Extended Breastfeeding – The End

As I have spoken about before, I didn’t set out to do extended breastfeeding, it just happened naturally. And now it has just stopped, pretty much naturally too.

Syd was a boob fan from the word go, he latched on moments after birth and didn’t let go for an hour or two. My elder two had self weaned by 14 months, no sign of that with Syd. We were still going strong at three, and I was starting to wonder if he would still be feeding when he starts school just after his fourth birthday – for some reason this made me feel a little uncomfortable, even though I know it shouldn’t!

 

breastfeeding

150 weeks ago?! That sounds a lot longer than it feels, but this seems to be the only photo I have of Syd feeding!

 

The past few months it had slowed a lot though. He rarely asked for a feed in the day, and we were down to a feed before sleep, and the very occasional night waking.

Still he got upset if I suggested we try not having any at bedtime, and having got this far down the road I really didn’t want it to be a forced ending.

Then a couple of weeks ago he had a stomach upset, that night he didn’t want any milk, not surprisingly. Nor the next two nights, even though he was feeling better. So I thought maybe this is a good time to stop. The fourth night he wanted ‘boob’ as he calls it. I gently said no and distracted him and with barely any fuss he forgot about it and went to sleep. And that was it really.

He still asks some nights, briefly, and I just tell him we have stopped that now but that we can still have all the cuddles and snuggles, and he seems happy enough about it. If he had seemed distraught I maybe would have re-thought, but I think he had got to the point where he was ready and was asking out of habit rather than any real need.

So we are done. I didn’t know his last feed was his last feed, which is a good thing as I think I would have found knowing incredibly emotional. He is my last baby. I will not feed another child and I will miss that closeness, that quiet one to one time, the little heads – snuffling and content.

But he was ready and in all honesty so was I. His lack of need for it had made him a restless feeder of late, which could get uncomfortable as he latched on and off to chat between mouthfuls.

After 3 and a half years of breastfeeding it will be nice to reclaim ownership of my own body, although of course that is hardly total, I still have a small child who treats my body as an extension of his own – he still falls asleep with his hands tangled in my hair, he still spends the day clambering on and off of my lap, he fits neatly (if heavily) on my hip when carrying him.

My big two still hug me, the 11 year old will occasionally park himself briefly on my lap before realising at almost 5 foot tall he is outgrowing it and moving to sit adjacently. And my eighteen year old hugs me, then mocks me for being shorter than her.

When all the clinging, clambering attention of a three year old feels briefly too much, I remind myself this is the last time, and how quickly he will join the big two in needing me in a different, less physical way, and how much I will miss the sticky cuddle days when they are gone.

It all goes too fast doesn’t it – even an awareness that Syd’s pre-school years are peppered with lasts – last breastfeed, last nappy, last first day at school soon to come – doesn’t allow me to slow it down, even as I try to cling harder to the memories, the time still flies, faster than ever I think.

The end of an era. My poor breasts will never regain their once pert glory I fear, over 5 years of breastfeeding in the last 18 years have seen to that, but they have grown my babies well and for that I am grateful.  And once they have finished adjusting to a milk free size, I shall treat them to some new bras as due reward,

Love Miss Cisco XXX

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29 Comments

    • March 27, 2015 / 10:25 am

      It is isn’t it – it was the right time for us, but I still feel sad xx

  1. March 27, 2015 / 11:07 am

    This is exactly how I felt. I fed my son until he was a few months past 3. Knowing I would never breastfeed another child made it incredibly emotion!al for me although the transition to cuddles and snuggles without milk was a fairly easy one. It was a beautiful experience and I’m so glad that I was able to experience it! All the best!

