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.0