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8 month old self weaning and rejected mama drying up:(

  1. #1
    Shenzhennifer is offline Registered User
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    Jul 2008
    Tsuen Wan

    8 month old self weaning and rejected mama drying up:(

    It happened little by little over the course of a few months, but my now 8 month old has started to self-wean. Since week one he has been solely breastfed and until recently did not even know how to use a bottle.

    A few months ago I had to all but stop breastfeeding him in public because it was too difficult as he always went off the nipple if there wasn`t milk right away and everything around him was distracting.
    Then it started happening more and more, in private feeding rooms, even at home.

    Often I had to almost wrestle to get him on my breast, though once he was on he was fine. Unless my letdown was slow, which it increasingly was. So I had to fight him more because he was grow impatient quickly.
    Then I started noticing (if you read my other post on solids) that it seemed like he was not growing much anymore, or was at least getting behind. Then I read how much milk a baby is still supposed to be drinking and I just knew he was not drinking that much from me.

    Then he dropped the late morning feed. Sometimes even in the night he will reject my breast. Then the occasional early morning feed...
    In hopes that he would drink more milk, I gave him some formula in a bottle, which he had magically learned how to use, probably from using the sippy cup. He drank 120mls the first one, over 200mls the next one. The last couple of days I have been giving him 2 bottles of 200mls to replace the milk that he has refused from me.

    Tonight when he settled in for his bedtime feed, he fed on both sides for a short bit and then refused. So I tried a bottle. Drank 100mls. My husband said I should just stop giving him bottles and if he wants to drink, only offer him the breast. But I also worry about his health and want to make sure he is getting enough. The way he quickly drinks those bottles tells me he really enjoys it.

    Now I`m feeling so down. Before I was happy that he was getting his milk, in whatever form, and even with the newfound freedom it has given me a bit. But he`s only 8 months old, I have no idea why this is happening, don`t know what I did wrong, if anything, don`t know what has caused my unappealing milk supply. And I know this is a vicious cycle - so I am drying up more and more. Then I won`t have any milk to give him. We had such a tough time feeding after he was born - it took a good 6 weeks to get on track and only worked because I was really determined. Then we flourished together. And now this has happened. I can`t help feeling rejected, like I failed to give my son the best nourishment. It seems really unnatural. He`s only 8 months old.

    Sorry to write so much. Just feeling bad and was hoping that someone else has gone through this, or knows what this is all about, or just understands how I feel right now.

    Last edited by Shenzhennifer; 09-17-2009 at 09:59 PM.

  2. #2
    carang's Avatar
    carang is offline Registered User
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    Sep 2004
    Sai Kung

    i can totally understand where you are coming from BUT you are really looking at it like the glass is half full...
    think about it...


    that is an accomplishment you should be very proud of! every child will eventually wean off of the breast, some earlier than others. you have done and amazing job so far and now, you and your child are entering a new phase. it will happen again and again as your child grows. my eldest is now 4.5 and my youngest 2.5. i would be lying if i said i didn't miss the closeness that breastfeeding fosters, but, now my kids come to me for hugs, ****es and cuddles because they WANT to, not because i smell of yummy milk. they want to spend time with me because they love me and we have fun together, not because i provide direct nourishment.

    as you enter every stage of development with your child there will be things you miss from the last stage. but then you look at the new one and think, "wow! this is amazing! it can't get better than this!" AND THEN IT DOES!

    my kids both weaned off of the breast at about 6 months. i just couldn't keep up with the demand as well as working the hours that i was. i, too, felt a little down but it soon passes as you start to experience the new things your little one can do and the opportunities that present themselves because you are no longer breastfeeding.

    good luck! chin up! your child's self-weaning has NOTHING to do with your abilities as a mother!

    you have done a wonderful job and i'm sure you will continue to do so!

  3. #3
    thanka2 is offline Registered User
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    May 2009

    To complement your long post :)

    All I can say is that I completely understand the feeling of feeling rejected and feeling like you aren't doing enough to give your child the "best milk." I also understand the guilt that goes along with not breastfeeding--at least that's how I felt at first.

    I'm guessing a lot of moms have gone through this. I breastfed my son up until he was five-months-old and it never got to the point where we "flourished" together--the fighting that you're talking about--where your son fights you--especially when he's distracted in a public place--I dealt with that fighting for five months and I kept with it. It was never fun. It was never pleasurable. It was stressful.

    He also fought me at home so I ended up only breastfeeding him at night later on and pumping during the day because at night was the only time he was sleepy enough that he wouldn't put up a fight. I really did everything in my earthly power to make it good--visited the lactation consultants and doctors, asked for help from friends and family, read breastfeeding books and followed the suggestions.

    In the end, for us, I didn't even have the satisfaction of saying "Hey, we had a good five months of breastfeeding together." I've described it on my blog like this:

    "...breastfeeding was overall a nightmarish experience for me...ended in a dismal fizzle despite nearly half a year of desperate attempts to make it bearable."
    I felt guilty because my son was also "only" five months old and the mantra of "breast is best" was clearly resonating in my head. I mean, what mother doesn't want to give the best to their child?

