It feels weird to type that… “We finished breastfeeding.” I mean, I’m still not entirely convinced we have. It’s been a week since David last breastfed but it wasn’t a concious decision, more of a ‘he hasn’t asked and I haven’t offered,’ situation. But a week is the longest I’ve not breastfed in the 3.5 years since John was born and it very much seems like David has moved on, thrusting an empty bottle at me as opposed to tugging on my top.
So how do I feel? It’s hard to say as I think I’m still very much in denial. I don’t know what I expected to be honest. Maybe a, “congratulations on breastfeeding two kids for over 3 years,” card or perhaps a, “sorry for your kids growing up and leaving you behind,” card would be more appropriate? Either way it feels like the end of an era that is going somewhat unnoticed by everyone but me. Which isn’t unreasonable as no one is really aware that we were still breastfeeding; even Iain asked me recently if I still breastfed David as it had become much less frequent and only done whilst settling him for bed, if at all. Even David doesn’t seem phased by or to have even noticed the end.
I suppose it was inevitable when I went back to work full time. Most days I’m not there during the day so the opportunity to breastfeed is automatically forfeited. That combined with David now sleeping through most nights and only really having milk before bed, he has less opportunities to even ask to breastfeed. Since the boys started sharing a room we also got into a habit of giving David a little bottle of cows milk on those nights when he doesn’t settle after breastfeeding to allow John to get some peace to fall asleep too. And slowly that bottle has taken my place.
I guess I’m glad that David has taken it upon himself to end this journey. John was 3 when he decided he was a ‘big boy’ and breastfeeding was ‘for babies like David,’ a conclusion he came to with a bit of encouragement & discussion from myself. I kind of figured David would follow a similar route but this as much as anything shows me just how individual they already are. I’ve always said I’d like to allow the boys to self-wean and with that you sacrifice a say of your own, whether you too are ready for the end. I guess it was easier with John too as we were tandem breastfeeding, meaning that when he finished it wasn’t the end: This time though, there’s no more babies, now at least and quite possibly forever.
But it’s done. We’re finished breastfeeding. Aside from being in denial and a little bit upset at the finality of it, I’m also a little bit relieved. It’s been over 4 years now that I’ve not had my body to myself between pregnancies & breastfeeding; it’ll be nice to have that back, regardless of how much I’ll miss it. It means I can finally go back on the pill and hopefully once my hormones settle down I can become less reliant on antibiotic treatment for my cystic acne. Plus the addition of under-wired bras to my wardrobe has been welcomed with open arms, even if what they’re only holding a shadow of their former selves!