Mellow Mummy: The Right Time To Give Up Breastfeeding? : Taking life as it comes...

Monday 11 January 2010

The Right Time To Give Up Breastfeeding?

This week I have made the big decision to give up breastfeeding Lara. That it has coincided with my return to work was not the plan, it just kinda happened.

It has been fun – I'd highly recommend it. I'm not a breastfeeding evangelist, but I do feel that every mum who can, should give it a try. If it works for you and your baby then it's a wonderful bonding experience, considerably less labour-intensive than bottle feeding, less expensive and biologically, its the most natural way to go. I think I was one of the lucky mums to whom it came naturally; other than that first emotional week, there have been no real problems.

I breast fed Lara exclusively for 3 months and since then I have been slowly replacing the feeds with bottles in preparation for my return to work. In truth, I had hoped to start the process a little later but I found that I couldn't keep up with Lara's demands – ever since she was born, she's had an appetite to rival most adults and now she is on three full meals a day, I still find myself surprised at how much she can put away.

The plan had been to continue breastfeeding Lara first thing in the morning even after I had gone back to work. I know there are mums out there who manage to continue exclusively breastfeeding (or at least offering breast milk) once they return to work but for me, I just couldn't imagine sitting in a darkened room (in an office full of male programmers) with my breast pump. My childminder arrangement doesn't really allow for me to pop back for a quick feed several times a day. Being able to leave bottles of formula for my childminders means that I'm relaxed and can stay mellow.

Photo courtesy of 007 Breasts

For the past month or so, Lara and I had settled into a rhythm of one breast feed, two bottles and three solid meals a day. Even when Lara got her first teeth in December, we managed to carry on. But, over the last fortnight I had noticed that my little girl had begun to lose interest in her morning feed and then towards the middle of last week she developed a really evil habit! She would lift her head slightly when feeding, make eye contact with me, smile (very cheekily) and then CHOMP, right down on the nipple!

I persevered for a couple of days but then I began to recognise that cheeky grin and decided at the weekend that enough was enough! Its a difficult decision and one that only I could make. I don't feel guilty about it , perhaps just a little disappointed in myself, that I didn't manage to keep her interested. I am, however, proud that I made it this far.
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