Up until I became pregnant I had smoked 20 a day for half my life. I, like just about every other smoker I knew, had tried and failed on many occasions to give up. I had hypnosis 3 times, used patches 3 times, had NLP twice, CBT once, visited the NHS stop smoking clinic many a time, went cold turkey more times than I could count and was guilted into it by an ex boyfriend 5 times. I spent my pregnancy counting down the days until I could smoke again. When my baby arrived I still craved cigarettes but I didn’t want to smoke them. I didn’t want anything to taint my newborn baby and I never wanted to think ‘I wish you’d go to sleep so I can have a cigarette’. So after 14 years of trying to quit I had finally quit. Don’t get me wrong this still wasn’t easy. I used to have dreams that I was smoking, every time things got stressful my brain would scream ‘I want a cigarette’ which, until my baby was about 6 months old happened all the time. One day something got stressful and my instinct was ‘I want a cigarette’ and I stopped and thought ‘but I really, really don’t’. And so after 14 years I was finally cured. I have to admit I occasionally fancy a cigarette and I occasionally have one when with friends. I NEVER enjoy it and feel that on the odd occasion that I smoke it’s because I’m chasing the dream of what used to be. (If that makes sense).

My son is now 20 months old and I’m facing a MUCH harder challenge: Stopping feeding. My son is an utter milk monster who loves nothing better than feeding all day and all night. This was never a problem when he was little but as he’s got older he’s becoming a right pain. There’s no such thing as feeding him discreetly, he likes to put his hand down my top, undo my bra, switch from side to side and is just a general pain in the butt. On top of that I feel the time has come for us to both have our independence from one another when it comes to feeding.

There were a lot of reasons for my decision to finally stop him……. He’s such an intrusive feeder – the stroking, getting my boobs out, wanting feeding up to 15 times a day, biting, keeping me awake all night etc was really starting to get me down. Plus the whole ‘feeding helps you lose weight’ is an utter myth, I’m still hauling around an extra stone of weight which my body is keeping in reserve just so it has something to feed the baby with incase we run out of food. Plus I am SO tired, not just from being kept awake feeding day and night but making enough milk for a 20 month old is exhausting. With all this in place my other half and I decided that weaning was the way forward……….

Night weaning started going well – after about ten days of hell – my little one setteled down and started almost sleeping through the night. Then he started to go to bed without a night feed. Excellent, well done little man. After that we got down to 2 feeds a day, one in the morning and one for nap time. All was going well and I was planning to stop those feeds in the next couple of weeks by cutting out one a week until……. My son cut his head open. Suddenly we’re back to feeding on demand day and night, all his annoying habits are back, the endless nights are upon us again and after 2 months of trying to wean him we’re back at square one. So……. I decide today’s the day that I’m going to stop feeding him………

Except of course that he woke up at 1:40am and wouldn’t go back to sleep without a feed…..

then again at 4:20……

then again at 5:57……..

then again at 6:31

Then during the course of the morning he behaved really badly while I was on the phone so I would feed him to shut him up…..

then he needed feeding for his nap……..

then to stay asleep…….

then another couple of times during the afternoon

then finally at bed time.

Bleugh I’m dreading doing the night shift again. It would be nice if just once in 20 months I could get a night’s sleep.

The problem with giving up feeding (as opposed to giving up smoking) is that smoking requires willpower and nothing else. Stopping feeding requires standing up to my son’s willpower which is so much hideously worse. I KNOW that he doesn’t need milk anymore and that he certainly doesn’t need it what feels like a trillion times a day but my goodness is it hard to say no to when he’s throwing the most almighty tantrum with his poor little scar glinting at me.

I guess the upshot is that if he’s still demanding milk and I’m still giving it to him neither of us are ready to say goodbye to feeding yet. I know we will one day but until then I’d better go and get some early nights!

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