Updated: Nov 8, 2018
After countless requests I've decided to share our experience of weaning Tigs off the boob, please remember I am no expert I'm just sharing what we did and how it worked for us.
Our breast-feeding journey didn’t start off all that well, Tiggy was born with tongue tie which made those first few weeks extremely painful to say the least. At two weeks old we had a private appointment to have her tongue snipped it was offered by the NHS, but the wait was quite long in our area and it was really making us both miserable, so I wanted to get it sorted asap so not as to taint those early memories. The process was over in seconds she didn’t even cry! Within three days we were well into the swing of things and feeding had gone from being something I dreaded to a lovely cuddly feed.
The more children I’ve had the faster time seems to go I’m starting to question whether someone’s meddling with the system....... months flew by and my routine of grabbing the baby and taking myself out of the house (boobs in tow) was just too easy to think about changing, no bottles or formula to remember it was bliss. But before I knew the questions started rolling in are you still feeding her? When will you stop? How much longer? I think people started asking at around six months which seems crazy, if I were feeding her a bottle would people ask when I was going to take it away? Anyway, that’s not the point of this post I did continue to feed and right up until she was one it was an amazing experience that worked for us.
When Tiggy hit one it all became a bit more intense, she wanted to be fed more and she woke more in the night, more times than I could count. She had never taken a bottle not from want of trying she just wouldn’t. If I went away she wouldn’t take anything, she’s a strong-willed little character. As she grew bigger I was more aware of feeding her out and about something that had never bothered me before. By the time she was 18 months the cosy cuddly feeds had gone out of the window and I felt like an over milked dairy cow that had had enough. I wasn’t really feeding her half the time, she was basically using me as a human dummy I couldn’t sit down in her eye sight without her squabbling up onto my lap and rummaging for the boob.
At the beginning of October, myself and Josh decided it was getting ridiculous no one was getting any sleep it wasn’t just affecting me but Josh to, and the other children had grumpy tired parents far too often it was time to stop. I had tried a couple of times before, but they had been half arsed attempts when I wasn’t that bothered about it which brings me to my most important top tip, wait until you’re ready…
1- Wait until your ready
You have to be completely dedicated to the course there’s no point in trying to stop if you’re not 100% ready, even if other people tell you it’s time only you really know! For me I knew I was ready as after 18 months I wasn’t enjoying it anymore I wanted to remember it as a nice experience and finish on a high.
2- Team work makes the dream work
This is not a one-man job for the first three nights I slept in a different room and Josh dealt with her. Josh also had to do bedtime for around a week, basically he covered the times she would be wanting a feed the most. We started on a Friday knowing he would be about for the first few days to intervene if she got really upset.
3- Take time out and be kind to yourself
It’s not going to be easy, plan it for when you don’t have much on, so you don’t feel overwhelmed. That first week I did zero work I had one job and that was not to give in and to keep Tiggy and myself smiling.
By the Monday Josh was back at work I found keeping her busy was the best distraction lots of walks in the pram often little jaunts around the shops or road trips in the car. Basically, anything that didn’t involve to much sitting on my lap or being held as that is when she would automatically go in for a feed.
This part was hard as I genuinely felt like I missed her even though I was still with her all the time.
Plan what’s replacing the boob? and once you’ve decided stick to it chopping and changing won’t help anyone. We decided to put Tiggy onto a bottle (which she’d never taken before) and formula, lots of people have asked why not cow’s milk and the only reason is we had such a bad experience with Dots moving onto cow’s milk and getting constipated I think it scarred me ha-ha. Also, isn’t formula supposed to taste the most like breast milk?
Tiggy took it all so well the first few days were the hardest, the second night when Josh put her to bed I sat and cried she wasn’t even crying I think it was a little bit of hormones from not feeding (I forgot to mention that part, think those first few days with a new born when your all over the place yeah I was right back there fun times) a little bit of me felt like I missed her silly I know but I’d gone from being attached to her at all times to not even being able to cuddle her and a little bit of me just felt so proud of her that she was taking it so well, don’t get me wrong there were moments of tears but she took her first bottle on the first night at about 12pm and I think she just knew that was it. But in under a week I’d say around five days she was into a new routine and the cuddles were well and truly back and possibly even better as now I know it’s just for a cuddle and not to be fed.
So that’s it, that’s what worked for us which doesn’t necessarily mean it will work for you. I mean my ideal would have been her slowly just giving it up but that was never going to happen that girl was an addict!! A boob addict…a nice little anecdote to share with her on her eighteenth birthday perhaps.
For months just, the thought of giving up filled me with dread at how hard it would be but now we’ve done it and it wasn’t too bad at all. Now we are all a lot less sleep deprived and feeding feels like a long time ago when it has only been three weeks.
If there is something I haven’t covered, or you have a question feel free to drop me an email or you can find lots of help over at the National Breast-Feeding Helpline which I have linked below.