The End of Our Breastfeeding Journey at 18 Months…

I don’t remember our last feed.

Although I’m pretty sure that our breastfeeding journey ended at around 18 months.

It’s probably a good thing that I don’t actually remember the last feed though, as by this point I was beyond ready to stop breastfeeding.

With every latch, I was wincing and looking so cheesed off you’d think that you’d think I was experiencing a bodged nipple piercing.

It wasn’t pleasant and I really wanted my boobs back.

I Wanted My Boobs Back 

Billie was no longer using me for feeds. It was all comfort. And this Mumma was so over being used as a human dummy. So I’d already started taking a few steps to try and ease her off the boob from about thirteen months old. By this point, she had a few pesky teeth through which were already causing me angst. Weaning her properly onto food was still a bit of a struggle too as she would quite happily hold out for the boob. So we knew that it was time to start easing her away from the boob, now or I worried I’d still be feeding her by the time she went on her first date.

I remember how frustrating and draining the whole thing could be towards the end. Which pretty much sums up the whole breastfeeding experience. You spend so blooming long getting the hang of it, then before you know, you want your boobs back and your little life barnacle has grown rather attached it.

The prospect of weaning them off the boob isn’t something you take lightly. Wherever you’re at in your feeding journey, you have become their main source of comfort and substance. You’ve become so attached to one another, that trying to cut them off feels almost as if you’ve got to cut that cord all over again. It ain’t easy.

Two Steps Forward And Ten Back

We took several steps to begin our weaning process.

From introducing new routines, encouraging independence and milk alternatives, all of which you can read more about here in this post. We’d often take two steps forward and then Billie would get a bug or have a bout of teething which would set us back again ten steps. So patience, perseverance and gin, were a definite must during this process. Eventually, we reached the final stages of ending our breastfeeding journey, so I thought I’d share the last few steps we took to get to this point.

Ending Our Breastfeeding Journey 

Replacing The Comfort Aspect

Over time we found ourselves only feeding for comfort before bed.

This would sometimes last an hour where our feeding times became another excuse to not go to sleep. So I knew this needed to stop. I was frustrated and it wasn’t helping Billie to learn how to settle without me attached to my boob. Plus my nipples were becoming really sore.

So we introduced a super soft muslin which she had held onto during the feeds. Then when she took a break from the boob, I’d put the muslin between us to discourage her from latching on. Again this is a process we would repeat it several times until she eventually fell asleep. It’s something that we did gradually over the course of several months in an attempt to wean her off.

She Can Sleep Without Me 

It wouldn’t always be me that soothed Billie to sleep. Sometimes my mum or my sister would do it to give me a break if they were here or she was with them for a sleepover. The Hubster would also get her to sleep when he wasn’t working. So I knew that was able and absolutely fine to go to sleep without me and the boob.

Learning to Self Settle Without the Boob

Once we managed to decrease our bedtime feed using the muslin and rocking her to sleep, it was time to ease her away from the comfort of the boob completely.

We would feed Billie her bottle whilst reading a story. Then settle down together next to her cot where we would rock her for a little bit then place her gently down in her cot. By this point, she was pretty much off the boob. So it was just a case of becoming familiar with a new ritual before bedtime.

Again this was a process we both had to learn and ease into gently. To this day, we are still sitting close by her until she falls asleep.

Billie, like her sister, is a terrible sleeper. We can’t predict when she’ll wake in the evenings, but when she does we will repeat the above steps. Either settling her back into her cot or into our bed depending on how knackered we are.

I’ll Always Be Her Comfort 

We might have ended our breastfeeding journey, but Billie hasn’t quite let go of the boob. She’ll often be found with one hand down my top just holding onto it for safekeeping. She also has this really cute way of saying “boobie” and nuzzling in as if to say I miss them. Random. But very cute. I don’t feel as if she was cut off from them. I know that we weaned gently and consciously and that it was the right time for both of us.

I’ll always be so proud of how far we came with our breastfeeding experience. For all the hard times, it was amazing, magical and oh so accessible in equal measures.

If you’re struggling with breastfeeding check out my other posts related to each stage here or visit some other lovely Mumma’s who have shared their experiences and tips such as Martha’s Happily Ever After, Jill from A Baby on Board and Polly from Enchanted Pixie.

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