The end of breastfeeding… for good

It took me a long time to sit down and compose this. Sure, it’s easy to celebrate the first smile, the first word, the first step. What do we do with their lasts? The last time they need our help for a shower, the last time they need a bedtime story, the last time they are small enough to be carried, the last time they need us to tuck them in and kiss them goodnight. I shudder as think of those lasts as I document the first ‘last’.

I’ve finally stopped breastfeeding.

We actually stopped in August, over the Jubilee long weekend. He was two months to four years old then. I’d been asking him when he’d stop, and he told me when he turns four. But I guess he changed his mind.

It happened overnight, so I was not mentally prepared that he would stop, just like that. I mean yes, he’s old enough to stop and I should have seen it coming. But as with every little thing about kids, mama’s heart is never really ready to let it go.

Truth be told, I was getting a little sick and tired of him nursing at night, which explained why I was prompting him to stop then. Yet, when it really happened, I felt a deep sense of loss. I hadn’t cherished that last time – because I didn’t know it was the last.

Over that long weekend, I gently probed if he’d like to have a last nursing session with me. I needed that closure, and I was sure he wouldn’t start wanting to nurse again just because of this one time. I knew he was ready to let it go. I was, too. But I wanted to experience it, for the last time, knowing it was the last. It was important to me.

I made sure I took the time to hold him close, smell his hair and gaze at that not-so-little face as he nursed for the last time. I was grateful that he gave me closure. After that last nursing session in my bed, he took his panda bear and walked off to sleep in his own bed (yes, he decided he’d take two steps towards independence together over the same weekend). And that was it. The last drop of breast milk.

I felt so relieved when my firstborn stopped breastfeeding a week before she turned four years old (you can read about my extended breastfeeding journey here) because tandem breastfeeding was just so tiring. But now that I’ve breastfed for a grand total of seven years and a month, it’s almost surreal that my breastfeeding journey has finally come to an end.

It was a painful journey at first and I never expected that I’d last for seven years on this journey. I was actually aiming for three months, six months at best! 😀

Apart from the pain that I remember, I know I’ll never forget the two most memorable things about breastfeeding – the contentment on the baby’s face after a feed,

My boy when he was almost 2 months old, after a nursing session.

and the joy nursing brought to my children and I.

My girl when she was four months old. She’s seven YEARS old already! Time has flown by!


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8 Responses to The end of breastfeeding… for good

  1. Adeline says:

    I can understand how you feel, because I was unprepared for Noah to agree not to be nursed anymore! I also had a “last nursing session” a few days after he agreed to stop, because I wanted to savour every moment of that last session. I still miss nursing him, and I’m really sad because he can’t remember that I used to nurse him! I stopped at 33 months, and 7 months down the road, he doesn’t remember the entire experience at all, even when I showed him photos. Sob. I wish I could have continued, but I stopped so that I could start my IVF treatment, and I pray I’ll be able to have more kids, so that I can experience it again.

  2. Grace says:

    What a lovely post! I almost cry reading this one. Well done, mommy!

  3. Joyce Lee-Bates says:

    Thanks for sharing this lovely post. You’re an inspiration! I have only one child at the moment and at 26.5mo now, he’s still breastfeeding. Honestly, I cannot imagine him still breastfeeding near 36mo! I hope he will let me know when the day comes that he decides to stop. I believe, I need a closure too. I can’t believe this, my eyes are actually stinging with tears when I type this. *sobs*

  4. Carol Lim says:

    My littlest one only comes to look for my boobs (and the buttons on my pjs) when he needs comfort, eg when he gets upset, or sometimes (but increasingly less so), for the fun of it. The frequency has dropped from daily, to every other day, sometime stretching for up to three days. I think the end of my bfg journey is near. My hubby does remind me when I moan about having to get up from bed, go to the boys’ room to carry him over to our room (because he has woken up for whatever reasons and only wants me), and nurse him back to sleep in the middle of the night – that I will feel sad and lost the day he really decides he doesn’t want to nurse anymore. And yes, my older boys don’t remember being nursed. Needless to say, they have forgotten how to nurse as well. Thanks for a very touching post.

    • simplymommie says:

      Thanks Carol, it’s really bittersweet, I can so understand. But eventually we’ll have to accept that they’ll grow up and it’ll be another phase for both them and us!

  5. Michelle (WonderMa) says:

    As a mom, I felt it. I have two lovely daughters and the young ones just turned 9months two days ago. I’m still breastfeeding her unlike the first one which I only breastfed for 1 month. I really appreciate breastfeeding now and I know how you are feeling right now. Thank you for posting this. Very lovely.

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