A couple of months ago I went to give Rose her evening feed. I snuggled down beside her as I always did she looked up at me made a face and refused to feed. It was then that I knew our breastfeeding journey was over.
I did try a couple more times-my futile attempt to have one last feed to remember it by. I hadn’t known that morning would be our last feed. It was rushed and insignificant and I was unable to savour that precious moment.
We managed 21 months and if I’m honest I was growing weary, perhaps at the point of slight annoyance towards this little person, no longer a baby, pulling at my top and helping herself to Mummy milk. I wasn’t quite ready to let it go, not the actual breastfeeding per se but the realisation that my baby is no longer a baby and doesn’t need me in that way anymore.
Rose did what she was supposed to do. She self-weaned, and although I know of toddlers that have gone on far longer, this was the natural time for us to stop because that’s what she wanted.
It’s a funny thing breastfeeding a toddler. Watching and feeling her growth in my arms. A little heavier each week, legs no longer small enough to tuck under my arm but dangling a little further down my lap.
Over time I’ve watched her eyelashes grow, it was quite remarkable actually, this tiny being with barely any eyelashes and I would look at her closed, often wet eyes each time we fed to see how much longer they were.
I think about her as I held her warm body close to mine, her little hands and tiny fingernails that would twist around my finger when she was newborn and as she grew would reach up to touch my face tenderly. Chubby fingers gently twiddling my hair.
These cherished moments between us, a gentle bond. My body nourishing her growing body for all this time, sustaining her, giving her all she needed. Even when food was introduced at 6 months old, until she was past her first birthday all she really wanted was mummy milk.
My super power.
In my heart I know that Rose is my last baby and so the sadness I feel isn’t exclusive to Rose but recognises a new chapter in my life. A time where I have two children who are old enough to fend for themselves and a toddler who grows older and more mischievous by the day.
So whilst I lament the passing of time I won’t miss the leaking boobs, zombie nights or feeling like a milking cow.
I’ll look back on our breastfeeding journey together with fondness and an admiration for what my body was capable of.
Onto the next chapter; goodbye baby, hello toddler.
For all the times I was sick of breast feeding, (and it was alot) when I completely weaned my last child off my breast I felt so guilty that I wasn't giving her my milk that it felt truly heartbreaking. Your touching words of looking back in fondness is how I look at it now and for all the hard work and sleepless nights I had to endure, I wouldn't have changed it for a thing. Great post xx
This post has had me in tears. I'm reaching the end of my breastfeeding journey with my little one and in finding it so hard as I know he will be my last.
I have struggled to feed all of mine but stuck at it as I know it's best for them.
I defiantly think it's more my attachment than his need now, but it's so sad that this is the end of my feeding years x
Ah Emma, I know I feel exactly the same and can totally relate xx
21 months is incredible! I was sad to finish breastfeeding with T as he is my last but the toddler days are pretty awesome too! x
Thanks darling, it was a slog at times! You are so right, the toddler years are very fun!! xx
Charlotte @ Educating Elsa
Well done for managing to keep going for so long and it's great that Rose weaned herself off it. I didn't breastfeed Elsa even though I drove myself to tears trying to, and we saw plenty of specialists. She just couldn't do it. I expressed for a while but it was exhausting and I still feel guilty now that I wasn't able to feed her the way I had hoped.
Thanks Charlotte, it was easy this time but not so with my elder two. I am so sorry that you feel guilty, you really mustn’t you know. There is so pressure to BF these days and I simply can not bear it. Expressing is utterly exhausting I can totally understand why you felt that way. Some babies just prefer a bottle and that is all there is to it. Nothing to feel guilty about my love, you fed and cared for your baby that is what you are supposed to do, how you fed your baby is irrelevant, so don’t feel bad xxx
Goodness me, I got teary eyed reading this. Such a beautiful, beautiful post about breastfeeding and your special time together.
Elsie decided at about four and a half months old that she would no longer have Mummy's milk :( (I'd introduced an odd bottle in the day) and I can still remember how utterly heartbroken I was. Especially as I always presumed that it would be my decision! I absolutely loved breastfeeding and was incredibly fortunate to not have any problems with it. From the first time, just after she was born, we both took to it like ducks to water.
Breastfeeding Elsie remains one of the loveliest motherhood moments that I hold dear and I always look back to those times with great fondest and nostalgia. Thank you for reminding me of those wonderful times and well done you, for breastfeeding for so long! How utterly, utterly brilliant. Well done Mama.
