Thanks so much for your lovely, supportive comments on last week’s post, Danielle’s honesty really touched a lot of you. This week we’re hearing from Become Mum regarding how she dealt with an extremely difficult decision.
I had to stop breastfeeding. It was six o’clock and we had just finished the first feed of the day. My mum said, ‘well, if you need the medication then you have to stop’. I agreed reluctantly. The single dose of Risperidone was working, but I was still having trouble sleeping, and controlling my toxic thoughts. And so that was the final time I breastfed my son, on January 2nd 2016 at six o’clock.
I am still lactating, however my supply has reduced dramatically in the last two weeks. It has been a process that has required family support, and my new friends @Mummymidwife2be and @honestmumma on Twitter. Seriously, without my network on Twitter I think I would be a caved mess right now of mastitis and serious depression that no amount of mindfulness or medication could have helped me with.
I have suggested five tips for physical wellbeing, however there are also some emotion suggestions; the ways to help ensure that you, your baby and your family are safe, healthy and relatively happy during this time of abrupt transition. Because to wean suddenly, as in to go from a full breastfeeding relationship to zero breastfeeding contact in the space of one feed, is going to cause some emotional trauma for everyone involved.
Although the decision to stop seemed abrupt, it had been two weeks since I had began the medication. You can continue to breastfeed on most medications, however anti-psychotics are one of the few classes in which breastfeeding is not recommended. The risks outweigh the benefits. I had been prescribed Risperidone to ‘get me over the holiday period’ where so many services close for two or more weeks in Australia. My doctor had diagnosed me with severe postnatal depression with a psychotic episode. Yup, I was crazy. And so this medication was vital in stopping the intrusive thoughts that were wracking my being. And at five and half months postpartum it was time to put my health first. Although really, my health should have been first all the way along, because without a healthy mumma, you ain’t got a healthy bubba (sorry for the Aussie slang).
After the six o’clock feed my mum- whom I was staying with for two weeks due to the new medication side effects- took Master X so that I could pump. She topped him up with a bottle of formula (I think he only took about 20 milliliters) and so it began. I expressed every feed and in between for comfort, if required. My mother and sister provided my son with lots of cuddles and physical contact. My body was missing him and I believe that he was also upset from the sudden cessation. He stopped smiling. He stopped laughing. And he even stopped looking for me. I isolated myself from him for the first week, seemingly unintentional. I only realised it much later when my husband Mr. A came to get us. My breasts were still producing milk and leaking every time that I went close to Master X, however the engorgement had subsided. It was week two.
Whilst my body was overtly grieving for the end of the relationship, my mind was jumbled, trying to grasp at the light that the medication had provided before I was plunged, once again into dark grief. I recall the second night, weeping into my pillow, drenching the bed sheets with my salty tears, wondering why this had to be so cruel. After about an hour, the tears ceased long enough for me to realise that it was almost midnight, and that I was hungry and needed the bathroom. As I emerged from the guest room, my sister came out of hers and asked me if I was okay. She held me while I cried, made me some warm milk and toast, and listened whilst I grieved for the relationship. This happened on multiple occasions throughout the first week.
Emotional support for the baby, family and mother are vital in sudden cessation of breastfeeding for any reasons. The avenues in which you find this type of support vary. Your baby will need physical support so it is important to try and have close friends and/or family around to help reduce the isolation from mum because of her swollen, sore bosom. Mum also requires intensive support through physical help with family tasks like feeding and caring for bub, as well as emotional support. The hormone changes from sudden cessation also play as a factor. My hair began to fall out and I desperately missed the release of oxytocin from feeding.
I had to be around family for the safety of myself and Master X, however my online friends were also very important in that they had been through similar experiences. I was also in regular contact with the Australian Breastfeeding Association, where I could honestly talk about the physical side effects and they helped me in maintaining physical breast health. I have not had mastitis, and although we are still working on enjoying bottle feeding, we are healthy and happy.
I mirror Become Mum’s thoughts surrounding online support – the peer support I’ve found in relation to PND has been incredible.
You can read more from Become Mum on her blog, or find her on Twitter or Instagram. She is currently running a wonderful guest blogging series of her own called PND Solidarity. If you have suffered from a Perinatal Mental Illness and wish to share your story please click here for more details.
*If you would like to contribute to the My Mountain series with a piece about your own biggest parenting challenge please email firstname.lastname@example.org*
31 comments on “How To Wean In One Feed – Guest Post by BecomeMum”
Oh gosh, I’m terrified of stopping breastfeeding and what might happen to my hormones when I do. I’m glad you’re OK and are getting used to bottle feeding. #justanotherlinky
Thanks for commenting x
It is manageable, but it does take time to readjust. The hormones dropping was difficult, especially with sudden cessation. I think that it would be less so when weaning over a period.
