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!
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