When Edith was born I had every intention of breastfeeding – I wasn’t successful with Reuben, but I was with Toby and I really felt like I wanted to do it again. I intended to feed her and wait until she self weaned, after all, Toby did at 11months, but Edith – WELL, she took her time. From the moment I started breatfeeding, there was a baby and then toddler latched onto my nips morning, noon and night like some kind of boob crazed addict in need of the next hit. The girl could be relentless. We managed to knock her feeds down to night time and bed time only around 2 years old and then we ﬁnally ﬁnished breastfeeding completely when Adam and I went away for two nights to Manchester 2 months before her third birthday.
I thought it was about time I shared with you all the things that I’ve noticed since I stopped breastfeeding, and before you read on I want to clarify a couple of things for you – this is not to persuade you one way or another. I am very much a ﬁrm believer in feeding your baby however you choose is what is best for everyone – me, you, your baby, your NCT Aunt Sheila who has that opinion on what you’re doing all the fucking time, the cashier at the supermarket who scowls when you buys formula or the other customers in the cafe who frown as you get out the nip (even when you can’t see a fecking thing because a whopping great head is in the way)… yeah, it’s better for ALL of you feed your baby YOUR way, as long as you feed em, who really gives a shit right?
I also want to clarify that some of you may read this and say “well that’s bollocks, I didn’t feel that way” and that, my loves, is ﬁne. In the same way I don’t give a hoot what you do with your baby and your boobies, I am fully aware that my experience may not be yours. We’re diﬀerent humans, therefore we notice diﬀerent things and experience diﬀerent things. I’m not trying to convince you here, just share my own experiences, kapeesh?
So now that’s clariﬁed here are some of the things I have discovered after stopping breastfeeding.
1.) I have gained WEIGHT.
I am laying the blame for this sudden weight gain at the feet of my decision to stop breastfeeding. Admittedly, it could also be lain at the doorstep of the local Cantonese or the biscuit cupboard, but I have noticed a rather dramatic and sudden increase in weight and I’ll be frank, my diet is no better or worse, it’s not been great since I had Edith. The other thing I’ve noticed is that I can’t LOSE the weight as fast. It packs itself on and then clings there like someone has painted me in no more nails and then shoved some fat on my arms. It’s horrible and I really do think that breastfeeding a toddler helped me keep weight oﬀ – it 100% didn’t make me lose it, not with Edith or Toby, so that is a myth for me.
2.) Edith sleeps better now she’s not feeding.
Yup. She’s not waking up to latch herself onto a nork at 2.24am like some deranged raccoon in search of fodder, she wakes up occasionally and either comes into bed with me (where she will try to initiate conversations – about interesting things like her belly button or her Num noms) or she will simply go back to sleep. I ﬁnd that since we stopped breastfeeding she sleeps the night through until 6ish most days of the week. I have a theory as to why this is and it’s numero three…
3.) Edith eats better now she’s not feeding.
Yup. She’s not as fussy, sometimes when she’s downright hungry, she’ll even consider a vegetable. I know. We’re pushing the boat OUT. All joking apart, now Edith can’t just pass up grub and grab a tit, she’s eating so. Much. Better. She’s still picky, she’s still hard work – I think that is just Edith, but I’m not throwing myself onto a chez lounge and having a panic attack because she’s only eaten half a strand of spaghetti in 2 days. Side note: we don’t currently have a chez lounge. Goals.
4.) I’m sleeping better and less run down.
I am, I really found that breastfeeding was a drain on me, and as someone who isn’t the best at looking after themselves all the time, I found that I would allow myself to get run down and then she would take the best of me in terms of immunity and energy. I realise she isn’t *actually* taking MY immunity in that sense but it is a tiring thing to do and I ﬁnd that I am less run down now than I was then.
5.) I miss it.
I do. As much as I moaned about it (no, it’s ﬁne, I know I moaned) I do miss it. I miss watching her look up at me with such trust and adoration. I miss holding her as she falls asleep against my chest. I miss kissing the tendrils of her hair as she feeds and I miss having that instant “make it all better tool” when she’s upset. I really do miss it.
And there, dear friends, you have it. Some wonderful and not so wonderful things came from breastfeeding and the same have come from stopping. Breastfeeding was a highlight of my motherhood with Edith, a true highlight.