When Breastfeeding Ends

Where has the time gone

Parenting comes with so many milestones to be celebrated; that first sweet cry, the first time your baby crawls, and that first beautiful smile or laugh. All of these milestones are celebrated amongst family and friends and they bring so much joy. But what about the other milestones, the endings; when they get a “big kid” bed, when they tell you they no longer need a soother and the last time they breastfeed or take a bottle. These can be hard moments for Mamas; we feel this conflicted feeling of happiness for the growth and health of our babies but sadness and loss at the same time. Where did the time go, where is my baby?

“My goal was to have a fed baby and to maintain my mental health in the process. Breastfeeding ended up being the one and ONLY thing I felt confident in.”

My daughter and I are entering the end of our breastfeeding relationship and I didn’t realize how emotional I would be. She hasn’t breastfed in just over a week, on her own free will, and I feel like I am in a state of mourning. Because of my profession, I can truly say I never had my heart set on breastfeeding; I have a “fed is best” policy. I have seen the struggles, the challenges and the heart aches that come when breastfeeding doesn’t happen so I made it a point in my pregnancy to be open to whatever came our way. My goal was to have a fed baby and to maintain my mental health in the process. Breastfeeding ended up being the one and ONLY thing I felt confident in. In the first six months it kept me grounded, connected and somewhat stable. Even though we struggled with sleep and a baby who cried constantly, at least I could fall back on the fact I could feed her. It really was our source of calm in the chaos that is raising these tiny humans.

I used to sneak away from visitors, mostly because I needed a moment to sit in a quiet room and feeding my baby was the best excuse. It was our time to unwind together. The hundreds (and I mean hundreds) of hours I spent rocking in my chair feeding that little girl are now just fleeting memories. I know that there are reasons why these moments aren’t well documented, flashes aren’t conducive to getting you baby to sleep, but I still wish I took more pictures.  The feedings done in the dark and silent parts of the night are something I will remember forever. I honestly thought this was our new “normal” and that this would last forever, but it didn’t, it was very short lived. Now…don’t get me wrong, I don’t wish I was still waking up at 2am (and 3 and 4 and 5) but I do hold those sweet quiet moments so dear to my heart.  These moments were only shared between the two of us and I feel so lucky to have had this opportunity. Whatever way you choose to feed your baby, enjoy those quiet moments because they are fleeting and pretty soon just a perfect little memory.

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