The Last Feed, The End of My Breastfeeding Journey
I wanted to feel like you needed me still, so much so that my heart broke. You're handling it like a real trooper and here I was a complete mess. My beautiful yet exhausting breastfeeding journey is finally coming to an end.
As I lay beside you and watched you toss and turn, I wondered if you knew how difficult tonight was for me too. I watched in the dimness, as your tiny hands twiddled unfamiliarly with the Little Pony soft toy you were hugging to sleep because last night was your last feed.
Over the last few weeks, we have been working towards the end of our breastfeeding journey. Gradually cutting down the feedings one at a time, we went from on-demand feeding to skipping morning feeds, then skipping the nap feeds and finally the night feeds.
At first, I relented to the odd middle of the night comfort feeding because there were tears and protest. Truth be told, every time I saw those tiny hands blindly reaching into my shirt, I would lose.
I know it in my head you just want a quick feed and nuzzle. I should say no, but I didn’t have the heart to deny you.
But the decision is set. You’re turning 3 in June, and together our breastfeeding journey has come a very long way. Healthy and eating well, you don’t even nurse for very long anymore. Deep down I know you’re ready, but am I?
Many times when you were inconsolable, I had to put up a brave front and not cry along with you. Instead, I carried and comforted you until you slept.
Eventually, it got easier and easier; your protests progressively shorter and shorter, until tonight. Deep down I am restless and anxious. I chided myself, “This is it. No more sacrificing coffees and alcohol, no more sleepless nights, no more ugly nursing bras. It’s finally happening!”
I thought about the annoying little things you would do: like wanting to feed at the most inconvenient of times. Or what about those cold tiny little fingers of yours creeping into my bra to fiddle with a free nipple.
As the memories flooded in, I remember everything: your first milk spray, your first milk coma and those eyes that smize in response to every feed. Tyra Banks would have been proud.
I would miss stroking your head as you nursed. And that funny habit you have, reaching up to touch my lips while you nurse. Oh, what funny conversations we had, even with your mouth full while you noded or gestured with your hands.
I am suddenly brought back to reality as you toss and turn while trying your best to settle down and sleep. Facing your back, I almost wanted you to turn around and ask in that tiny voice of yours if you could nurse again. My heart twisted in anguish, I wanted to feel like you needed me still. You’re handling it like a real trooper, and it’s a pity I can’t say the same for myself. I cannot believe my beautiful yet exhausting breastfeeding journey is finally coming to an end.
Caught off guard, you suddenly turn to face me in the darkness. I stilled, caught in a moment of weakness as your little hands grabbed my shirt. But instead of helping yourself to a feed, you snuggled in close to my heart and I relaxed as you drifted off to sleep. It was almost as if you knew just what I needed. Instead of feeling empty, tonight I DO feel needed.
As I made peace with the closing of this chapter in my life and I wiped away stray tears, I drifted off to sleep to the smell of the top your head.