As Parents There Is Nothing More Powerful Than The Stories We Share..
Welcome back to the #BreastfeedingStories guest post series, an opportunity to bring together stories from other mums who have breastfeeding experiences that they would like to share.
This weeks guest post features Squirmy Popple who shares her experience nine months in to breastfeeding her daughter, and dealing with the emotions and experience of coming to the end of their breastfeeding journey.
My baby is losing interest in breastfeeding, and it makes me kind of sad.
She’s only nine months old, and I’m hoping to keep breastfeeding her until she’s at least 12 months – if she’ll let me. But she’s just not that into breast milk these days. And I totally get that. Why have milk when you could have baba ganoush instead? Or a spinach and cheese frittata? Or Mexican-style black beans with avocado? As a fellow food-lover, I can see where she’s coming from. Food is fun and you can squash it between your fingers. Milk? Been there, done that.
And yet, I can’t help but feel hurt (emotionally) when she rejects my breast, and hurt (literally) when she bites me on the nipple – her not-so-subtle way of telling me that she doesn’t want a drink. Doesn’t she know how much she needs breast milk, even now that she’s eating solids, to help her grow? Doesn’t she appreciate the effort that I put into this whole boob feeding thing?
It hasn’t always been easy. Like most mothers, the first few weeks of breastfeeding were a blur of cracked nipples, leaking and endless feedings. I got a nasty bout of mastitis during a heat wave and spent days drenched in a fever and weather-related sweat. My baby fussed at my breast constantly, at first because my milk was coming out too fast, and later because it wasn’t coming out fast enough. She gained weight slowly, and I wondered if there was something wrong with my milk (there wasn’t – she’s just petite). Feeding in public was a nightmare, because she found literally everything around her more interesting than my boob.
But we persisted together, because while breastfeeding can be hard, it can also be great. I love the closeness of it – how she falls asleep, milk-drunk and content, against my body. I love how convenient it is, since I can whip out my boobs whenever and wherever without having to worry about sterilizing anything. I love how breastfeeding burns up to 500 calories a day, meaning I can eat ALL THE CAKE and never gain an ounce.
Someday, probably sooner than I’d like, my daughter will give up breast milk for good. I’ll miss our milky moments together, but I’ll have to remember that’s it’s not personal. She’s just ready to move onto more delicious things. I can retire my boobs at that point, knowing that they’ve served their purpose.
“You’ve done well, ladies,” I’ll say. “Now let’s get you into a proper bra, the kind that doesn’t have snaps that I’m going to forget to re-attach several times a day. You’ve supported us so much over these breastfeeding months – now let me support you. Literally. With an underwire.”
If you’ve got a breastfeeding story you would like to share as part of the series please get in touch with me at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter. I’d love to help you share your #BreastfeedingStories.