  2. March 27, 2015 / 3:06 pm

    I breastfed much longer than I had intended to. I was waiting for self weaning – it never really happened, so I had to put my food down after several years. Was kind of sad though.
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  3. March 27, 2015 / 5:42 pm

    I think it is amazing how long you can feed for, or feed the baby for, well done you x
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  4. March 27, 2015 / 8:52 pm

    It sounds like the perfect gentle ending. We are struggling at the mo. I think I have a blocked duct or something and the pain is awful. I really don’t want my last breastfeeding relationship to come to an end like this 🙁
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  5. March 28, 2015 / 12:59 am

    My son turned into a calf around 13 months. An energetic calf. He nursed on his hands and knees while rocking back and forth could not be satisfied. The day he spat out my nipple and looked me in the eye with a grin was a little bit sad, but he wasn’t getting enough and I was shrinking at a scary rate. Anyway he loved the bottle which required little sucking and pretty much lived on toddler formula and toothpaste for the following year! Lovely post Sonya!
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  6. March 28, 2015 / 8:11 am

    What a lovely post. Glad that you managed to feed him for as long as he wanted and the time felt right for both of you. It is still sad when it comes to an end, but there’s still so much of him to enjoy. x
    Sarah MumofThree World recently posted…The general knowledge quizMy Profile

  7. March 28, 2015 / 2:07 pm

    Ah this brought a little tear to my eye, very beautiful. I missed breastfeeding greatly when I forced the stop after a year, I will always regret doing that. Although, it was so much better really for her and me (she slept practically attached to me all night) and it was fab to get my body back. But she was terribly upset and I feel so bad about that x
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  8. March 28, 2015 / 2:12 pm

    You totally got me with this – esp as I now realise I have NO photos of my beautiful babies feeding. Devastation! Enjoy getting your freedom back and well done on keeping it going so long – wonderful.
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  9. March 29, 2015 / 2:34 pm

    We have just stopped here too…….I wanted to continue until Sebby was two but a bout o thrush mean’t it was really painful and Sebby just didn’t seem bothered anymore either. I thought bra shopping would be fun but it hasn’t been………a bit gutted actually
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  10. March 29, 2015 / 6:33 pm

    It must be a bitter sweet end of an era for you but you did fantastically well to feed for so long. I hope you enjoy treating yourself to some lovely underwear xx

  11. March 29, 2015 / 9:00 pm

    It is the end of an era – and you definitely deserve to treat yourself to some new bras! I’ve only breastfed for one child (my other is adopted) and I feel privileged to have done so.
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  12. March 30, 2015 / 1:15 pm

    Awww, it is sad isn’t it, such a big end of an era. My youngest never seemed to want to stop either…and then just did and I was slightly upset.
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  13. March 30, 2015 / 4:24 pm

    I remember when I finished with Little A after she’d just turned two… it was a very bitter sweet experience. Well done you for going as far as you did – you should be very proud of your boobies, they’ve certainly earn’t a very good rest now! And well done for spotting the opportunity to stop – good intuition. Well done you! X
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  14. March 31, 2015 / 7:01 am

    It’s brilliant that you were able to breastfeed for so long and I can totally understand how lovely that one-on-one time with Syd was. Our children grow up way too fast.

  15. March 31, 2015 / 10:18 am

    Wow well done managing to breast feed for so long, My milk thinned out and F lost so much weight we had to start solids early so I only got to 5 months. X
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  16. April 2, 2015 / 11:54 am

    I always thought I would breastfeed for longer then I did but Hayden’s allergies stopped me at about 4 months. I didn’t know what he was allergic too so he was transferred to special formula. Maybe with the next little one. Well done sugar x
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  17. April 20, 2015 / 9:32 pm

    Reading these breastfeeding posts makes me so melancholy. Your amazing breasts… they will absolutely deserve some lovely new bras, some luxury moisturiser and some kind words. They’ve done an incredible job nursing and nurturing your children.

    It all does go so horribly fast, doesn’t it? Gretchen Rubin’s, “the days are long, but the years are short” rings so loud and so true. Ah, melancholy, melancholy, melancholy. Christ, I might go and fetch myself a JD now. Lovely post xx
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