Ok, so I definitely wanted to get something written about this before time flies! I’m already 25 weeks pregnant and haven’t breastfed Eric in around 2 months so things are already moving so quickly.
I still can’t believe I breastfed him for over 3 years and I’m convinced that if I didn’t get pregnant I would still be breastfeeding him.
I’ve had lots of questions about it so I thought I’d clear those up and tell you a bit about how it happened, my thoughts on it and how it has affected things in general.
I breastfed Eric exclusively from birth until we introduced food at around 6 months. But he had no interest and didn’t really eat until he was over 1 year old. He continued not to be much of an eater and still got most of his nutrition from breastfeeding until he was about 2 years old!
Breastfeeding Eric has always been demanding. From day one it was hard work and nothing like I expected. We had issues with latch, sore/bleeding nipples, tongue tie, cluster feeding and I nearly gave up. I’m not even going to lie to you now. It was horrible and the hardest thing I have ever done.
However I was really determined and didn’t want to give up. Whilst I was pregnant I knew I wanted to breastfeed and I was so passionate about it. I literally had dreams about breastfeeding my baby and wanted to create that natural bond. I thought (and still do now) that breastfeeding was the most beautiful and most natural thing to do after baby was born and I couldn’t wait to do that with mine.
So despite all the issues and using nipple shields for a while, we got through it and I breastfed him until I was 16 weeks pregnant… which was roughly back in October.
I didn’t wean him and although I did have thoughts when I got pregnant about it, I honestly was just going go through the pregnancy feeding him and assumed that I would most likely end up tandem feeding. Eric was still very much breastfed even though he ate food, etc., He loved breastfeeding, still breastfed in the night (yawn) and would always breastfed for comfort. He breastfed when he was tired, scared, overwhelmed, anxious, stressed or upset. And so it just became so normal to me to always offer and have him at the boob so often. I didn’t expect any changes, especially as we were still bed sharing as usual and nothing else had changed.
However when I was around 12 weeks pregnant I noticed he was feeding less. I didn’t think it was because I was pregnant; the actual breastfeeding him felt no different at all, I just assumed he was busy and beginning to naturally grow out of it. A few nights, though, he fell asleep without breastfeeding for the first time in his life and I was so shocked!! I hadn’t even tried to wean him or stop him from feeding, he was laid right next to me and just fell asleep. At first I thought it was a fluke!
Then the feeds got less and less… I still offered as usual and it didn’t cross my mind not to offer. After 3 years it was second nature to me to breastfeed him to sleep, or when he was crying, or when we cuddled, etc., as that’s all I’ve known with him. But he started not to latch on and instead have his dummy… which was just strange. In the past he’d never done that and always wanted the boob over the dummy. I could guarantee that he wouldn’t settle for the dummy, ever.
I was around 14 weeks pregnant and feeds got less and less. Still, because it was so gradual and I guess so natural; I didn’t really realise or think he was stopping breastfeeding. It wasn’t until when he did latch, he started to mess around… not latch on, giggle, twiddle instead of actually latching on. It was annoying and at this point I started to feel really touched out, too. I asked him what he was doing and if he was going to feed, to feed, and not mess around because it was really uncomfortable. He told me, “it’s not working” :O
I was horrified! I couldn’t believe it haha and he was so honest about it. I asked him what he meant and if milk was coming out and he said no, came off and jumped down off me, that was it…
I was thinking surely not… how can that just happen like that… he’s always breastfed and he’s sooooo booby in that sense… that’s really strange. Part of me thought it was just that day or it tasted funny or something. Part of me was thinking, wow, that could be it… just like that and it’s over. Part of me was relieved and part of me was in shock to be honest, it was so sudden and I didn’t ever expect breastfeeding to end like that.
And that was it. He latched on a few times after he told me that but pulled off pretty much after 5 minutes and said there was no milk. I was dry nursing him a few times. But then he started not latching on at all if I offered… I felt kinda silly getting the boob out as he clearly wasn’t interested so stopping offering.
After that happened… well, that was it. He never did latch back on. I’m now 25 weeks pregnant and breastfed since. It’s so strange. After 3 years of breastfeeding him it still is very weird to me. Imagine doing something all day, every day for 3 years and then you just don’t anymore. It’s been strange.
Was I happy about it? Yes, I guess. I mean I was never… sad or angry because it was his choice and for that reason, I was really happy. I always worried about how breastfeeding would end and I even used to say to Ollie “after all this time and a lovely relationship I really hope it doesn’t end in tears”. So I couldn’t ask for anything more, really, as it was such a natural ending.
I was a little bit sad, I think that’s natural. It was like the end of an era, lol. My body had to adjust to the different hormones and the lack of oxytocin I was getting now that I didn’t breastfeed him. Sometimes I missed cuddling and him latching on and having a feed with his eyes looking up at me. But I miss him as a baby, I miss what he was like last month and last week; they grow so fast, I feel like I’m always going to miss him, in a way.
At times, I felt embarrassed for what had happened. I was concerned why it had happened and why the milk had just gone like that. But just realised I was being paranoid and it’s perfectly normal to stop producing breastmilk in early pregnancy. It doesn’t mean I wasn’t breastfeeding ‘right’ or didn’t breastfeeding enough or whatever else. There is no right or wrong to breastfeeding a toddler and I shouldn’t be judged for anything.
People have told me that he might latch back on once the baby comes and my milk comes back in again. I have no idea, I couldn’t tell you. I’ve talked to Eric about it but he has no interest, he says the baby is going to have mummy’s booby and breastfeed, etc., etc., I’ve asked him if he would breastfeed as well but he said no.
So we’ll just have to see. Personally, I am done with our relationship… I’m happy it ended in such a nice way and I am proud for how long I breastfed him. Especially after all our struggles. I have no regrets, I hold my head up high for what I’ve done. I hope he doesn’t have an interest in tandem feeding just because that part of my life, breastfeeding him, is over… and I feel it would cause some issues relationship-wise, but… I’ve always been natural when it comes to breastfeeding so if he did, I’m not sure I would refuse him. We’ll just have to see how things go but deep down, I honestly think he has done for good.
Here’s a video I posted on Facebook about breastfeeding for 3 years:
I’m looking forward to breastfeeding another child but must admit I’m scared, too. It wasn’t easy with Eric and that fills me a little with dread, knowing how hard it can be.
But I’m more informed, more prepared and ready to take any problems on board… whereas last time I had no idea. So hopefully that will help. I’ve heard breastfeeding the second time is much different and can even be easier, so fingers crossed that’s true for me. I just hope my boobs don’t forget what to do as it will have been about 6 months since breastfeeding! 😛
Did you breastfeed your toddler and how did it end? Did you feed throughout pregnancy or did it stop naturally, like me? I’d love to know so leave a comment down below. Thank you for reading. <3