And Just Like That…

On breastfeeding.

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Breastfeeding came easy for me. I know it doesn’t for everyone and so for this I’m thankful. I breastfed exclusively until bubs started solids which meant we were together always (save a few hours here and there) for the first year of his life. He was easy enough to take along everywhere and I didn’t mind at all.

When I went back to work, Stephen would bottle feed him, me continuing to breastfeed when we were together. I fed him to sleep because it was quickest and, lets be honest, there’s something so sweet about littles falling asleep in your arms.

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At around 18 months I started to tire of being a soother and started putting him down awake after feeds which he adjusted to fairly well. However, once we all piled into bed at night, it was so much easier just letting him snuggle and “feed” and fall back asleep instead of feeding him, then trying to strategically unlatch without waking him. And, although frustrating and uncomfortable at times, part of me wasn’t quite ready to completely give up breastfeeding altogether.

Then a few weeks ago we noticed that he’d wake up sooner during the night when I breastfed him (he still wakes once or twice) than when Stephen would bottle feed him and we decided to try a bottle in case he was no longer getting enough milk from me. It seems as if my milk supply had in fact decreased and so I began to give him a bottle when putting him down, then give him a boob when he woke during the night.

This week I worked a few nights and so ended up going for days without breastfeeding. It seemed like a natural time to wean completely and bubs transitioned well. The first few nights he still woke a few times, cried for a minute or two saying “dees” (“please”… oh my heart), then snuggled right up next to me and went back to sleep. And just like that, the chapter is over.

To the new mumma: enjoy the snuggles! Take photos of you feeding your child, however that looks (I would love to have had a few more). You don’t need to share them with anyone but it’s such a huge part of every day life and makes memories worth capturing.

To the breastfeeding mumma wondering when to wean: don’t stress about it. Either you will tire of it, your body will decrease your milk supply, or baby will lose interest. Any which way, it’s your own journey (which will no doubt look different than mine) and both of you will adapt and be just fine.

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It’s a strange thing, knowing you’ll never breastfeed your child again. I’ve loved it so much overall and I will miss it I know. Yes, there will be other children to breastfeed, but never this one again. It’s bittersweet, this growing up thing.

Friends, how do you navigate this whole change thing? How do you soak in all the memories while being ok with stepping into the next season?

 

 

5 thoughts on “And Just Like That…

  1. Indira is 2 and a half and is still fascinated with breasts. She lifts everyone’s shirts, and watches intently when her little brother nurses. I think part of her wants to keep nursing, keep being a baby and be comforted in that way; and part of her knows that now she is a Big Girl, that it’s time for her to self-soothe and potty train and put on her own shoes.
    Ending breast feeding really is so bittersweet. Those puffs of breath and the feel of their eyelashes, the little hands on your arms or your face. You still get those little snuggles but they are not as sustained or quite as intimate anymore. But the freedom is fantastic and how liberating it is for dad to feel equally important/qualified – I don’t think dad’s feel that way til breastfeeding is over.

    The growing up just happens. The more they grow the stranger it feels. Like you get this sudden split-screen moment where you look at your four year old and they are carrying a backpack and a lunchbox and making up a story or singing you a song and see/feel that tiny five pound helpless person that you had to hold so carefully or you might break them.

  2. It is SO bittersweet. Bubs still snuggles up REALLY close at night which I’m so thankful for and am hoping lasts at least awhile yet. That’s one thing I thought may change when we stopped but it hasn’t as of yet. And it’s true it just happens. And we become ones who grasp at the memories while trying to be all present to catch the now before it too flies by. Also I can’t believe Zu is four… I swear she was just that tiny babe…

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