Breastfeeding // Is this goodbye?

goodbye to breastfeedingDear Breasts,

You’ve done well. You’ve served your purpose for three and a half months now, and I couldn’t be prouder of you.

From the early days with Indy suckling; the tongue-tie, the cracked nipples, the bleeding. I slathered lanolin cream all over you and you healed beautifully. You got used to be pulled and sucked (for what felt like) hundreds of times a day.

We got through the blocked duct saga swiftly with the help of Dr Google. I thought child birth was uncomfortable, but milk stuck in ducts? Ouch! Thank goodness for cooling gel pads and hot baths.

We reached the “Holy 8 weeks of breastfeeding” stage, where the uncomfortableness of you filling with milk passed. Where I no longer curled my toes during every feed, dreading the moment Indy would de-latch himself so I’d have to re-latch, and feel the sharp pain course down my body once more.

And when we hit 12 weeks of breastfeeding I actually started to enjoy the experience. The little hand that would rest itself on the top of my breast as if to say ‘this is mine’. The look of love I’d receive while Indy guzzled away. The smile he’d give me, after de-latching with milk dribbling down his chin, that said: “Thanks Mama! I love you! This is the good shizzle!”.

You coped so well with a baby who wanted to feed every hour… Sometimes every thirty minutes. You did it. You continued to provide.

But now our time is coming to an end.

You aren’t full and brimming with milk anymore. You don’t remind me that it’s time to feed with your achy heaviness. You don’t scream “milk me!” when Indy is in the sling, snoozing next to you, as you once did.

I knew this time would come. I knew we couldn’t continue at the pace we were going. I knew we’d need to cut back at some point so I could get something that vaguely resembles sleep.

To be able to share feeds.

To be able to have a life again.

To be able to leave the house without worrying I’d have to whip you out in the alleyway on my way to pick up the Toddler from Nursery. Without having to find a café or park bench every hour to feed a hungry baby. Basically, without spending every minute in public with you out on show!

But I’m sad.

For weeks I strongly disliked breastfeeding. I hated the pain. The requirement to be constantly needed. Solely needed.

I’d lost part of my identity. I was a prize dairy cow. I could only wear clothes that were boob-exposing friendly. I couldn’t eat certain foods. I couldn’t leave the baby with the Husband, or Grandparents, for more than an hour.

And now we have slowly weaned onto the bottle, I am feeling more myself again. I’m happier because I’m getting more sleep. I’m happier because I can relax and have time to myself once more. I’m happier because I can spend more time with the Toddler that doesn’t involve watching CBeebies on the sofa while I feed for hours on end.

It’s bittersweet.

I spend every feed wondering whether this will be our last. Hoping that it won’t be. Hoping for one final feed.

Because when it ends, so does a part of Indy being a baby. Being so tiny. So dependent. And it means the next chapter, which is both exciting and heart-breaking. Before long he’ll be almost-three like the Toddler; running around, giving me grief, driving me bananas… amazing me with his cleverness. Walking. Talking. Jumping. Spinning.

I feel so bonded to Indy. And Breasts, you have helped that bond. Guided it. Encouraged it. I missed out on the closeness of breastfeeding with the Toddler. And it is so special. Something no one else but you can experience with your baby.

So thank you Breasts:

Thank you for providing Indy with all the nutrition and good stuff over the past fifteen weeks.

Thank you for keeping going, even when times were hard and all I wanted you to do was stop.

Thank you for letting me have the breastfeeding experience I so craved to have after breastfeeding didn’t work out with the Toddler.

Thank you. I’ll never forget the 3am snuggles.

Hannah

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17 Comments

  1. 5th October 2015 / 6:54 am

    You’ve done amazingly well Hannah. I wrote a similar post (although not so eloquently) the other day. Gabe is only 7 weeks but I think the end is coming for us too. We did what we could though, and should both be proud of ourselves.

    • 5th October 2015 / 7:34 pm

      Most definitely! We did it! And we both wanted to so desperately, so the goal was achieved! xxx

  2. 5th October 2015 / 7:37 am

    You done amazingly Hannah. You should be very proud of your strength and determination to carry on when it was hard. This made me a bit teary, those 3am sleepy snuggles are a distant memory for me now but I remember that they were perfection at the time. You’ve given Indy the best possible start but don’t be sad, this next bit will be good for all of you as a family. Enjoy every second. Xx

    • 5th October 2015 / 7:35 pm

      Thanks beautiful xxx

  3. 5th October 2015 / 7:45 am

    Well done for feeding for this long! Don’t think just because you don’t ache and you’re not full that you’re running out of milk though! It’s your bodies way of regulating the milk and your boobs will become soft and almost feel empty. But there’s still a tonne of milk in there!

    • 5th October 2015 / 7:40 pm

      Ooh that’s interesting and really good to know Cathy – thank you! xxx

  4. 5th October 2015 / 7:56 am

    Such a beautiful post. I can relate on so many levels. We’re now at four weeks and I feel like it’s starting to get easier but I’m also hating the fact my husband feels really left out as he helped so much with my daughters feeds first time round (I couldn’t breastfeed with her). I’m going to look at trying express, though have no idea how to store etc!! Just so he can have some time with him and give me a little more freedom (hopefully!).

    Well done you for sticking at it so long, there are occasions where I have really wanted to throw in the towel!!! X

    • 5th October 2015 / 7:41 pm

      Thanks Kay – I know what you mean re Husband’s feeling left out. Nick has been the same. It’s been lovely to let him feed Indy 🙂 xxx ps Yay! So glad breastfeeding is going well for you this time round too 🙂

  5. 5th October 2015 / 9:59 am

    I cried. Gosh, what a lovely ode to the booby post!! It’s such a magical time and as with many ends and starts through parenting it reminds you how quickly it is all passing by. High five mumma milk! x

    • 5th October 2015 / 7:42 pm

      Please don’t cry! Gargh! I bawled my eyes out whilst writing this! Nick came to bed like “are you ok?” while I’m sobbing all over Indy during dream feed! xxx

  6. 5th October 2015 / 10:00 am

    Awww *sob sob* lovely post, well done for feeding him for three months. We’re nearly at four now and I’m dreading stopping. (Although I’m hoping to go a year) that closeness is amazing isn’t it? You’ve given him the best posibke start, and for that you need ro be proud of your girls 🙂

    • 5th October 2015 / 7:42 pm

      The closeness really is fab 🙂 Good luck with the year lovey! xxx

  7. 5th October 2015 / 11:17 am

    Well done Hannah, it’s no easy feat getting to 15 weeks, it’s properly tough. We’re only on week 2.5 yet and I’m wondering how long yo go. Still early days for us yet. I’m always hungry or thirsty! 🙂

    • 5th October 2015 / 7:43 pm

      Oh bless you! I know what you mean though – the early days I was downing pints of water like a student downing snakebite 😉 xxx

  8. 5th October 2015 / 1:43 pm

    Awww this makes me feel emotional! Xx

    • 5th October 2015 / 7:43 pm

      Bless you! Thanks for your comment lovey xxx

  9. 7th October 2015 / 7:25 pm

    Hannah this is a beautiful post sweetie. I remember this time with Toby, although the reasons were a bit different but I can remember every feeling you describe. I’m so happy that you got the positive experience you wanted and the next stage will be just as lovely (but hopefully plus more sleep!) xx

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