Farewell Breastfeeding

Michelangelo, Madonna and Child

I loved breastfeeding both Ruben and then Adelaide. That closeness, the bond, the hours spent gazing adoringly upon their little faces. The changes that you witness when you have them that close for so long each day. It really must be one of my favourite experiences.

It was fairly smooth sailing with both of them. No teething issues (in the beginning, or as teeth came through). I was happy to express at work during the day, and they both switched between breast and bottle without a problem.

Adelaide, towards the end, was clear when she was ready for breast milk, asking to be picked and slapping me enthusiastically on the chest with a “muuuah?  Muuuuuuah?. She smiled, snuggled and loved the whole experience.

Then, about about a month ago, she just stopped.

Feeding before bed was a ritual – soft night light, gentle music (Angus & Julia Stone are a bit of a favourite for us both), a little feed then into bed.  Until – not. One day, just she declined. She still woke up during the night, was brought into our bed (as she has done and continues to do), and had a small comfort feed.

Then the next night was the same. Then night feeds stopped. And that was it.

Ah, I’m sorry, what?  I was enjoying breastfeeding. A lot. 14 months and you get to make such decisions? That’s highly unimpressive.

I was tempted to be a little neurotic about it. Have I done something wrong? My diet hasn’t changed and we eat lots of fresh food. My stress levels are the same as usual (not particularly low, but not heart-issue high).

Knowing that she is my last baby (2 is enough, measures have been taken) makes it feel quite significant. The finality of the End of Breastfeeding makes me feel a little lost. She loves me and still needs me, fine, but it feels like she doesn’t want me in that base level sort of way.

I was – and still am – tempted to stray into the land of self indulgence, wallowing in grief for the passing of this era.  But then, when I am with her and she pulls that squishy face that makes me burst out laughing, or she clings to my legs, stretches her little arms up and beckons with “uuuupa”, my heart melts. She is fine and I am fine. We just don’t need to breast feed anymore.

How good is breast feeding. I do feel blessed to have had such rosy experiences.

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