Breastfeeding Pains ~ My IdeaLife

Tuesday 12 April 2011

Breastfeeding Pains

“There is nothing sadder than finding yourself overwhelmingly homesick for a place which
doesn’t exist anymore”

@The Bloggess
Twitter, April 10, 2011

I've been planning to wean my nearly seven month old for a few weeks now and keep putting it off. The sterilising, finding the right size teat, creating cool boiled water, knowing the formula tastes like wet cardboard, were thoughts that kept him quickly and simply shoved on the boob.

Last night, suddenly and without warning he refused to nurse. He pushed me away and screamed from around 10.30pm on and off for four hours, as I desperately tried to feed what I perceived was a hungry baby. Eventually at 3am and with lots of rocking he calmed enough to pass out and I promptly followed suit.

At 7am I thought 'he’s been twelve hours without a feed he’ll be starving and he’ll have a great feed'. No such luck, my literally painful situation was not going to be relieved by him, no way, no how. So an hour later he gulps down 240mls of formula no problem. With only moments to spare I hook myself up to the milking machine. Spontaneously explosion averted I relax for a second until my toddler wanders over and points at the rhythmic whirring thingy, 'mama w'dhat?' he giggles, 'Max' turn'. Hubby reading the situation redirects his attentions elsewhere and with one hand on the pump and the other on the phone I call the doctor.

On the way to the doctor I have visions ranging from a simple sore throat or a tooth to a rare digestive disorder. I also have that hope that seems to always get dashed, that maybe, just maybe a member of the medical profession will know what is going on and be able to solve it. No such luck, they can't find the reason and just say it may be this or that but he looks healthy so relax.

Whatever the reason I’m struggling to cope with this on only three hours sleep. Not withstanding the pain cold turkey weaning causes, I was emotionally shocked by the rejection and sudden change in how my baby’s existence was going to be sustained. I found myself listening to the voices in my head – plenty of babies survive on formula, I had formula, but maybe that explains everything? what about that study on brain size, am I stunting his potential? Would I have been the amazing successful form of me if I had been breastfed? what about how fat formula makes babies, will I make him obese? what about viruses? he’ll probably get sick all the time; no matter I’ll keep trying him on the breast and we can go back to plan A: a nice slow and steady progression to the bottle when I'm ready.

These thoughts were all very interesting but completely irrelevant as whatever plans I had, the little guy had his own ideas. Albeit less neurotically informed, they were no less determined in their desired outcome: no boob thank you.

So I sat staring at him (rather than Twitter for iPhone), as he guzzled down his fourth huge bottle in twenty-four hours and tears filled my eyes. All the conflicting arguments and old wives tales faded in light of the sadness that my, most likely last, little baby had just taken a big step away from me towards his independence. I know it’s so tiny compared to what I am to expect in the future, but it’s a hint of the pain I’m sure I’ll feel at those larger milestones (I imagine instead of quiet tears at those points their maybe louder whaling-type goings on).

My sadness is amplified as I’ve been wishing the time away, complaining about the sleep-deprivation and my lack of time to myself. I know I will feel some relief when I get used to the idea but for now I lament that it is the end of an era. The unexplainable feeling of growing your baby with your body alone, is now just a memory. Such a quick moment in time, now gone forever.

I’ve been adamant for about a year that I would only ever have two children. But now for the first time I understand all my friends who just keep getting pregnant. Who wouldn't want to stop time and relive a beautiful memory? 

All I know is that now I am a Mum to two beautiful boys - time is my best friend and my worst enemy. There are days I long for my baby to be a toddler and then there are days like today where I would sell my soul to stop time and hold my bub in my arms forever. 


  1. husband of one...Tue Apr 12, 08:32:00 pm

    there are some people that would like to recommend against stopping time and reliving the apparent beautiful memory...if that is okay.

  2. I know how you feel. I couldn't produce enough milk to satisfy my son's voracious appetite so I, too, weaned him at 7 months. I had very similar anxiety and reservations. I miss that closeness we had and sometimes long for the newborn days again. But, I'm finding joy in the things he is doing now. Great post!!

  3. thanks for sharing this post! every step seems to be so challenging as they grow up... suddenly they don't need us for so many things. but if you think about it, your little one still needs you for the most important things. So even if he's not nursing anymore, you're still the best and most special person in his life and that's something that likely never to change. In your eyes he'll always be your baby and I think that's ok!

  4. Thanks LaurDoone and Mina. Feel a bit like a two-legged donkey at the moment so nice to hear you both went through it too!


  5. Oh, this post just tugged at my heart. From one mom to another, I know how you feel. Breastfeeding was the most precious thing I could do for my children, bonding with them, feeling close to them, staring into their trusting eyes. It was such an amazing experience. And yes there were days when the exhaustion was more than I could handle and I would think, maybe I'll switch to bottles today. It's never an easy decision and sometimes our children make the decision for us. While I don't have the answers that are right for you, just know that I'm praying for you, for God to speak to your heart, to comfort you, to encourage you, and to show you the next beautiful moment He has in store for you.

    Thanks for sharing something so personal and meaningful.


  6. Rosann your comment brought a tear to my eye - thank you for your compassion. Since I wrote this the little guy has started to refuse the bottle as well and I am a bit beside myself so your words and thoughts are very appreciated. Off to the doctors for the third time this week tomorrow so hoping we can find out why he won't drink soon!

    Nicole x

  7. Truly enjoy reading your Blog. Being a mother is a true blessing. My child is already a teen and while he brings new challenges, those moments stay so close to my heart. I found your Blog on Bloggy Moms and will continue to follow your journeys!
    Blessing to you,

  8. Beautiful post. I'm a first time visitor, and now a new follower. Thank you!

    I'm Rachel, by the way! Stopping in from the April Blog Hop! Hope you'll come visit me at and @upperbottom.

    Cheers and happy spring!!

  9. Thanks very much Melissa, with so many talented bloggers out there it is always very flattering to hear when someone enjoys your work - am off to check out yours now. Would love to hear what I have to look forward to as my boys grow!

    Cu online,

  10. I have breastfed both my boys, my youngest is 2 and hopefully weaning. It's sad as they grow up, but then you have a new chapter of their lives to look forward to! Great blog, I'm your newest follower. If you want to visit me at and @wvmommy11.

  11. It's a bittersweet time, isn't it? I'm not breastfeeding my little one anymore, and am 99% sure we won't have any more kids. Part of me looks forward to the new chapter this will open in my life, and part of me mourns it.

  12. It certainly is, some days I am really relieved and others it just represents how fast time is passing which makes me melancholy. But today I'm determined to be just happy they are healthy and happy and try not to think of anything else! Harder than it sounds.


  13. Thank you for sharing, my friends have all asked when I am going to stop breastfeeding my six-month-old and the very thought makes me want to cry. I dread the physical discomfort but am also not eager to give up that special time and privilege that only a mother can provide.

  14. Hi Katie
    Thanks for the comment, I know it is hard to decide when to transition. My second bub weaned about 5 weeks ago and it's amazing how you adapt - I still feel a little sad but my mind is already finding the idea of breastfeeding surreal, I'm forgetting already what it was like which is really weird. The brain is interesting. Good luck - for what it's worth I think the best time to stop is when you or your child decide.



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