Our breastfeeding journey has ended.
It has been an emotional 2 weeks in my head. You know that feeling when you want something, then once you have it you aren't sure you want it anymore? Well, that is how I feel about the end of our breastfeeding journey. I wanted my body back to myself, I was ready to be done, and now that it is I am extremely emotional about it. I miss it in some ways, and in others it has been good.
I actually haven't ever shared much about nursing nor have I ever shared a nursing photo - but to me it is a much needed documentation in my life. A closure of some sort.
My other two boys were a struggle to nurse in the beginning and I fought long and hard to have that opportunity - but they finally caught on and thrived. They both eventually self-weaned around 10 months. This time around it was a piece of cake - Wrennyn loved nursing and he showed a lot of emotion when it was time to nurse, even up until the end. But I had wanted my body back. Mamas, it is ok to want your body to yourself whether you nursed for a day, a week, a month, a year - it is ok to feel like you want to let go of sharing your body. It isn't selfish, it is just best to do what you can handle emotionally and then let go of what you can't. For me I was ready to be done around 11 months, but Wrennyn still hadn't been a huge fan of solid foods so we continued to nurse. I began to talk to a client of mine who is a lactation specialist about his nursing habits and his food rejection. We came to the conclusion that perhaps he was satisfying his hunger by nursing, yet my body wasn't giving him what he needed to thrive and grow - he wasn't gaining lots of weight and he had thinned out a great deal when he became active with walking/crawling - it was clear that he needed more solids to really grow and thrive. So for both our sake it was time to slowly end our journey.
I still nursed him, but I cut his nursing time in half and then offered a bottle after he ate solids - at first he showed his anger, but soon he got used to the bottle and realized it was a great second option (and forget it sippy cups weren't even allowed in his sight - so bottle it was...) He began to like solids more and more and he also began to take the bottle without hesitation. It was clear that nursing had been holding back his appetite for food. I started to only nurse him at night since he was taking bottles. He was still waking in the middle of the night (we were co-sleeping - expect a post on that next...) to nurse and I just missing being part of the older 2 boys bedtime routine, so since he was taking a bottle without any problems it was time to be done nursing. I don't think I really knew that it was going to be the last time, it just happened, the next day I didn't offer it and he didn't attempt it. It was over. And I cried. And cried. It was a beautiful journey and filled with special one-on-one time with Wrennyn that I may not be able to offer him again, at least not for a long time. It was moments of sitting quiet and staring at him and praying over his future. It was moments that I will treasure. It is the end of a part of my motherhood that I most likely will never ever get to experience again, because we aren't sure that we would ever add to our family again. It is something that my body was able to do that many women don't get the chance to do. And now that time is closed, that season in my life is over, and I am not totally ready to mentally move on. I will miss it. I will always miss it, but it is really beautiful to feel like I know my body gave its all. That I really poured my soul into my boys in that first year and we made it! It is something I will always be proud of.
I had a lot of internal guilt about wanting my body back. I felt like it made me a horrible person and mom to want to feel like me again and not have someone depending on my body. I just really want to express that it is ok to want your body back to yourself, motherhood is hard and raising multiple kids is even more stressful it really keeps you from having a spare moment to yourself. So it is ok to ask for your body. It is ok to be done giving some times. If it is what helps you feel like yourself again, it is worth letting go of. That doesn't mean it is easy to let go, but it doesn't mean it is wrong either.
I really feel like my baby blues were on and off again that first year. It is something I don't talk about or voice - but I do believe it is a very real thing. For the first time since having Wrennyn I finally feel like I am becoming me again. Me as a mother, a friend, and very importantly me as a wife. I finally feel like I have a little bit of control back in my life and it is beautiful.
Breastfeeding was a beautiful 13 1/2 months that I will treasure deep inside of me always.