P.S This is a really gorgeous post Amy. You were born to do this and I remain a huge fan of you and your beautiful and emotive writing xxx
Oh Katie thank you so much for your comment and kind words, your support and encouragement means so much. It is such a gift and I feel blessed it worked out for us. I know sometimes it isn’t always that way. So glad to hear how things worked well for you and little Elsie and I know exactly what you mean, these babies surprise us sometimes don’t they, but if they don’t want to do something they simply won’t do it! xxx
You Baby Me Mummy
Gorgeous post huni, You have done remarkably well my love xxx
Thank you so much huni-this time I took to it easily, not so much with the the older two. I’m surprised I went on as long as I did! xxx
Hannah Budding Smiles
You've done amazingly well and what a beautiful post, so honest. I only managed 4 months because of Toby's silent reflux and I was so devastated the day I realised we'd come to the end of the road xxx
Oh hun, 4 months is an amazing achievement, it s devastating I know, I struggled with my eldest with silent reflux xxx
What a gorgeous post! You've pretty much conveyed exactly how I feel at the moment. I'm still breastfeeding my third who is 14 months, but it's all coming to an end. I know I'll be so sad when it does because he's my last xx
Thanks so much it really is emotional isn’t it? I am relieved in a way but sad all at once! xx
This is a beautiful post. I very much enjoyed reading your thoughts on breastfeeding. It really is a bond that is truly natural. You made me want to cry when you wrote how you watched her eyelashes grow and legs dangle from your lap, but you also made me laugh when you ended saying you will no longer be a milking cow, leaking boobs and all. I nearly laughed out loud I couldn't have said it better myself! Pros and cons to every experience and journey in life, and they always manage to be so very emotional. I enjoyed reading this so much.x
Thank you so much for your comment Tanita it was a tough one to write as it does make me feel sad that I won’t ever experience that again although I know there is much to look forward to. I’m so glad you enjoyed reading this x
Becky, Cuddle Fairy
What a beautifully honest post. It is so emotional to stop breastfeeding, especially your last baby! I felt exactly the same when I stopped feeding my daughter (third & last baby). She's lucky to have a mommy who loves her so much :)
Thank you so much Becky. It is definitely emotional x
Natalie / UEM
Although Oliver self weaned I can't put myself in your position or compare, I wasn't sad and I think that is because I know I will most likely have another baby. I also knew it was coming and did savour that last feed. It was 23 months of completely special moments that nobody else can relate to. Pure one on one. I feared I wouldn't get to have cuddles with him so much but he's a wonderfully cuddly boy and aside from the fact he doesn't drink milk from his mummy he's still the same crazy toddler. That's what I keep telling myself. I miss it sometimes. But it's great to get back to dressing for myself rather than an outfit that I can feed in. I'm choosing to ignore the fact my boobs have shrunk! Haha.
Congratulations on reaching the self weaning milestone. Its a truly special club to be a part of :-)
Yes me too huni, my boobs will never be quite as perky as they once were! You are so lucky you got to savour that last feed. I wish I’d known it was our last...congrats on getting to 23 months. Fantastic achievement xx
Adventures of a Novice Mum
Awwwww ... what a lovely post. Had to come and read when I saw it in my twitter feed. I fought to breastfeed, so anything breastfeeding gets my attention really quick. What gets me most is that with self weaning, you don't know when the last feed will be. I'm going away from your post thinking, 'cherish every feeding moment ... you never know, it might be the last'. All the very best as you move into another phase of your mothering, without boobie magic :-)
Thank you! I am always drawn to the BF ones too as can almost always relate. Even to the ones that are struggling as I did with my elder children. yes, definitely make the most of it. x
Beautiful post, it's had me in tears. I'm really struggling with my breastfeeding journey this time as I've had to cut so much out of my diet. It's all worth it though when she has a sleepy feed, that bond is incredible. How long you fed for is amazing, I'm sure I will feel sad too when I do my last feed x
Thanks so much, it can be such a tough journey. Goodness I miss those sleepy feeds so much, also the very first one in the morning when still dozing. So special. Thanks for commenting xx
Oh you made me cry! My little girl is two on 7th June and is my fourth and last baby! I still breastfeed her and know it will end soon enough. I understand about the feeling of being a milking cow and the irritation at not being able to sit down with a brew without her trying to undress me! I have even sat looking at her long eyelashes! :) I will miss this chapter but you are right, new chapters are positive too Xxx
Well done lasting as long as you have, Amy. My wife tried to breast-feed for as long as possible with our three, but had to give up after nine, five and three months and was sad about doing so each time, even though she had problems with mastitis several times first time around. But all things must come to an end, and there will be other things to look forward to doing together.
Thank you Tim-sorry to hear your wife had mastitis I had it with my first and it was dreadful, she did fantastically to get that far. Thanks for reading.
Such a beautiful post and so bittersweet to reach the end of that breastfeeding journey. I really felt your sadness in not being able to savour that last feed, not knowing that it was the last time. I have moments when I think I'd like to get to the end of our breastfeeding journey - those moments of annoyance when Sophie tugs down my top and demands "booby" but I know that part of me will miss it when it's over. I love the way you've ended with looking forward to the next chapter with such positivity.
