Breastfeeding Ups and Downs – The end of our road

When I was pregnant with Annabelle b/feeding was always something I had wanted to do and had assumed I would be able to do. Neither my sisters nor my mum had ever had any problems and I hoped I would be the same.

I will never forget the first moment Annabelle was put to my breast; in the operating theatre while I was being sutured up. It was truly awe-inspiring. Her beautiful big brown eyes gawping at me and my beaten and bruised body providing nutrition for her tiny and needy body.

Meeting Annabelle for the first time

Meeting Annabelle for the first time

The first few weeks of our breastfeeding relationship weren’t plain sailing but they also weren’t half as stressful as some friends I know. We had engorgement and we had cracked and bleeding nipples. I also had a slight oversupply so I had numerous embarrassing leakage moments. I remember my sister saying to me “you’ll not want to give up” and I thought she must have been mad. In my mind I was aiming for 6 weeks and if possible 6 months. But no way would this be something I wouldn’t want to give up!

 

My sister was right. After the first 2-3 weeks we managed to get the hang of it and by six weeks Annabelle was a total pro. We both enjoyed it. I found it convenient, easy, soothing, enjoyable and a wonderful way to have quiet time and to bond. It’s fair to say I loved it. I hated pumping and so feeding was the one thing that only I could do and that felt nice.

 

Now at 11months Annabelle has decided that her time is up. Boobs are for babies and she’s a big girl now, nearly one after all! She literally woke up one morning and decided she was offended by the sight of my boob; she looked up at me and burst in tears. I wondered what was up? She had only just woken up so surely she was hungry. I decided to offer her the other breast, nope. Equally as repulsed at that idea, clearly. I made up a cup of formula and she glugged it down like I’d been starving her! This went on for the whole day but I thought to myself ‘at least at bedtime I know she will take it’ as she loves the bedtime sleepy feed/cuddle. Nope. She didn’t want it. The realization set in with me and the tears followed shortly after. How could this possibly be the end? My husband made up a bottle of milk and she snatched it from me and started drinking.

 

How Mummy Feels

How Mummy Feels

I have pumped when I can and she’ll drink whatever is in the cup or bottle, it seems she just doesn’t want it from the source.

What’s funny is that I was thinking of weaning at 12months anyway since my husband and I have many weekends away and Annabelle has lots of dates with Grandma and Granny. That was my plan. For her to beat me to it and decide to give up a month early has caught me a little of guard. I feel like we’ve had a massive argument and she’s using this as a tool to win the fight, being defiant. Of course I know she’s not.

Is there milk in here?

Is there milk in here?

I am looking at the positives though; 11 months is a great achievement and I should be proud of that. Plus I have heard horror stories of weaning older children so at least we’ve had a fairly easy transition. Now I can look forward to the odd night away and to having my body back. Also, now when she feeds she plays with my fingers and it feels wonderful.

But what about my excuse for eating? What will I blame it on now?

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Thank you, kind strangers

I have recently returned from Dubai, only a short 2.5hr flight, but it’s still hard work on your own. Annabelle used to be such a sleepy head but nowadays she is in to everything and on a plane this generally means pulling passengers’ clothes, trying to snatch food off their trays and sticking her hands in her own food.

Waiting to board at Mumbai's new airport

Waiting to board at Mumbai’s new airport

Both the flights I took to Dubai and back again were daytime ones. I thought Annabelle would take her naps onboard, I was wrong. Instead I just had a fidgety overtired lump to manage instead of a calm and sleepy princess. I am sorry to say that on the way back my child was THAT child. The one we all roll our eyes at wondering what could possibly have possessed their incapable parents for even thinking about flying with IT. She screamed on and off every 15 minutes for 15 minutes. For the whole flight. Excellent.

Just lulling you into a false calm...I'm gonna let rip on board

Just lulling you into a false calm…I’m gonna let rip on board

However, I was surrounded by such kind strangers. It genuinely reassured my faith in the human race. I was sitting at the front, in the four sets in the middle of the plane. I had the aisle seat on the right hand side. To my left was an Emirati woman and her aged parents. She spoke little English and seemed rather stern at the beginning of the flight. To my right, across the aisle, were two Indian gentlemen, business partners in a children’s toy empire. Before the plane had even taken off (we were delayed on board for 45mins) they had Annabelle on their laps, playing with bottles, the menu, paper, their watches, glasses…whatever. Annabelle was in her element.

Towards the end of the flight when Annabelle was becoming increasingly irritable (and irritating!) the Emirati women took her from me. Allowed me to nip to the loo even. Bliss. I came back and found her using her abaya to play peek-a-boo, a very sweet sight. She even made sure I got some food from the stewardess and insisted I eat every last crumb, I felt mothered by her and it felt good.

Once the plane landed, Annabelle’s screams had died down and all the passengers were standing itching to get off, a gentleman from the seat behind me lent in and said to Annabelle “weren’t you a good girl eh?” and I thought “were you even on the same flight as me?”. Not one person scowled at me! So, thank you all, kind strangers.