The End of an Era.
When Little R turned one, I stopped feeding her. She wasn’t really interested and I was more breastfeeding because I wanted to continue, rather than because she wanted to continue. I was feeding her in the morning because I was too lazy to go downstairs to make her a drink, and I would feed her before her morning and afternoon naps. Since finishing breastfeeding, Little R hasn’t asked for milk once, and she hasn’t been bothered that she is no longer able to have it. I, on the other hand, am gutted. The night that she had her final feed, I sobbed and I sobbed to my husband because I wasn’t ready to stop. I understand that people have different opinions on breastfeeding but for me, it was the greatest achievement of my life. I struggled so much at the beginning and it was husband that helped me through it. He was the one who would be awake with me until the early hours of the morning whilst I sobbed my way through nursing Little R. When my chest was engorged and painful, it was my husband who would hold Little R whilst I went for a shower to help relieve the swelling. For the first couple of months, breastfeeding was the hardest thing that I have ever faced, but I am now left heartbroken that this period of my life has come to an end. I have received much advice on breastfeeding, since the day that I found out I was pregnant, until the day I Little R had her last feed. People felt that it was acceptable to tell me how long to feed her for, whether I was feeding her enough, whether I had fed her for too long.
Now that breastfeeding has come to an end, Little R is much more independent. Whilst she was nursing, we could have cuddles in the morning and before naps but now Little R is becoming a little girl and no longer needs the cuddles that we used to have. Unless she is poorly, she spends all of her time exploring and playing, and she can entertain herself for such long periods of time, I rarely even get a backwards glance. It scares me how quickly she is growing, and my heart aches because she changes so much every day. She is unrecognisable as the newborn baby that I brought home just over a year ago. (She has much less hair now, too.)
Obviously, there has been a few benefits to stopping the breastfeeding. I no longer have to wear nursing bras and my lingerie collection has massively expanded. I can wear whatever I want to and my wardrobe is no longer planned around convenience – I sometimes even wear high neck tops! It also means that I can drink properly and in two weeks’ time, Little R will be having her first ever sleepover whilst I husband and I go away for the evening! I am a bundle of emotions: I am so excited to spend an evening away but I am also terrified: what if something happens?! If I had continued breastfeeding, however, we wouldn’t be in a position to give Little R away for the evening.
I am so glad that I fed Little R for as long as I did, and I can safely say that it is the greatest achievement of my life. I miss the baby that she used to be, but I am proud of the little girl that is becoming.