Wednesday, 11 February 2015

I think it's time to stop breastfeeding

time to stop breastfeeding
This week, it's occurred to me that the time to stop breastfeeding is near.

The other day, during a feed, Baby A bit me. Three times. The first two times happened during an overnight/early morning feed, when I was really drowsy. So you can imagine the yelp I gave when I felt those razor-sharp teeth (he has four up the top and two down the bottom) clamp down on me. I cried out, which gave him a jump. Being a glutton for punishment, I put him back on for his usual breakfast feed later that morning, and the little monkey bit me again. This all happened on the same side, which was pretty gosh darn sore by this point. There was no blood but man, it hurt.
For all our feeds since, I’ve not been able to relax. I’m waiting for the next nip (oh dear, please excuse that pun).  It’s not as relaxing as it used to be. Maybe he was trying to tell me something?
So because of this, I’m at the point where I’m considering finishing breastfeeding both my babies. They are 14 months after all; we've done pretty well, the three of us. I always hoped to get to a year and then start tapering off.

The thought of stopping both excites me and breaks my heart at the same time.

It excites me because it represents a bit more freedom. Anyone can feed them now. They can now be bottle-fed, and become accustomed to a different form of comfort. My other two kids used their bottle for an evening feed until they were three and they loved the comfort and security the ritual offered. My babies are at the age where they can drink their bottles themselves, so it could be a new ritual to put in place that becomes a bedtime-cue. (btw two babies lying side by side holding their bottles makes for a very cute picture).

If I don’t breastfeed, I am not needed for bedtime, which could come in handy if I need to work late, want to see an early movie, or want to take my bigger kids somewhere for dinner.

It also excites me because my body can return to its normal state, where it just looks after me and not two other little humans.

I can once and for all ditch the maternity bras. Underwire at all times! And go back to my normal size (which changes my overall body shape, I find). That’s kind of exciting. This also gives me a bit more freedom with clothes.
time to stop breastfeeding

It’s also exciting because it represents the beginning of a new era – the one where we leave the baby months behind and begin toddler time. Which, yes, is really exciting.

But it also hurts my heart.

Why is it heartbreaking? Because these are 99.98% likely to be my last babies. And the end of breastfeeding for me signals the end of babyhood. Forever. The end of that magic little bond that only exists between me and my babies.  

I remember giving up breastfeeding with Miss P. I decided I was ready when she turned one. All went smoothly, and she never looked back once I gently removed each breastfeed. But once she was completely weaned, I missed those feeds terribly, and wished I’d held on for another couple of months.

I can’t believe I’m never going to feel the sensation of a baby feeding from me again. I love watching the contentment in their face, their mouths moving rhythmically to draw in the milk. Their little hands twirling about with my clothes, snuggling up close to me.  

But I’d never planned to feed extensively. I’m really happy to have been able to give them what they needed all these months - I know not all mothers can provide breast milk for their twins, so I am super grateful to have lasted this long. 

It makes sense to stop. I think these babies are ready. And I have all these reasons why it's a bit exciting, too.
But I’m not quite ready to pick a date yet.

What about you? Have you finished your last breastfeed of your last baby? I'd love to hear how you coped! Or maybe you've just begun your breastfeeding journey. How are you finding it?  

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