My 22 month old is my last baby. His lasts are my lasts, and I’ll admit I’m trying to hold onto as much of the baby as possible. Yet this week, as my blood pressure medication changed, I have been told that my breastfeeding journey must come to an end. In the words of the legend that is Sinatra.
And now, the end is near
And so I face the final curtain
Well, breastfeeding faces the final curtain. In fact, the curtain has closed and the milk bar is shut. Yes, the last breastfeed has happened, and I’m not sure how I feel about it.
22 months is a long time, it’s double the time I spent feeding my eldest who had his last breastfeed at 11 months. So in theory I know that it is fine, that he feeds from me mostly for comfort and sleep rather than nutrition. That he was gradually weaning himself down anyway to one feed a day. In theory I am fine, emotionally less so.
Emotions run high
Whenever a big change happens, my emotions run high. I over-think, over analyse and then upset myself with the thought of things changing. Of my babies growing up, and growing up too fast.
Feeding my littlest one meant time for just me and him, which can be hard to find when you have two children running round. Time out to breathe, to sit together, to relish the cuddles, the softness of his skin and those beautiful blonde curls. It was our time, and our time alone.
I loved it.
Sitting in that rocking chair, watching his eyes flutter into sleep, feeling his little body relax as he slept.
It was my go to tool to use.
One that’s now been ripped away.
Today was hard
Today was hard. Even though I wasn’t feeding very often, or for very long, I was still feeding. It was still in my hands (and his) when it was time to stop.
I thought I had time to prepare but today I’ve not fed my baby at all. My baby has had his last breastfeed.
Today I’ve had to resort to other tips and tricks to soothe him, to relax him, to calm him and to help him sleep at nap time.
Today, on top of everything else, my baby is sick.
High temperature, vomit everywhere sick. Where he is searching out for the standard comfort that breastfeeding gives him and I can’t do that anymore.
The guilt from the enforced weaning.
The sadness from it taking longer than just popping a boob out to make it better.
The upset because it’s not been my decision, that it’s been taken out of my hands.
The thing is, when I look at it rationally, I know that he is getting enough love and cuddles from me without having a nipple in his mouth. He is getting enough nutrients and food to fill his little tummy and help him to grow. I know that by not needing to be breastfed anymore doesn’t mean that I am not needed anymore.
Except, as with all things parenting, right now I can’t look at it logically, or rationally. Right now I’m focusing on the emotional rollercoaster that comes with stopping feeding, that comes with the realisation that my baby is in fact no longer a baby. He is a walking, nearly talking, toddler.
In a few weeks I know I will be fine, I know that this will be our new normal. I’ll be busy stealing cuddles every which way I can and chasing him round like a loon. Nostalgically looking back on old feeding photos. Proud of all I achieved.
But for now, now I will take the time I need.