up a bit.
  2. Cold compresses. I used to freeze some of Shiloh's bibs and then leave them on my breast for about 10 minutes.
  3. Lansinoh Disposable Nursing Pads. I had to use these a lot more during this month, because they needed to soak up the milk I wasn't using.

xo, Annie

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