4 days before Ailsa turned 2 we had a very abrupt end to our breastfeeding journey, which has caused more upset for myself than Ailsa and something that she has dealt with so wonderfully. I have shared a couple of posts on our breastfeeding journey and extended breastfeeding, but it isn’t something I write about often because I know it can be an emotive subject for many. Unfortunately this post isn’t quite as happy as my others have been and in all honesty I am very sad to be writing about the end of breastfeeding Ailsa. I think most of my disappointment comes from us making it so close to a massive milestone of 2 years but not quite making it there by literally a few days. The past few weeks have been such an emotional roller coaster whilst my body and hormones adjust to the change and trying to deal with stopping so suddenly definitely took its toll on my breasts and did cause engorgement and pain.
Since January I have been dealing with dry cracked skin on both of my nipples, both of us were treated for Thrush, which can be quite common for breastfeeding mums and babies. The treatment however did not help and things ended up being so much worse, whilst I let the cracks heal on one breast, cracks would happen on the one I would be feeding off and it was a vicious cycle of pain and discomfort for me and confusion for Ailsa not knowing which one she could feed off. There would be times I would have to stop her mid feed and she would be upset especially when she was tired and looking for comfort. I would explain that my booboo’s were poorly and we had to let them rest and she would settle for that but it was so hard for me knowing I couldn’t give her the comfort she was used to and was looking for and there were certainly tears from both of us in the middle of the night.
With all the stress and pandemonium of us moving back to Scotland I never got to the Doctors down south again to get another treatment and the cracks had been healing and things weren’t too bad for a week or so at the start of March. On our first night back home though Ailsa was feeding a lot due to the change in environment and both of nipples had massive cracks appear, the pain was searing and in the middle of the night through gritted teeth and lots of tears I had to stop. I just HAD to stop. Cold turkey was the only way to go and not something I would recommend to anyone if you can help it. Being a Peer Supporter I knew that suddenly stopping would massively increase my risk of engorgement, blocked ducts and Mastitis but with the pain each feed brought and the more damaged my nipples became I couldn’t go on. So 4 days before Ailsa’s 2nd birthday I fed her one last time in absolute agony. It wasn’t the nice last feed I thought we would have and the last memories of it for me being so negative have really been hard to deal with.
Ailsa has been absolutely amazing with it though. Even at such a young age she understood that I couldn’t give her booboo anymore as they were poorly and painful and needed to get better. We only had one tantrum when she was refused in the early hours of the morning on day 2 of us stopping and stopped asking for it after 2 days. She has been going down for both James and I happily at night and although she still wakes at times to make sure we are there she has been such a trooper with it. As for my breasts well 3 weeks later and they are still not healed. I have been to the doctors and been prescribed anti bacterial steroid creams and moisturisers as they just don’t know what it could be as the Thrush treatment didn’t work. I have another week of the anti bac treatments before I need to go back and potentially get something else.
Breastfeeding was a fantastic experience for us and I know not everyone has that. I never imagined feeding for almost 2 years but I certainly wouldn’t change that at all and I will certainly do my best to breastfeed my next child for hopefully as long as I did Ailsa.