We are often reminded as parents how different our children are. In behaviours, characteristics, personalities and physical ability we see from a very early age just how different from each other our babes are.
One area I really didn’t expect to see so much difference, is in breastfeeding. I’ve written before about my breastfeeding journey with J and I find myself increasingly reflecting upon those last months we shared the experience together. I’m well aware time can paint a false rosy glow on experiences but I remember those final days of feeding very fondly.
J was a child who was never freely giving of affection and our warm milky cuddles were special for feeling that closeness. He often dozed off at the end of his feed and I’d enjoy some long quiet moments in the dimly lit bedroom, breathing in his smell and feeling his warm weight before putting him down to bed. He self weaned at about eighteen months old, and I remember being relieved to have my girls back to myself while grieving the loss of that regular physical connection with my baby, but also content that he had chosen to make the change to traditional dairy milk himself.
Fast forward two years and K is now just over a year old. My feeding journey has been quite different this second time around. He gained weight steadily and rapidly, was always a very efficient feeder and once past the newborn weeks, never fed to sleep.
The Husband and I have had a few conversations recently that K may possibly be our last baby. So I know that it’s possible he is the last child I will breastfeed which has me all sorts of upset. However I’m quite frankly just about done with him.
Whenever he sees my breasts, he whinges. When he’s brought to bed in the morning he scrambles over anyone in his path and just about climbs down my shirt. He’s rough, impatient, easily distracted in his feeding and grabs, tugs, shoves and moulds. I can’t shower with him because he tries to feed, I can’t go bra-less because he tries to feed, can’t wear singlet tops because he puts his hands down my shirt.
I know that I’m so lucky to be still feeding at thirteen months old, and some would argue if it’s bothering me so much, just to stop. I’m struggling a little with what to do. It feels selfish to stop purely for my own reasons, particularly when there is still benefit in his receiving breastmilk over other milk sources. And it makes me sad to think that I’m potentially reaching the end of my time as a Jersey cow.
For now, he has no interest in cows milk (unless it’s on Weet-Bix because #aussiekids) so it’s going to be a work in progress whatever way we decide. Wish me luck, if the finger tip sized bruises I have from this mornings’ feed are an indication, I’ll need it!
How did you know it was time to stop breastfeeding your children?