Something rather unexpected happened on Tuesday. It was totally unplanned and even though I feel sad about it, I am so pleased about how we reached the end of one of our many chapters together.
536 days ago I gave birth to a little girl.
That little girl started to grow…
She passed her first birthday…
And turned into a proper little girl. A walking, talking little girl.
But one thing that remained constant throughout that whole time was me breastfeeding her.
I always knew I was going to breastfeed but I never knew when I would stop. I assumed it would be before she was one and I was adamant that I wasn’t going to still be doing it when she was ‘walking’ and ‘talking’ because that would just be weird, but I did and it didn’t feel weird at all.
This photo was taken by Dad2BabyInsomniac on Saturday (he dressed her, hence the wellies!), and it was taken the day after her last breastfeed.
Does that seem weird to you? She isn’t a baby is she, but when I was breastfeeding her she still felt like my baby. It never felt any different to when she was a newborn. We reached 18 months but many people carry on longer, the WHO recommend 2 years and in many parts of the world it is the norm to carry on for far longer than that.
I wasn’t sure what to do when Iyla turned one - Yes, I Am Still Breastfeeding - everyone was making comments and even Dad2BabyInsomniac told me he thought I should stop but through the blogging community I found out that it isn’t weird to carry on after that age and I had the drive to carry on going despite what people thought. Luckily Dad2BabyInsomniac changed his mind, said he no longer found it weird and was happy to support me which was all I needed to hear.
I would have carried on for longer, but Iyla no longer relied on my milk and after having two days without it, it just felt like the right time to stop. It was mutual, neither one of us refused each other which I am pleased about.
I had a day of feeling really sad, I don’t even remember her last feed, although that is probably a good thing as it would have probably made me cry. I have a little movie running through my head of how it had changed since her first feed in the hospital. When her tiny little mouth couldn’t swallow the milk quick enough and it all just used to pour back out the other side to when she used to just stare at me with her big eyes with such a serious face. I made it my mission to try and get her to laugh, it took months of pulling funny faces at her but eventually she did and it was such a lovely moment.
I loved the way she used to grab my top with her hand and the way in which I was able to offer her such comfort but I do think she had got a bit too reliant on it and it was holding her back a bit. She was asking to go to bed / sleep 30 minutes after waking as she thought I would feed her and was asking for milk /cuddles all day by the end. Dad2BabyInsomniac spent two days looking after her this week and that was all it took to forget. She is on her fourth breastmilk free day now and I can see a real difference in her, she is a lot more happy and content plus she is a big fan of cow’s milk or ‘milkie’ as she calls it! My boob was a comforter to her and it was too tempting to be around me without wanting it but now she isn’t tempted anymore, she plays happily and cuddles me without asking for milk.
It has been a perfect end to a wonderful experience and now I’m excited about out next chapter together.
And anyone who is offended by breastfeeding photos should look away now because this is a boob being used for it’s primary purpose in life.