I also had to stop nursing fairly early, around six months, and did it all in one go. I wouldn’t recommend it to anyone, but it was what was best in our situation. It is a super hard transition for both mom and babe, let alone having to work through postpartum depression and psychosis at the same time. I’m glad to hear you had good supports around you and hope that you’re on the mend.
Thank you for your supportive words for Become Mum x
Thank you! It was the only decision for us, but I still think about it all the time! It was my dream to have extended breastfeeding, but my own health was just too important.
That must have been so hard for you 🙁
Thanks for sharing this honest post, really important that other Mums read this too. I’m glad that the support network has really helped and that you are both getting used to bottle feeding now #KCACOLS
Completely agree. Thanks for commenting on Become Mum’s guest post x
Thank you! We are starting to get used to bottle feeding, although we are yet to find the perfect formula for him! I miss breastfeeding terribly, but know that it was the best decision.
What a beautifully written and honest post. Thank you for sharing it and helping others. I was lucky that my son decided to stop feeding at 10mo so I didn’t have to make the decision. Every mum I know who has decided, or been forced in your case, as found it incredibly difficult. Well done for being a strong mummy. #KCACOLS
Thanks for your kind words, I’m sure Become Mum really appreciates it ❤️
Thank you for understanding. I’m glad that the post showed that it was a very difficult time.
Thank you for writing and sharing this honest and moving post, I’m so glad that you’re well and have an amazing support network around you. Quitting breastfeeding sounds hard, I’ve started to think about it and have no idea how to do it, I’m hoping that it just stops naturally rather than forcing a stop. You did a great job breastfeeding for so long. Claire x #KCACOLS
Thanks for commenting, I couldn’t agree more x
Thank you. I hope that it stops naturally for you too x
What a difficult and heartbreaking period. I was able to gradually stop breastfeeding and fed my baby for the last time in December. At that point we were down to just the bedtime feed. I think I missed it more than she did to begin with. I really hope things have improved and Become Mum has regained some of that lost bonding time with Master X. Thanks so much for linking up with #KCACOLS and I hope you can make it again next week x
Thanks for reading and your kind words, I’m sure Become Mum appreciates it x
I think that I miss it more now than he does. It has been two months and I guess in his world, that would seem like a life time ago!
Oh bless you. So brave sharing your story.
Thank you so much for linking up to #justanotherlinky
Thanks for commenting x
I’m so sorry you’ve had such a tough time. I felt terrible after stopping, thoug the reasons weren’t anywhere near as valid as yours. I honestly didn’t receive enough support and didn’t think I could do it anymore, but by the time I realised, my body wasn’t producing enough milk to get going again anymore. I hope you’re feeling better now, thanks for sharing your brave story. Thanks for linking up to #MarvMondays. Kaye xo
Thanks for your supportive comments for Become Mum. Lack of BF support is a big problem x
Thank you for sharing your story. I think that for anyone who has to stop for whatever reason is difficult. I found terrible support too – I was hospitalised 3 times for mastitis and it took months before anyone picked up that it was a latching issue.
Oh this post caused me pain to read so I just can’t imagine the pain it caused the author. What a horrendous situation to be in, but really, there is no choice in this matter. Without the treatment, it doesn’t sound like there is any joy or pleasure in her life as a mumma and that isn’t right. She has given her son 5 & a half months of feeding and that is just wonderful. There comes a point in all women’s lives where they need to make a decision for themselves and it goes against the grain to choose yourself over what you perceive to be your baby’s best interests. Actually though, you are just as important and your child needs you as mum and it doesn’t sound like you were able to offer that without making this decision. Don’t beat yourself up, you are doing just fine. I’m so glad you have such supportive friends and family around you. (I realise I changed to talking to the author directly half way through sorry!) Thank you so much for linking up such a thought provoking and soul bearing post. #bigpinklink
Thanks so much for your kind and supportive words for Become Mum – I couldn’t agree more x
Thanks for reading. It was earth shattering, but there was no other choice. I needed to be on the medication. What you say is 100% correct – it went against the grain of what I thought would have been the best choice for my baby. I still miss it, and I guess the abruptness and lack of real choice makes it hard to reconcile even months on from cessation. Plus that we still haven’t found the right formula!!
Such an honest post. I had to stop feeding because do to a tongue tie that wasn’t picked up my milk dwindled and I had to stop for the health of my son. I know this isn’t the same situation but when it’s out of your hands it’s so hard. Thanks for linking up to #justanotherlinky xx
Isn’t it? I love that Become Mum shared it with us. Thanks for reading x
Thank you. I agree that when it feels like the choice is not yours, it makes it so much more difficult to reconcile.