In the beginning breastfeeding was easy. She latched on straight away, she didn’t fall asleep like her sister did. She was gaining weight. There was no pain. I couldn’t believe how easy it was this time around. It was amazing.
Then came feeding in public and the fear and stress. It took me quite a while to get over that hurdle. If I was feeling particularly nervous and/or organised I would pump before leaving and take a bottle out. But I got there. A few months in and I no longer sat in quiet corners to feed, I soon realised that with layers no one could see anything. I would feed where and whenever I was.
We got into a nice little routine for the first couple of weeks, maybe months, it’s all a blur. I expressed and went to bed early, her dad would give her a bottle and I would catch up on sleep.
Then we stopped doing it for a few days, I hadn’t washed the bottle, things needed sterilising. It was easier to get my boob out and be done with it. We got lazier and lazier and gave her bottles less and less.
Then came the bottle refusal. I was the only one who could feed her. It was overwhelming and all consuming. I felt touched out and wanted, strike that, needed a break. I was struggling. It felt never ending. There was no way out.
Weaning didn’t help, she wasn’t interested. She was a boob monster and that was that.
I almost gave up baby led weaning, everyone told me I should spoon feed her to fill her up, then she wouldn’t want my milk as much. I was desperate and almost listened. Almost.
Then something happened. All of a sudden she realised food was good. When she pulled at my top I would offer food or a drink from a bottle with a straw instead. She breastfed less and less. Eventually going down to just a nighttime feed.
She was almost ready to stop. My never ending journey was almost over and I wasn’t sure I wanted it to end.
The last time I fed her was the day after her first birthday. That’s three bedtimes with no breastfeed. She hasn’t missed it at all. She hasn’t pulled at my top once and has gone to bed with no problems. I’m not sure how I feel about it. I’m proud, I made a year which is amazing. I’m excited, I can get my life back, I don’t have to worry about being home for the bedtime feed. But I’m also sad, sad that she hasn’t missed it. Sad that my baby is growing. Sad that I’ll probably never breastfeed again.