Gosh it’s something else when they start verbalising and demanding at the same time isn’t it. Can be so draining. Thanks so much for your lovely comment x
I stopped breast feeding my boys at 6mos when they started nursery, but as I didn't go back to work after I had my daughter I planned on just seeing what happened. She stopped by herself at about 9mos. It was one of those bittersweet moments, sadness at the end of breastfeeding, but looking forward to what would come next. Love this post, beautifully expressed x
Thank you so much Sara, it really is lovely to look forward to what is to come even though it’s sad the baby days are over. Thanks for commenting x
All teary eyed over here! How wonderful it is these beautiful breastfeeding relationships we form with these tiny babies who become our world. My baby #3 is 5 months old so breastfeeding takes up the majority of my day at this point. I'm enjoying it since this is our last baby. Another beautiful post!
Thank you lovely-enjoy every moment! It is an emotional one isn’t it? xx
My daughter will be 3 in September, and we're still managing a morning feed. Part of me wants to keep going until she stops. It will be really strange when it happens.
Wow you have done amazing, I wish we were still feeding but I suppose as she decided it was time to stop then that’s that. I miss it so much though x
I'm going through this right now although he is much younger than your baby and it is so incredibly hard to deal with the mental aspect of it being over. It doesn't matter how hard it is, that last memory is really important. Thank you for sharing this. It helps to realize that others have and are going through this too.
It really is hard isn’t it? Thanks for understanding x
This brought a tear to me eye. I really feel for you. I miss breastfeeding so much. I was getting fed up of it, but I'd love to still be breastfeeding. We ran into troubles when my son was nearly 11 months old, I was definitely not ready to stop. I'm not sure if I'll ever have any more children. If I don't, I feel a tiny bit heartbroken that my breastfeeding journey will never be as long as I hoped it would be x
Ah Catriona I really do know exactly how you feel. It is so sad when it doesn’t end quite the way you thought it would but these things happen. I think the most positive way for us both to look at it is that we did our absolute best for as long as was possible and you can’t hope for more than that really. Thanks so much for reading today xx
This is just what i needed to read, thank you for a lovely post. I have been feeling fed up with breastfeeding my 14 month old toddler twins and wondering when they'll ever wean themselves but i should be cherishing this time before it passes!
I remember, 16 years ago the feed that was to be my last. It was a pretty emotional moment when son #2 rushed down the stairs and crashed into the room, to disturb and end the final feed. Not exactly as planned, but it had to end somehow! I have three sons, and feeding them was a huge challenge at the start (they were all big hungry boys) but through perseverance and sheer determination (ignoring pleas by the health visitor to try the bottle), I fed them all until they were around 1 year old. It was such a beautiful experience and once over any initial painful issues - extremely rewarding. They are now all healthy 6ft + tall young men:-)
Jacqui @ Mummy's Little Monkey/MLM Life & Style
I picked my five-year-old up the other day, and it just felt a bit strange; I realised I hadn't carried her for a long time - at least a couple of months. Then it hit me that she was too old to be carried around in my arms anymore, and it was the strangest feeling. Sadness - because I felt like that transitional moment had passed me by without me really being aware - but excitement too, to see what this next stage of our relationship will bring. Motherhood is a funny old thing, isn't it?! xx
You’ve done amazingly well and what a beautiful post, so honest. I only managed 4 months because of Toby’s silent reflux and I was so devastated the day I realised we’d come to the end of the road
Thank you so much :-) It wasn't planned to go on so long and became difficult to stop once we reached a certain point, I do think I was ready but it was still horrid all at the same time so I understand. I don't think it matters how long you do it for, giving it up is never going to be easy. Thanks so much for reading and commenting x
A very nice Post. I stopped breastfeeding my babies after they turned around 18 months. I didnt want to stop actually but It had started affecting my health. I am basically a skinny person and having food more than regular diet for more than first 6 months of delivery was hard for me.
21 months is amazing! Bella is my record- 15 months. Eva (eldest) stopped by herself at 7 months, I was forced to stop with Luka at 4 months and Elsie was 11 months. Bella was the only one who I had to stop as I felt the journey was over, and that was the one that hurt the most as she still wanted it. Looking back I wish I'd continued. Luka and Elsie both took bottles anyway so it wasn't really a wrench for them. Ah but the toddler years are so much fun, lots to look forward to! xx
Thank you so much! I was so not ready to stop, she is my last baby and I really miss it. You did incredibly well, you should be proud because it's not easy is it? Thanks so much for reading and commmenting x
I noted down the date of my last breast feed with my nearly four year old as it felt it was important to record it. I hope to do the same when I stop with me 5 month old.