13 months, 2 weeks and 4 days

I’ve written before (here) about breastfeeding and some of the trials and tribulations that go with it. I wrote about the fumbling uncertainty, the pain, the discomfort and the anxiety. I wrote about the breathtaking beauty, the deep, earthy love and the rightful sense of pride that come with growing and nurturing a baby through breastfeeding.

Today I’m writing something different. I’m writing a thank you and a farewell.

Over the last 3 or 4 months our wonderful little person has slowly been moving away from my breast. She has found enjoyment in other foods and drinks and she has found that she can be comforted and loved through other cuddles, smiles, teddies and laughter. For a long while she has only needed me once or twice in the night time when things are always that bit more difficult (something that never changes). And then, 4 nights ago she fed from me for the last time. Of course I didn’t know it was the last time, but I had known that we were nearly there. She had become less interested in the milk and more bothered about biting, playing and wriggling around and so I knew that our time was almost over.

It’s hard to describe how I feel now. I’m not going to pretend that breastfeeding has all been wonderful and perfect because it hasn’t. As I’ve said before, in the beginning it was one of the most difficult skills I’ve ever had to master, and then it has been at times tiresome, frustrating, awkward, irritating and occasionally still painful. But in spite of all of that, it’s a time that I’m immensely grateful for. It has been precious, delightful and beautiful. I have felt closer to our little girl than I have to anyone else in the world. I have provided her with life, health, enjoyment and protection from my own body. I have given her something of myself and I can’t over state how significant that feels.

I am proud of myself for what I have achieved, I will never under-estimate the deep, deep value of breastfeeding and I am eternally grateful that I have had this experience. It has shaped me as much as it has grown and developed my baby.

So thank you. And farewell to that leg of our journey. I’m excited about the next part.

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