Breastfeeding - The End of the Road

09 January 2013
BabyG started daycare yesterday. As DH fretted about facing the days without his little friend, I was completely fine. It didn't bother me at all. It was just a step forward in his life, another milestone to be marked off...until that is, I bought some labels to sew in BabyG's clothes. And there, in the haberdashery section of Big W, it hit me. "Oh my god", I thought, "he needs labels in his clothes because he's starting his life without us!". It begins, I thought, first daycare, then school, and then he'll start going out with friends and learn to drive and go overseas and move out. Our baby! (Freaking out over major life events in retail establishments seems to be a habit of mine. I had a panic attack over my upcoming wedding in the Salvation Army store in Marrickville. "This wasn't supposed to happen", I thought as I struggled for air, "I was supposed to OD at 26, not get married and have kids").

In our hearts though, we knew BabyG would be fine, and he was. He's such a feisty, fearless kid it's hard to really worry, and sure enough, once he was in the door he was off at a great pace, running around meeting people and playing with the toys, wiggling free when we tried to hug him goodbye. No tears all day, we were told at pick up. We all knew he was ready for this. As an only kid, it's time he learnt to socialise a bit. He gets bored at home. It's time to put away the baby things, and BabyG has lead the way, taking this time to wean himself.

It's been coming for a while. For the last two months or so BabyG would only take a feed every couple of days, and that under sufferance, when I pulled him on to my lap, or if he woke in the night. And for the last two weeks or so - nothing. He won't take a feed at all. If I offer, he laughs, shakes his head, will even pull my top up to cover the bosom whilst giving it a "there, there, sorry, but it's over" pat. He's as affectionate as ever - he particularly loves sitting on my lap, just because he likes to be there - but he don't want no breastfeed. He's done, and I'm glad he chose it this way himself. The only part of our breastfeeding journey which was easy and natural was the end. I've written here previously about our huge difficulties breastfeeding, and that given our time over, I'm not sure I'd do it again.

But we made it to sixteen months, and I'm happy and grateful we had that; I'm not as suffused by warm maternal glow as the media would like to portray mothers, especially long(ish) term breastfeeders. It was lovely to have that bond, and once I made the decision at around six months to just keep going with this thing and see how long it lasts, I did wonder how it would end. We broke every rule in the "how to establish successful breastfeeding" book; BabyG had formula in hospital, and I expressed feeds so I could go out for a bit when he was three weeks old, and we comp fed from 6-12 months, and he had a dummy...and without any of those things, I doubt we would have made it this long. Wisdom also goes that kids don't wean themselves before age two by choice. Nonsense. I can assure you this is completely BabyG's choice, and I'm not pregnant, and haven't done anything differently to affect the milk, and offered, and he refused.

I wondered how it would feel when it ended. Slightly nostalgic - the TTC/pregnancy/birth/breastfeeding part of my life is over. But we are ready, really - I'm ready to move on to the next stage of my life, getting my career on track; and so is he, ready to be a big boy, not a baby anymore. He'll always be our baby, of course; but not one that needs or wants bosom anymore.


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