Getting through sudden weaning from breastfeeding. My experience and tips

To start with my experience I was very satisfied mom in breastfeeding until my daughter was 1 year and 3 months old. Real struggle started after that. My daughter’s nutritional attachment has become more of emotional attachment and she started asking for milk all the time, which made me frustrated and exhausted.

I was all alone in Germany without family support and husband worked full-time and he could support only in evenings so, no distraction for her to stop asking for milk. I somehow slowly started reducing my breastfeeding sessions in daytime. I gone through all the articles related to weaning and everything seemed to be simple and experience of others weaning their kids seemed to be natural and easy. I know everyone’s experience is different, for some it’s easy and some it’s a struggle.

In my case, the struggle was real once I tried to reduce feeding in night-time. It was terrible when she started feeding more in night-time than before which lead me sleep deprivation. I couldn’t bear and as I didn’t have family support here, I decided to fly to India and finally stopped my breastfeeding cold turkey with the help of my mom and sister. I didn’t feel emotionally bad or depressed but more relieved and happy mama. It took only one week and she was all okay and happy. When I asked her whether she wants some milk and she just said no mommy and went, which surprised me!!!

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Take a look at some tips from my experience:

Wear a support bra. My first and foremost suggestions for moms who decided to wean is to choose a bra which supports your breast and not too tight. If you choose to wear tight bra thinking it will stop your milk production like me, then will definitely lead to clogged breast. Being bra less once you have engorged breast is also not a good idea.

Relieve engorged breast. Remove a little milk when you feel your breast are too much engorged. Too much pumping or hand expression of milk will make your body to continue producing even more milk.

Use only cold compress. I made a huge mistake by using hot packs on my breast which gave a short time relaxation but lead to more pain. Thankfully I didn’t use for longer. Later when I consulted doctor, he told hot packs will lead to severe damage in ducts. Cold cabbage leaves and ice packs relieve the inflammation and pain of swollen engorged breasts. It will even help to reduce the milk production. The product that I mentioned below is a life saver for me. These pads can be used both warm and cold and the cooling method helped a lot to ease the pain.

Plan to stay home for few days. Your breasts are definitely going to leak and the discomfort from the swollen breasts will make you highly uncomfortable so, just plan to stay home for few days.

Ibuprofen, Tylenol or Advil for help. There are some chances of getting fever so, keep meds in case. For me more than fever I suffered a lot from neck and shoulder pain due to my breasts engorgement.

Seek family or friends support. Seeking family help is the best thing happened to me. Your toddler will be totally distracted instead of clinging to you and crying. And most importantly, support with the house work will reduce the burden from your shoulders.

Reduce the physical touch. It doesn’t mean you have to avoid your child. Having too much cuddling time will lead to your child asking for milk. So, do some activities like coloring or puzzle instead of hugging and kissing.

Don’t skip eating. I was so scared to eat as I thought it’s going to make me produce more milk and ended up being hungry and frustrated along with the breasts pain. So, don’t starve. Better to avoid non vegetarian foods.

I weaned my daughter when she was around 2 years old, she was a toddler so, it is easier for me (technically my family) to distract and family support made me less stressful. Weaning from breastfeeding is not same for everyone especially with small babies. Going cold turkey will affect them as well as you from emotional depression so, consult your pediatrician before weaning.

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Hello new moms! Squash your worries and grab some happiness!!

Let me tell a short story of mine. When I had my daughter 3 years ago, I thought my life has flipped upside down. I struggled from everything like mood swings, depression, loneliness, breastfeeding, cooking with baby, sleepless nights, felt useless and constant disagreement with partner. Totally unmotivated mom I could say. I felt heavy due to the demands placed on my shoulders each and every day. Even though, my husband helped me a lot in household chores, I felt some burden in me. I wanted someone to motivate me. Major stress built around me. The feelings I experienced was overwhelming and new, as I live away from family and friends it became more stressful.

