Initially I had great plans to breastfeed, and assumed it would be easy and come naturally. Cue weeks of unexpected problems with latching and supplementing, and I quickly realized my breastfeeding journey wasn't going to be as smooth as I planned.
Over the course of the next couple of years I heard a lot of opinions about breastfeeding; some of them helpful, some offensive, and some nothing short of ridiculous. I can't help but assume I'm the only one, so I asked a few moms to share the best thing they heard when they decided to quit breastfeeding.
Initially, when I started breastfeeding my son, there were numerous points and moments when I considered quitting. After all, breastfeeding was much harder than I originally assumed it would be. However, once we had settled into a more comfortable routine, I planned on breastfeeding for a minimum of six months. When we reached that milestone I planned to continue nursing for at least a year. In the end, however, my toddler self-weaned at 30 months. My husband had long been my biggest cheerleader when it came to breastfeeding, and when our son finally weaned he was full of praise and supportive comments.
Breastfeeding is a time intensive and selfless act that deserves some special recognition, whether you nurse for a day, a week, or for many years. I hope when the time comes to stop, you hear only positive comments, because that's truly the only comments you deserve. So, with that in mind and because reading something uplifting is never a bad thing (especially if you currently have a baby and/or toddler attached to your boob), here are some of the best things moms heard when they stopped breastfeeding:
"My Mom said she had loved watching me nurturing her grandchild and she wished she had breastfed me. That meant a lot to me, as initially she wasn't supportive."
"I wanted to wean my baby at six months and introduce solids. I mentioned the idea to my doctor and he said that most of the benefits of breast milk were to be had in the first few months. This made me feel reassured that I had done my best and now I could stop."
"My partner said he was so proud of me. I breastfed for six months and encountered lots of problems. I had mastitis twice and was in lots of pain. I generally felt that I had failed my baby, so to hear him say he was proud of me made it all worthwhile."
"My mother-in-law was thrilled when I stopped breastfeeding and said she would like to babysit for a weekend at her house. If I knew that was on offer I might have stopped months before!"
"My partner was happy to hear I was going to wean our son. I had never been able to express much milk so he had never been able to feed him and was really excited about giving him a bottle. It turned into their regular bonding time and now he always puts him to bed."
"To be honest, my experience of breastfeeding was horrendous. I felt embarrassed and as though my body wasn't my own. I just didn't want to breastfeed but felt immense pressure from everyone around me to continue.
Eventually I broke down in my doctors office and told her how I felt, she held my hand and said, 'There's nothing wrong with formula.' It was all the encouragement I needed and I have never looked back."
"My sister had just got pregnant when I decided to stop breastfeeding after 16 months and she told me that I was her inspiration for giving nursing a go when her baby came. She ended up nursing her baby for even longer than I had."
"I nursed my son until he was a 3-year-old toddler. I was starting to feel that maybe it was time to stop, and then one day he turned around to me and said, 'No thanks, Mommy, I don't need it anymore.' I was so relived that it had been his decision after all and proud of my commitment and accomplishment."
"I let my baby self-wean which she did just before her second birthday. A short time afterwards my dad told me that when she was first born he was really embarrassed when I nursed her but, over those two years, he had realized how beautiful and special it was. He told me that I had changed his mind about breastfeeding. He is a very traditional old fashioned guy, so it took a lot for him to say that to me and meant so much for me to hear it"
"I quit breastfeeding when my daughter was 18-months-old. When I told my girlfriends their mouths fell open; they had no idea I was still nursing and gave me a lot of praise for continuing that long. It made me feel like I had given her a good start in life."