I know, I know. I bang on about this a bit don’t I? But it was never going to be easy, it was never going to be quick, and not only is this blog a bit of a documentary of my life (for when I’m old and can’t remember it all), but it’s also a bit of a support for others – and I know that I am not the only one out there who has been at the point of being ready to stop breastfeeding when their children sort of weren’t. I think it’s safe to say that I have been ready for the end of our breastfeeding journey for a fair while now!
My last and pretty recent update was that Oscar had started falling asleep on his own. He still needed a bit of boob beforehand, but then he started rolling over and going to sleep all by himself – sometimes with relative ease and other times with the help of Rock A Bye Baby and other times with him having a good ten minute chat before nodding off. But the important thing was that he no longer needed to fall asleep on the boob.
The next bit that needed to happen though, I genuinely never thought it was going to happen. I envisaged me feeding my four year old child to sleep – and whilst for some that is totally acceptable and absolutely fine (and I am not one to judge anyone’s decision on this kind of thing), but it wasn’t what I wanted. I was never going to just take it away though. It is all he has ever known and I just couldn’t do it to him.
So what happened? Here’s how it started.
Well, on Thursday night I thought I’d try and get him to sleep without any boob at all. I tried to convince him that he was a big boy and that he didn’t really need it anymore, and his response was to turn to me and shout boobah, boobah, boobah, boobah, boobah, boobah in my face whilst grappling with my top. With it being a school night and having Zach also trying to fall asleep, I gave in pretty quickly and fed him before he rolled over and fell asleep.
Bum. He wasn’t ready.
Then Friday night came and I thought, well it’s the weekend, it’s not as urgent to get Zach to sleep super quick so let’s give it a go again. So I did. We laid down in bed and before he asked for boobah, he got distracted by his new favourite thing which is shadows. Pointing out the shadow of the lampshade, I realised that distraction could be a potential way to get him to sleep. And so I started asking him what he could see around the room. He found things and I pointed things out, and then it came to the painting on their wall which is a huge mural of the Ra-Ra characters, all lovingly painted by the other half a few years ago. We talked about who we could see, and then I asked him if he thought Ra-Ra was tired and wanted to go to sleep and he said yes. And so then I asked if he thought Ra-Ra would like me to sing Rock A Bye Baby to him to help him go to sleep (knowing full well it’s Oscar’s favourite go to sleep nursery rhyme), and he said yes. And so I did. And slowly, he drifted off to sleep. He did mention boobah a few times, but each time I mentioned Ra-Ra again and he immediately rolled back over. I couldn’t believe it when he fell asleep – you should have seen the celebratory dance I did when I got downstairs!
Was it a one off though?
Well, Saturday night came around and of course I was planning on giving it a go again. We laid down, he asked for boobah (although it was more of a chance ask rather than a meaningful one), and I distracted him again. And despite a lot of nattering from him, a bit of rolling around, and the requests for one particular line of Rock A Bye Baby over and over again, he did it. He fell asleep all by himself with absolutely no boob. Two nights on the trot.
So have we cracked it?
I don’t know. I mean it’s looking good isn’t it? He can clearly go to sleep all by himself and for two nights there has been no constant boob requests and no moaning when he hasn’t got it. He’s just fallen asleep in the same way he started doing when I started taking the boob away before he dozed off. But I don’t like to assume that this is it. That every night is going to go this way. I hope it does though, because it’s what I have wanted for ages.
So is this the end?
I wish! This is still very much just the start. Step one was the previous post. This is step two. We still have the throughout the night wake ups to deal with – where he very much still wants boobah to get him back to sleep. We still have the bed sharing thing – that bit where I snuggle up into bed, get comfy, and then two minutes later he wakes up and makes me get into bed with him for the rest of the night. And we still have the someone else actually getting him to go to sleep thing. There is still so much to conquer, but I feel like we are well on our way to me having my freedom back!
So for anyone out there who may be in the same boat. You may feel like you are never going to stop breastfeeding. You are never going to be able to get your child to sleep without breastfeeding them. Nobody else is going to ever be able to put your child to bed. It will come. It really will. Just when you think it will never ever happen, it will. It might not be quick. It might be in stages like it clearly is with us. But little by little, you’ll get there.
Oscar is almost 26 months old. I never ever envisaged feeding him for this long, though I have absolutely no regrets about any part of our breastfeeding journey. But it’s ok to not want to do it. It’s ok to be totally fed up with it. It’s ok for you to want it to end. A gentle approach definitely seems to be working for us, and I know that is becoming easier because he is really now understanding that he really doesn’t need it anymore. And it’s nice that even though I have obviously encouraged the end, most of the decision has been completely down to him. That’s what I always wanted.
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