The Breastfeeding Chronicles: Thanks for the Mammaries.
It’s been over two weeks since I stopped breastfeeding T.
And I’m okay.
I didn’t know how I would feel about the day when T would stop feeding. It was just something we did. It was so embedded into our routine that I actually didn’t think it would end. So I didn’t think about it.
Now the time has come though; I still don’t know what to think!
On one hand it’s all that we knew. Our moment of just “us”. I looked forward to that hour of just me and him (the calm bit) before nap time. I also loved being the one to comfort him when he was sick or in pain. That part of me is sad. That part is in mourning.
But, on the other hand, a huge part of me started to feel that I was no longer needed, especially when we would often have a day or two where T wouldn’t ask for milkies.
It was time.
I knew we were coming to the end when T started to not take as much during pre-nap time feeds, as well as not ask for it during the day.
He would prioritise his water over boob and would be happy falling asleep in our arms without “help”. Teething aids replaced my boobs when teething pain kicked in, and snufflebabe helped with colds.
So I went with it.
I stopped offering boob before naps and simply put T down in his cot for nap time. After 20 or so minutes of quiet back rubbing he went to sleep. There was no fighting. No tears. No signals for boob. He was okay.
I was shocked. There was no long goodbye. No farewell. No thanks for the
memories mammories. That was it.
We’re slowly coming to the end of our #breastfeeding journey, with T taking less and less each time before falling asleep. Although he’s stopped asking at night, we can’t quite get him down without it before naps. As much as I’m looking forward to getting my body back I’m going to miss these bright eyes looking back at me.
But then the relief kicked in. Like I’d completed a marathon. Like I was finished. I’d done my job. I’d made it!
I’d never given myself a target, I simply gave myself a milestone of six months and then told myself to get to the next six months. I never thought I’d reach a year (what with teething)… let alone 20 months.
So as I write, T is asleep in my arms after giving him a cuddle whilst wrapped in a blanket. I’ll take him upstairs, put him in his cot and give him a kiss goodnight. It doesn’t feel like I’ve forgotten anything. I don’t wonder whether he’s going to go to bed hungry, or wake up hungry. Even my boobs aren’t wondering what the hell is going on – which is the tell tale sign that something was definitely changing.
Part of me wishes I’d reached a solid 24 months. A neat two years. But that would have meant I would have potentially pushed something I knew was already over.
Now was the right time.
For both of us.
Aw bless him, well done for keeping up with it for so long, an amazing achievement for you both. I don’t look forward to it coming to an end with my youngest although I know it soon will, she’s 2 1/2 now and only feeds once a day at bedtime. It’s a great bonding experience isn’t it?
It’s been an amazing bonding experience. I’d do it again in an instant. To think I’ve been the one to solely provide for 6 months and then assist for the rest has been an amazing feeling. I was in no rush to finish, it just seemed T was.
2 1/2 is amazing. Well done mama. X
You did amazingly to breastfeed for 20 months. I got to 15 and I had just had enough. That sounds selfish but it was the only way they’d go to sleep and I wanted some time to myself and the ability to be somewhere else at nap or bed times. I think for you to get to a point where you were both ready is an amazing thing and I am glad that he doesn’t ask for it or miss it x
Thank you! I know I’ve been incredibly lucky. I know it doesn’t always go this way.
15 months is still an amazing length of time – you’ve had teething and toddlerhood to deal with! I’ve had plenty of occasions where I was tempted to just stop (especially when he was eating plenty of food) but for some reason it kept pulling me back in. I totally get the need for alone time – that’s one thing I’m looking forward to.
Thank you for sharing. X
Awwwww … what a journey for both of you, hey. I especially get the sadness of not having the booby tool to comfort when ill and in pain anymore. As they say (I think), ‘all good things must come to an end’ – breastfeeding is definitely a fabulous thing that does come to an end, isn’t it. I’m so pleased it happened gently for both of you. I’m not sure how ready I’ll feel when my little one has had enough. So far, he’s showing no signs of stopping though I don’t offer as much as before.
Well, on to another phase, another turn in your walk of love and life … all the very best with it, lovely woman.
Stumbled across this after reading your latest blog post. Although my son is only approaching five months, i am already feeling sad in anticipation that one day in the not too distant future, the breastfeeding will end. Started off a nightmare (undiagnosed tongue tie) but has turned into something so special. I know it isn’t for everyone, but I too have really enjoyed providing the sustenance and comfort of to my boy. I hope to make it to a year, but only time will tell, I guess!
TT can be a right breastfeeding killer – especially as they don’t thoroughly check for it (if at all!). Well done for getting this far, the first few days are the toughest and at 5 months I know you’ve already gone through a couple of leaps already. Keep up the awesome work, mama!
Sounds like we’ve had a really similar experience! My son just decided to stop feeding at about 22 months. He’d been feeding less and less recently so it wasn’t unexpected but I’m not sure I was quite ready either. I have really mixed emotions about it – I’m sad that he no longer needs for but glad that I have more freedom and my husband can help with bedtimes more. I also experienced a huge flux in hormones, similar to the few days after birth, which I hadn’t expected.
I know exactly what you mean! I felt like that too, but having it done this way is like they’re saying “thanks, I’m done now mummy”. Completely gentle and lead by them. It just went so quickly didn’t it?
Trust me though, they’ll still need you for lots of other things and you can get back to wearing proper bras and tops! Haha. Well done mama!