The last time we breastfed, I cried

The last time we breastfed, I cried

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I could feel my supply dwindling, that ache inside dissipating. At this point, I knew my toddler was nursing for comfort and connection rather than for sustenance. Because, let's face it: the kid ate half a lasagna last night. He was barely getting any milk out, but rather than becoming frustrated, it was as if he knew this was the end, too. (I know weaning toddlers isn't always so easy.)

During our final session, as we cuddled and he fed, the rest of the house was quiet. My other kids were at school and the TV was off, the phone wasn't ringing. The dog was snoozing in the corner. I focused all my attention on every single detail of this, the last time. I felt so, so lucky to have gotten this far with breastfeeding. And yet, it had all gone by so quickly.

A movie reel of our breastfeeding journey played in my mind. The first time, in the hospital, when I felt so unsure he would latch on and get enough milk. Was he hungry? Wet? Tired? And then, ahhh, that sweet realization that it was actually working!

I remembered the day my doctor commended me on my son's weight gain early on in his infancy … how triumphant I'd felt, knowing he'd been exclusively breastfeeding and this was the result. I thought about the times we had nursed in kooky spaces – stuffed into hot cars, bathroom stalls, and changing rooms. Oh, and that phase when he cluster-fed seemingly every single minute, and I just wanted to give up so that my raw, bloody nipples would heal.

I thought about the time my son went on strike and refused to breastfeed– how terrified I felt thinking it was all over when I wasn't even close to ready. The rejection and confusion, and then the sweet release when he finally latched on and relieved both my swollen breasts and my mind.

A breastfeeding journey is nothing if not filled with highs and lows. And there, in that moment, on the last occasion we would ever nurse, tears fell freely down my face. I felt grateful, but deeply sad, knowing this was it. Never again would my little guy come to the breast. Sure, we'd remain connected. He's my son. But this one-of-a-kind connection was over.

All I wanted as we lay there together was to remember everything about the moment: his sweet, soft skin, the rise and fall of his breath, the softness of his hair, the sound of him suckling, and the weight of him. When he climbed off the couch I was at peace, although I also felt an ache in my heart. Oh, how it hurt to say goodbye.

My reverie was quickly interrupted by my toddler's demands to go outside. And so we moved on with our day and life has since moved on as well, as it tends to do.

Opinions expressed by parent contributors are their own.

Watch the video: Caring For Your Newborn (June 2022).

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