Mostly with babies we’re focused on first times. First time doing this or that. But there are also last times. I remember the last time Rose stopped having exclusive breastfeeding poos, when she started solids. Sounds funny to remember that, but I do. Well we just reached another “last time” milestone. Rose stopped breastfeeding, almost exactly on her birthday, one week ago. I didn’t plan her one year milestone to be the end of it, but it turned out that way. The thing is, breastfeeding has been incredibly erratic for the last month, at least. It seemed that some days she just wasn’t interested. While we were in NZ she would sometimes refuse to feed, and sometimes she would just lie there with my boob in her mouth, not actually sucking. To me it looked like “out of respect breastfeeding”, a sort of “I don’t really feel like this but since mum seems keen I’ll go along with it”. Gee, thanks.
To be honest, my last remaining reason for breastfeeding her is that it’s been a useful tool for calming her when she’s very upset. Nothing works better. Breastfeeding has always instantly calmed her down and soothed her. But it’s been obvious that even that has become less important. A couple of times when she’s woken up in the middle of the night crying I’ve gone in to her and tried to breastfeed her. Lately she’s looked at me seemingly thinking, “What the hell are you doing?”
So I stopped. On the day after her birthday. I just stopped offering it.
Since then we’ve had a whole range of new behaviour and we’re starting to wonder if some of it might be related to the event. She’s been much more clingy – wanting lots of hugs, in fact lots of really tight, ‘holding on’ hugs. She’s also, in the last few days, woken up from her afternoon nap and been really weepy, crying, and upset, and the mood has stayed. This morning she got really upset when I turned the hairdryer on – and up until now she’s always loved the sound. More explicitly, she’s come up to me a few times and grabbed at my top.
Of course, all of this could be to do with the vast changes happening at the moment. She’s just gone through a huge growth spurt – she’s larger, faster and more vertical. She’s standing unassisted all the time, and today she started walking around with her trolley (not being interested in assisted walking before now).
And how do I feel? Pretty happy, actually. It feels freeing not to be so tied to her. I miss the closeness of the bond, but there are other ways of being close. It’s been a long, hard road, and I feel incredibly proud of my achievement, but it feels like the right time to move on.
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