Tonight I fed you for the last time. Don’t worry, you’ll still be getting solid food and coconut milk and all of your favourite things but this is the last time you’ll have my milk. This moment has been gradually approaching for months and I know in my heart that you are ready to stop now. I think that really you have been ready for a while and that it was me that needed to carry on. I really needed you to keep needing me. I wanted to keep providing you with the one thing that only I can provide. Or so I thought. But as I sit here now, holding your soft warm little body in my arms, I realise that it’s not true. There are so many other things that only I can do for you, because I am your Mum and that is something that nobody else can ever be.
Sixteen months ago I never thought that we would make it to this point. I can remember that very first feed in the birth centre like it was yesterday. If I concentrate really hard I can even feel the exact tiny weight of you on my chest as you latched on and snuggled in for the first time. My beautiful baby girl taking to something so natural, so perfectly. It was only when the gas and air wore off that I noticed that it began to hurt. We stayed in the birth centre so we could get to grips with breastfeeding and there were so many amazing women there who helped me and taught me how to give you what you needed. I cried almost every feed for the first few weeks; it hurt so much but I so badly wanted to be able to do this for you. I’m so happy I struggled through and we got to a point that we were both happy. I have no idea how many hours of your life I have spent feeding you, and I can’t say that I have loved every minute of it but I can say that I have loved most of them and that they were all worth it.
Some of my favourite moments of Motherhood so far have been to do with breastfeeding you. I will always remember the way that when you were a couple of months old you started to unlatch mid feed just so you could look up and give me the most amazing milky grin as if to say ‘thanks mum’. I’ve loved all those cuddles at the end of the day, just you and me, after you stop babbling and you just stare up at me while you feed with your amazing blue eyes and you are so unbelievably content. There have been so many times when you have been tired, sad or hurt and the only thing that could really make you feel better was me, my cuddles and my milk. That is so amazing to me and I’ll always hold onto that.
There is a huge part of me that is sad that this journey has come to an end. I’ll miss these moments and I know that you will seem even more grown up to me now. Breastfeeding has been one of the few consistent things in your life since you were a newborn and I know that I’ll blink and suddenly you’ll be in your school uniform excited for your first day.
I’m glad we have ended on a high. We haven’t ended because of mastitis, teething or biting. We worked through all of those problems together and made it through each and every one of them. We have stopped because we are both ready to move on now. Although like I said, you more than me. In a way it makes it harder that we are ending in a positive place, because there’s almost no reason to stop, but my gut is telling me that it is time now. I can’t keep you a baby forever, no matter how much I would like to.
We’ll still have our cuddles before bed and we’ll always have moments and things which are just ‘ours’. I know that this won’t change anything, and we did so well to make it to this point but I also know that I am going to feel sad for a little while. I’m holding back the tears now the same way that I used to at the beginning of our journey but for different reasons. Breastfeeding has been a huge part of being your mum, but it’s time to move onto the next chapter now.
But please, I need you to need me, baby girl. Just for a little while longer.