How to wean baby off boob?
How to stop breastfeeding…
Can baby bite my nipple off?
What happens if baby bites my nipple off?
Can you die from bloody painful nipples?
So Google wasn’t entirely helpful on all of the above searches. Yet I was pleased to see that I wasn’t the first person to ever ask if it’s possible for a baby to bite off one’s nipple.
Aside from sleep issues, (which I’m an expert at crying for help over) ‘weaning off the boob‘ is probably next on the list for most sought-after advice in the world of keeping small humans alive. Even though I’ve asked, searched and pleaded with fellow sore nipple sufferers, I still don’t know the answer. Like everything else in this unpredictable job, I think it’s just another one of those wing it scenarios to see what works best for you and hope that you don’t royally lose the plot, or a nipple, in the process.
We are now at the stage where Billie is having three bottles, three meals, two snacks, water plus three small boob sessions per day. A couple of my fellow, (also in breastprate need) Mumma’s over on Instagram, asked for a few tips on how I’m tackling the Free My Boobs campaign. So in the name of being helpful and saving nipples across the land, here’s everything I’ve been doing so far as part of our Boob Weaning process.
We were doing well at the start of the year weaning her off, but a really bad bout of teething set us back and we reverted to full time breastfeeding for a month or so. As disheartening and painful as this was at times, patience and instincts have been my biggest resource at just seeing it through until we were both ready to try again with the bottle.
I’ve only pumped a handful of times since having Billie. I’m not sure if I’ve got a crap pump or my boobs just don’t like pumping. Either way, it’s a waste of time and only worth doing if I’m away from her for a long period of time and am feeling as if I’ve had a botched boob job I’m so uncomfortable.
So we had to try weaning her with formula, which she frequently turned her nose up to. We then wasted a small fortune throwing a load of discarded formula, in a range of brands, down the drain. So this is where I also gave up on weaning and thought I’d wait until she was around eleven months to start giving her cows milk, which thankfully she’s now taking.
Something that really worked for us is adding the handles to the Tommee Tippee bottles. This gave Billie the independence to feed herself. So instead of cradling her right near your boob and shoving a bottle in her face when all that she really wants is the boob, it meant that she could try out the milk on her own terms for a while. Now that she’s used to the milk and gets excited when she sees the bottle, I can now cuddle her without her kicking off and demanding the boob. It’s also meant that she can be a little more like her big sister too and gives me some extra time to, oh I don’t know, brush my teeth or pee.
One thing that breastfed babies tend to lack is routine. From my experience, little and often and whenever they sodding feel like it, is usually the way it pans out. Introducing the bottle meant that we needed more structure to meal times. We don’t stick to it rigidly, but she’s finally eating better and drinking better which is better for everyone.
A good example of her routine looks like this:
3-4am Breastfeed, to settle her/give me more sleep
6.30-7.30am Bottle 5-7oz Cow’s Milk
10am Breastfeed for nap (only if staying at home otherwise she’ll nap in the car without a feed)
2-3pm Bottle 5-7oz Cow’s Milk followed by a possible nap, who knows, I never do.
7-8pm Bedtime 4-7oz Cow’s Milk then Breastfed to sleep
Between bedtime and the early hours, her sleep is still unpredictable. She’ll demand the boob to get back to sleep. I’m too tired to argue or pace the floor, so always give in. It’s about survival after all.
Do What’s Right For You Both
I’m completely aware that every baby is different. We all have to find our own way of doing things. But I do appreciate how draining it can become. Breastfeeding, like everything else, has its amazing pros, but it’s cons are emotionally tough. You’ve fought to do this and there eventually there comes a time when you just want your boobs back. Cold turkey isn’t an easy option. Especially when you’re being used for comfort and you feel as if you’re supplying a mini Dracula with their fix. It’s bloody painful and exhausting.
At the moment I’m pretty happy with how our weaning is going. I’d ideally like to cut down on the boob sessions, but it’s a process and I know that we will get there eventually. I’m ready for the feeding to end, but I want to do it as calmly and as best for Billie as possible. After all, I’m her comfort and I wouldn’t want to take that away completely until she’s ready.
Sending love to anyone who is frantically asking Google about the future safety of their nipples. By the way, does anyone know if your nipples ever face forward again or are they destined to chat to your armpits forever now? Asking for a friend…?