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Just Like That.. I Am Mummy Cow No More…

Three nights ago, at the grand old age of 14 months and 16 days old, Meimei officially graduated from The School Of Breastfed Babies. *emo*

I have been wanting to wean her for a few months, but didn’t know how to go about it as she refused to take the bottle or drink any other milk. Wasn’t keen on imposing any ‘strong-armed’ method since there was actually no urgent reason for me to wean, other than vanity and convenience.

Thought that I might be breastfeeding Meimei till she’s three years old…? Maybe I would finally have the heart to refuse her then… But recently she has been drinking a lot of non-mummy milk, often pointing to the milk and nodding her head at me. ‘mum mum mum mum mum’ – babyspeak for eating. OK, no more worries about nutrient consumption then. (By now, I don’t think breast milk is significantly better than formula / fresh milk.)

But what about her sleep routine? Though she has been going to bed awake after nursing for many months, perhaps she is used to nursing as a cue for sleep? Hmm, I tried cutting out the feed before naptime, and it was a non-issue – she has a bottle in her high chair, then I carry her and tell her it’s time to sleep, give her some water, and she KO within five minutes after I put her in her cot.

Then finally, I decided to try going without nursing at night too. Was expecting some sort of drama… but… zilch. Nothing.

So, this is it. I am officially no longer a breastfeeding mother. Well done, mummy, for the total of 34.5 months of breastfeeding three children. A journey which started with a lot of tears and pain, and ends now in pride and satisfaction.

Gotta reward myself, of course. I give myself a deadline of ten days to buy new non-nursing bras (of which I have none now, other than sports bras). YAY!

still a bit emo. but i shall not ponder on it
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Why I Breastfed for 10 Months

See, all the experts recommend at least six months of total breastfeeding, right?

So that was what I decided to do – a minimum of six months, then see how.

Since I was a stay-at-home-mother of one then, I offered to do all the feedings so that my husband could have proper sleep at night. Since I was with the baby all the time and was doing all the feedings, I latched him everytime and didn’t use bottle at all. Aka laziness efficiency.

That meant my six-month-old bundle of stubbornness joy did not like the bottle at all when I tried bottle-feeding. No bottle = no formula milk. Babies start to drink with a straw from about eight months old, and are quite competent at it by about ten months old.

Thus, I could stop breastfeeding at ten months. Why I did stop:

Firstly, I was getting quite tired of being a cow. I wanted to wear regular clothes instead of nursing tops/bras.

Secondly, I wanted to start trying for a second child so that the age gap would be about 1.5 years.

Thirdly, I believe the recommendation of a minimum of six months – as in, six months would be ENOUGH. I do not know why, but I guess it’s something like the law of marginal utility. More than six months would probably still be good, and likely better than stopping at six months, but it’s good enough for me.

Thankfully both boys did not object to weaning at all. It was quite easy for me as they seemed to have lost interest in drinking breast milk anyway. Actually, they were not that keen on formula milk either then, and I guess I would have continued breastfeeding them if they had wanted my milk. But they didn’t. PHEW.

But actually, now that I think about it, I had never felt it was die-die must breastfeed, or breastmilk was the ultimate best for babies, or my children must drink breastmilk, etc. It was more like, OK since that was the recommendation, why not. It was not easy at the beginning… I endured very painful engorgement and sore cracking bleeding nipples… and frankly speaking, nobody around me would dare to criticise me for giving up breastfeeding. Urmm, then why so stubborn?? Err, it’s a personality issue lah – already decided so I MUST stick to it! Yay, my tolerance for pain and torture was fuelled by my stubbornness! Not by my maternal love! OOPS!

After more than four years of motherhood, I have seen so many babies grow up healthily on formula milk. (The business of feeding babies was of course going on merrily before I became a mother, but it never ever crossed my mind to think about what babies were drinking.) My children, who were on total breastfeeding for ten months, also have their fair share of fevers and coughs and flus. Kor Kor is tall and skinny, Didi is chubbier – same milk factory, different results!

Not that I am discouraging mothers from breastfeeding. I support breastfeeding and encourage mothers to breastfeed. After all, there gotta be some reason why all the experts make this recommendation, right? But but but, there is no need to stress about it! It is already challenging enough coping with a new baby and a new lifestyle, and maybe post-childbirth pains &/or recovery issues. I believe mummy knows best – if you want to stop breastfeeding, don’t worry about damaging your baby’s health. Happy mummy = happy baby. Really, ask my kids if you don’t believe me. Ask my hubby too :p

If you do want to continue breastfeeding but are having difficulties, I think the best source of support is fellow mummies, especially those who already have successful breastfeeding experience. If your baby is still in your womb, find those mummies now! Have a group of mummies whom you can call or text at wee hours when you need advice.

(Expert advice is well and good, but not so accessible. And… well, when I was in hospital after giving birth to Didi, the lactation consultation looked at me feeding baby and tried to correct the way I was holding the baby.. or something. When I was in hospital after giving birth to Meimei, the lactation consultant told me the baby’s latch wasn’t correct.. or something. Can’t remember lah. Because I was thinking, hello I already breastfed my older kid(s) for ten months each and they grew up healthily what. I am sure the consultants meant well, just to illustrate that not all well-meaning advice is useful. Again, mummy knows best. If you have questions, do seek advice from the professionals as well as other mummies. You are the one who feel the baby’s suckling on your breast, you are the one who feels the milk flowing. If you feel that things are going well, do be selective in following other people’s advice.)

Have I forgotten about Meimei? She is 11 months and 5 days old now, so why isn’t she included in my 10-months-of-breastfeeding story???

Sleep-drinking

Sleep-drinking at 2 weeks old

SIGH.

I tried to wean her but… maybe it’s because she’s my last baby and I don’t have to worry about or plan for the next baby… maybe it’s because she’s a girl and I just can’t bear to let her be upset… maybe I will still be breastfeeding her when she is four years old… Argh…

But you don’t have to wait for three years to read about my a 48-month breastfeeding marathon. MadPsychMum is hosting a blog train of 24 mothers who breastfed/are breastfeeding their children for various lengths of time. Click on the button below to read all our stories!

The next mum on this blog train is Joey from Joey Craftworkz.
blogtrainjoey
Joey is a stay-at-home-mum with two lovely daughters (Big E and Small E). She enjoys sharing sewing, quilting, scrapbooking and integration of crafts into her children’s life on her blog at http://joeycraftworkz.blogspot.com. As for her breastfeeding journey, she will be sharing her “once-upon-a-full-time-working-mum” vs “stay-at-home-mum” stories.
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