I had been breastfeeding my daughter for 1 year 9 months and 17 days. That’s 656 days. After I went back to work I usually only nursed her once a day when I came home. This was the moment we both had been looking forward to. Just sitting down quietly, not doing anything else. Sometimes it was quick, sometimes she took a good 15 min. On the weekend she would breastfeed more often.
Sometimes people would tell me she’s too old to be breastfed or some other nonsense like that. However there is increasing evidence that breastfeeding beyond 1 year is also beneficial to the health of the child and possibly even the mother. For example some studies suggest that breastfeeding can protect from childhood leukemia and lymphoma.
But when we went out of town or went on a holiday I felt like she was nursing non-stop. When-ever she was hungry, when she needed comforting or when she just needed to make sure mom was around. She might come over while I was having a conversation and climb on my lap and casually pull my boob out of the comfort of my bra and take a sip and then continue with what-ever she was doing. It was like I had no say in it.
We were in Finland on well-deserved summer vacation and I finally felt like I was ready to stop. I felt like she might be ready too. I didn’t really overthink it. I nursed her normally in the morning and we were warm and cozy in the bed and that was when I decided that was it. It was a wonderful last nursing session for us.
The first day she asked to nurse a few times, like when she got hurt or around nap time when she was tired. She got a little upset when I said no, but she settled quite quickly. Whenever she asked to nurse I would just firmly but lovingly tell her no and give her some kind of distraction. I have to admit that we let her watch videos on iPad during this transition period. Sometimes mom’s got to do what mom’s got to do to survive. She was already used to taking a bottle before bed, which she had been doing for about 6 months now .
After two days she only asked for it in the morning and on the 4th day not even that. It breaks my heart a little. I feel like I’m not needed as much anymore. My boobs on the other hand were on fire. They were engorged and sore! But I read somewhere not to touch them or try to express milk. I used cabbage leaves to help reduce the milk production. The cool cabbage leaves also felt nice on my sore breasts.
But then again I feel more loved than ever! Now she comes to me for a sweet hug or a cuddle and she stays in my arms until we have both absorbed all the love we have to give.
Here are my few tips
Do it gradually. Reduce the number of nursings a day to 1 before you stop.
Ask for help. When your baby cries it might be easier for someone to take her to a different room. My daughter was very demanding and she is strong and doesn’t like to take no for an answer, so she would keep pulling on my shirt until I got her distracted or “removed”.
Offer distraction. Songs, games, iPad, TV, Toys, Playdough, etc. All offer a great distraction.
Offer lots of cuddles and kisses to make up for the time you would spend close to on another if you were still nursing.
Offer something to eat or drink. Maybe your child is just hungry or thirsty.