I’ve just put the baby down to bed for the night. It’s the first time in fourteen months – the first time in his life – that his mother has settled him to sleep without breastfeeding him.
And it was really hard.
Not physically hard – he actually went off to sleep with considerably less fuss than I was expecting – but my heart was aching. Aching because I can’t believe we have reached this stage. Aching because I’ll never breastfeed this little boy again. Aching because we’ve had this amazing breastfeeding relationship for the whole of his life that he’s never going to remember. He’s obviously started to forget already because he didn’t even look for a feed tonight.
I won’t lie, I bawled my eyes out.
I know in a month’s time I’m going to be looking back on this night with a clear head and know in my heart of hearts it was the right thing to do at the right time. It’s something we’ve been planning as a family for some time. But just for now, indulge me a little time to mourn.
I’m sure my hormones are all over the place. My supply is. I’ve been sporting some rock hard comic book heroine boobs since our last feed three nights ago even though we cut down to one feed before bedtime well over a week ago. I’ve been doing some light expressing to ease the pressure and it’s only just this evening that they’re not ridiculously uncomfortable.
My husband has been playing an absolute blinder the last few weeks. Once we decided to set an end date for breastfeeding, he’s been taking the night shift to comfort and resettle the baby when (not if :)) he wakes. The man is dead on his feet God help him. He’s amazing.
We had our very last breastfeed on Thursday night. I made sure to soak up the experience because even though it really didn’t feel like this would be the last time we’d be doing this, I knew it probably would be and I wanted to take it all in. I spent the next two days down in beautiful West Cork with some really good friends to celebrate a friend’s wedding. It was my first ever overnight trip away from the baby and it was exactly the right way to spent it because I really enjoyed myself – catching up and spending really good quality time with people that I love. I really missed him but I knew he was is the safe and tender care of his dada. Although by the time day 2 rolled around and the very long road back to Dublin loomed before me, I was frantic to get home to see him. He was ready for bed when I finally got in the door and I was greeted with a bite on the arm and a succession of emotional slaps to my face to teach me a lesson for leaving him!
My husband was working this evening so it fell to me to put the baby to bed. I was quite anxious about it because now that I can’t comfort him by breastfeeding anymore, I had to figure out a whole new way to mother him to sleep. So I sang to him…and it worked.
I enjoyed breastfeeding my son so much. It was a privilege and a gift. Yes, we had our dark nights and bumps along the road but it was without doubt one of the most rewarding and fulfilling experiences of my life. I’m really going to miss it. I’m saying goodbye to this chapter in our mother/son relationship with a heavy heart but I also know the power of good it’s done us both.