And then it was over…..
I’ve written about my breastfeeding relationship with Worm quite a few times. I’ve endured the questions, comments, the support and often accusations that comes with the territory.
Whenever anyone asked me how long would I be feeding for I replied, “Well I’d like to make it to 6 months, then it will be up to Worm” as the time passed my time lines extended….. 12 months, 18 months and then 2 years.
The 2 year milestone was particularly important to me, as the WHO recommends “infants should receive complementary foods with continued breastfeeding up to 2 years of age or beyond” So to think I was giving my child the absolute best start possible was increasingly important to me.
“Breast milk is the natural first food for babies, it provides all the energy and nutrients that the infant needs for the first months of life, and it continues to provide up to half or more of a child’s nutritional needs during the second half of the first year, and up to one-third during the second year of life” source WHO
Breastfeeding a toddler is never easy. There are the boob-robics that happen when the toddler wants to drink and play at the same time.
The middle of the very public area child pulling your shirt down demanding boobs (granted this photo was only taken 6 weeks ago when we were waiting to see the doctor)
and of course then there’s the whole wanting boobie to help relax the baby for sleep caper.
In recent weeks, I’ve felt the pressure to wean more and more…. But the tipping point came when Worm simply refused to sleep. Countless nights of being awake, sharing her bed, or sitting in the hallway trying to hold the door to her room shut has taken its toll.
All of a sudden the lovely evening snuggle became a chore for me – I came to look upon the whole evening routine with dread, thinking to myself ‘why should I persist with this, delaying the inevitable screaming’ I felt like I was simply delaying the torture. To make it worse a few months previously Worm had stopped letting me read a book to her before bed, so that vital part of her development had been cut out of the routine.
Last Friday I was invited to a girls night out with a lovely girlfriend, the catch was that I wouldn’t be home to put Worm to bed and The Farmer was going to do it for me. The few times that I have been away for bedtime we have always re-commenced feeding the very next night, or snuck in a late night feed to make up for skipping the bed time one.
For some reason I felt confident that this was a good time to stop. I went out, I came home to a quietly sleeping house. The Farmer had survived & worm was asleep. Come Saturday I just didn’t offer, Sunday she clawed at my chest asking whilst we were having some early morning cuddles but accepted me saying no quickly.
It’s now Wednesday. My worm is snuggled in behind me in my bed (LONG story involving rowdy neighbours, runaway dogs, febrile toddler & 11.30pm drives in the car -all whilst The Farmer is away again of course!)
When I asked her if she wanted to sleep in mums bed it was an instant yes (I’ll pay for that tomorrow night, but at 12am I wasn’t going to restart that battle) once in bed I was given a kiss & that is all. She hasn’t clawed, she hasn’t asked & she hasn’t jumped all over me.
I’m equal parts saddened & relieved by this. I really loved the bond that feeding gave us, I loved having a super power, and I loved that I gave her the best nutritional start I could.
I’m relieved that my body is once again mine. I can have a guilt free glass of wine. I can (if given the opportunity) go away for a few nights. I’m relieved that she is as happy and as accepting of the new relationship as I am.
But it means that its over….. And Worm is growing up, and that she won’t be my little girl forever……
That bit makes me very very sad.