    But, when it came down to it, my son self weaned himself early. I now know that breastfeeding takes two and when one participant isn't into it, it doesn't work. Despite all this, there is so much emotion that goes with breastfeeding, I find and so I can relate a little bit to the high emotion of what you're going through.

    I also really think that you know what is the best decision in this situation--despite what breastfeeding and not breastfeeding moms will tell you about their experience, your gut feeling is right. So, if your gut feeling, although it's emotionally hard, is to give your son a bottle once in awhile or even often, then its right. Do what's right and eventually you'll make peace with the situation. In my situation it took some time to make peace with it but hindsight has been, a usual 20/20 and I know I did the best I could with the circumstances I was given. You'll know that too.

    And way to go on breastfeeding for 8 months! That is truly a huge accomplishment! I was only breastfed for 9 months (because I started to "fight" my mom too--must be a genetic thing) and honestly, I'm pretty darn healthy--never had a surgery, never had a cavity, rarely get sick and I was a 4.0 student throughout university, speak two languages and graduated a year early. What I'm trying to say is, your son definitely had a good start in life.

  4. #4
    lesliefu is offline Registered User
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    Dec 2008
    South District

    I completely understand how you are feeling - but you've got to tell yourself that 8 months IS in fact a long time (my baby weaned herself at 6months) and having done sticking with it for that long is very admirable! You've got to remember that "good nourishment" doesn't only come from your 8months your little one can start on basic solids and from that you can also provide him with plenty of "good nourishment". Preparing yummy meals and seeing him smile will also bring a sense of accomplishment - you're not "failing" as a mom it's just that he wants more and so you just have to find other ways to fulfill his needs - which I'm sure you will have no problem doing! :) Keep your head up! I'm sure you're a great mom! :)

  5. #5
    nicolejoy's Avatar
    nicolejoy is offline Registered User
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    Oct 2007
    North Point

    It is such an emotional issue... I've recently had problems breastfeeding my girl and had to think about whether or not to wean - I was in tears over it many times... I never really expected it to be that hard. In an ideal world, everything would be easy and there would be no issues and we could wean when we CHOOSE to, not because we "have" to because of one issue or another... but you really sound like you've given it 110% and that's all you can do. There comes a point where you have to wonder "Is breast REALLY still best in this situation" - and even though I breastfeed, I do think that in some situations, the "cost" is greater than the "benefit"... It's not always in our or the baby's best interests to force the issue... (sorry LLL!!)

  6. #6
    karmah1's Avatar
    karmah1 is offline Registered User
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    Apr 2008
    Sydney, Australia (but would like to return to HK)

    You have done an amazing job getting to 8 need to congratulate yourself, not feel guilty.

    I know how you feel, I too had many difficulties in the beginning and only managed to get to 5 months but with top ups of formula at every feed. I just couldn't get my milk supply established as the thyroid medication that I'm on just dried it up. The tears and feelings of guilt plagued me for ages and I missed the closeness of breastfeeding. But in the end I realised I had to accept that I had done my best and to get on with enjoying my son. Yes there are times when I look back and think I could of done this or that but those first few sleep deprived weeks were difficult and I did all I could. I now think positively that he did get some breastmilk which is better than none.

    I have no doubt your are a wonderful mum and you have done an amazing job at breastfeeding your son for as long as you have!

  7. #7
    Shenzhennifer is offline Registered User
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    Jul 2008
    Tsuen Wan

    Thanks for everyone`s nice words. I wallowed a bit last night in potato chips, ice cream and a bit of wine, and today I felt a bit better and ok that my son wanted to drink from bottles more, especially since he did nurse in the middle of the night and for a few minutes this morning.
    But when he rejected yet another feed (if he doesn`t fight it, he`ll go on for a few sucks and looks like he sees there isn`t milk right away so he gives up), I thought too many hours had gone by since he had milk so I gave him a bottle and of course, he loved it. So then again I felt bad and am still feeling down about it.
    It`s just that I can`t see a logical reason behind it. WHY would he start to do this at such a young age, when he hadn`t even had the temptation of easy flow bottles (btw, I am using 1 and 2 hole Avent nipples and the Breastflow bottle). WHY has it seemed like I have been drying up even though I have done nothing but breastfeed since he was born? WHY did my letdown slowdown? I`ve done nothing different, eat well, get as much rest as one can.
    It`s these unanswered questions that leave me hanging a bit, and also leave me feeling rejected still.
    Anyway, I did feel better reading everyone`s encouraging words. Thanks a lot. I guess this is just another thing in life that one has to get past and move onto the next chapter.

  8. #8
    carey is offline Registered User
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    Oct 2008

    Hi Shenzhenifer, I've read a lot of your threads. You are always very determined about breastfeeding and stick up to challenges you have with breastfeeding.

    I believe you've done your best and if you baby self weans, that's the best, isn't it?

    Mother like you have given me courage and confidence to start bf, and when Bf did not work out for me, I also gave me support for sticking to full time pumping. I also had to deal with feeling rejection in the earlier days and sometimes now when my son is resisting my effort to put him to sleep.

    Please cheer up. There is nothing personal about it. It's life.
    And remember, your mood would affect your baby's.

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