As a new mom, I was constantly seeking answers in google. I googled the most ridiculous things. If people judge my parenting I started responding and felt guilt about my parenting. It continued for a year and finally my mind started changing when I started discussing with fellow moms through mommy groups and forums and read blogs about the struggles of other new moms and how they overcome it (in-between my ridiculous search in google, I even searched something good 😁).

I saw my child and hubby less happier with me. Then I realised something is wrong with me and not with them. I was constantly searching for happiness in life, whereas I totally forgot that I am not giving happiness. Happiness comes only when you share it with others. Happy mom makes happy family. I understood that and I started focus on building optimism, self-motivation and happiness which spread to my family. My daughter become more happier when she saw me happy. I saw my body in a more positive way. I realised how strong I am to do things that might have been daunting before. I would like to give some tips on how I made myself and my family happy.

Be real and not dramatic. Being grown in Indian household I was always taught that kids, husband and the house should be the first priority which I followed spiritually and ended up in stress.

  • Stop focusing on being a good mom or wife and focus on you (yes I mean your soul), being good only to others won’t make you good internally, it means you are cheating yourself.
  • If you expect your house to be always clean and your kids to always well behaved then you going to face stress and unhappiness.
  • Be realistic both doesn’t gonna be perfect. Sacrificing doesn’t going to work. At least for me. I know some may disagree with me.

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Give your precious time. The true happiness comes when you give time both for your kids and for yourself. It’s ok to take time for yourself to enjoy your interests. Enjoying doesn’t mean partying or clubbing in midnight. The tiny things in life will give more happiness if you do it whole heartedly. Say it from painting your nails, pedicure, makeup, reading a book, cook your favourite, peaceful work, a new haircut etc.. these things refreshes you and that will make you a better mom for real.

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Make a happylist. I know as a new mom, you have a huge list of things be done. But let the to do list turn to would like to do list. Make your work fun.

E.g., To do list

  •  Clean the kitchen
  • Do exercise
  • Cook lunch
  • Clean bathroom

Would like to do

  • Clean the kitchen and get some cuddle with my baby
  • Dance in your kitchen
  • Cook lunch and take a pic and post in instagram.
  • Clean bathroom and do pedicure.

Embrace your post-baby body. Try not to compare your post-baby body to others. Comparing yourself to others will lead to negative thoughts. Focus instead on your body needs. Wear outfits that are comfortable and also make you feel confident. Use positive affirmations like “I love my body”, “I accept the way my body looks”, “ I am grateful for allowing my body to grow and give birth to my child”.

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Do easy exercises at home. Doing exercise is the best thing to make you feel better and improve your body image. As a busy new mom you may not find time to workout for hours or go to gym. Instead, try fitting in quick and easy exercises at home while baby is napping. Even a little time spent in excercise will make you feel more positive about your body. You will definitely feel more energy and happiness.

Pat on your back. Self-confidence is really important for new moms. Boost your self confidence regularly by appreciating each and every work you do such as mothering skills you learn everyday or your ability to simply get through the day with a new born. Give yourself a pat on your back when you accomplish some work as a new parent, this can help to increase your confidence level. Acknowledge yourself for your hard work raising a child.

Appreciate others. Appreciate others will make you feel good internally and also gives priority to you and others. Appreciate wholeheartedly every little thing which makes you happy. When you begin to appreciate it keep you away from dwelling on the negative. This attitude in you will definitely instill in your kids with a way of seeing the world that appreciate the good things. Your kids will carry this throughout their life.

Be thankful. If you believe in God then thank him for the precious blessing! Thank God for our mind to help mold, our body to nurture and our spirit to enrich. Be thankful for your body, try to see your body as better, not worse.

If you follow these things then for sure you doesn’t need any external factor to motivate you. Happiness is within you. Happiness is something you create and are uniquely responsible for. Search happiness in you, it will reward you with priority as I did. Believe you are beautiful and hold your head high.

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