Bye-bye boobies: the end of our breastfeeding journey

I didn’t expect it to end quite so suddenly. One day Sophie was happily breastfeeding before she would settle down for naps and bedtime. Then one night, she declared “no booby, Mummy” and that was that. I wish I’d known the end was coming. If I had known, I would have cherished the snuggles and that very last feed, instead of checking Twitter on my phone. I wouldn’t have said no to that last “wan’ booby, Mummy” and distracted her with cake. We were out and I was too self-conscious to feed my toddler in public. If I had known, I would have picked her up and treasured the moment.  I wouldn’t have cared what anyone else thought. The last time came and went and I never knew it until it was too late.

 

A picture of Sophie breastfeeding with a stop circle over it. "Bye-bye boobies: the end of our breastfeeding journey"

The sadness at our breastfeeding journey coming to an end has surprised me with its intensity. I didn’t expect to feel this way. I didn’t feel this amount of sadness when Jessica stopped breastfeeding at seventeen months. Maybe it was because the end came so naturally with Jessica. It was anticipated and expected. I was able to treasure those moments, knowing that they were coming to an end. Maybe it was because I was pregnant with Sophie at the time and knew that a new journey would hopefully start.

 

It wasn’t as if I always enjoyed our breastfeeding journey. Sophie had moments of being a little vampire sometimes. Breastfeeding wasn’t always pleasant but it was something that I, and I alone, could do for her. It was the one thing that I knew I could do. Something that I knew I was good at. It was the biggest positive that I held on to during those months of struggling through postnatal depression. A bond that we had that no-one else could have. To have that bond so abruptly broken breaks my heart. It reminds me that my baby girl is growing up and that she is becoming increasingly independent. When she stopped breastfeeding, she took another little step away from me.

 

I’ve shed a few tears over it and will give myself a little time to grieve this little change. No doubt I will readjust to it. I’ll open my wardrobe again and be able to choose an outfit without wondering whether I can feed easily whilst wearing it. Five years of being either pregnant or breastfeeding has led to a fairly restricted wardrobe on that front. I don’t think I still own a bra that isn’t either a maternity or nursing bra! A bit of retail therapy might be needed!

 

I will miss the times of Sophie singing “hello boobies, I love boobies” and saying “wan’ booby” in such an adorable way. I will miss the “thank you for boobies” in the bedtime prayers. And most of all I will miss those sleepy snuggles and the moments of knowing that I was nourishing my baby girl both physically and emotionally.   It’s the end of an era, and in many ways the end of Sophie’s babyhood. My baby has gone forever, replaced by my beautiful toddler. But there are still new memories to be made, snuggles to enjoy and no doubt there will be more last times to shed tears over too.

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28 Comments

  1. October 18, 2015 / 9:17 am

    Beautiful post hun, and well done you! Your girls are a huge credit to you! Definitely an excuse for some retail therapy Hun, you so deserve it x

    • Louise
      Author
      October 21, 2015 / 8:51 pm

      Thank you Gráinne – took myself shopping yesterday and treated myself to a very pretty new dress that I couldn’t have worn when still breastfeeding – it definitely helped ease the blues a little! 🙂

  2. October 18, 2015 / 10:31 am

    I had mixed feelings when my first stopped breastfeeding a couple of months ago because I was feeding both him and his baby sister and feeling like that’s all I did. I was sad, but also a bit relieved. Reading this it hit me that I’ll be more upset when the baby eventually stops. It is indeed the end of an era. Well done you for persevering with it. Enjoy all the memories… and all the well deserved retail therapy!

    • Louise
      Author
      October 21, 2015 / 8:55 pm

      Thank you – I can imagine that it was quite exhausting tandem feeding and that it was a bit of a relief as well as being a little sad too. I think the milestones hit a little harder when you know that it really is the last time. Knowing that I would hopefully be starting the feeding journey again helped when Jessica stopped but this time round I just don’t know if I will ever do it again which has definitely made it harder. The retail therapy has helped ease the blues though!

  3. October 18, 2015 / 8:12 pm

    Awww, reading this made me feel so emotional. I know that I am approaching the end of our journey too. I think you have the right approach (I know that I am going to grieve and be happy at the same time too) and I hope you enjoy more wardrobe freedom!

    • Louise
      Author
      October 21, 2015 / 9:05 pm

      It is sad when that journey comes to an end isn’t it? I think I’ve accepted it more this week though and a spot of retail therapy definitely helped! 🙂

  4. October 19, 2015 / 12:26 pm

    The last times of anything are always so bitter sweet. I highly recommend the retail therapy to make you feel better 🙂 #maternitymondays

    • Louise
      Author
      October 21, 2015 / 9:06 pm

      Thanks Claire – I tried it yesterday and it worked a treat! 🙂

  5. October 19, 2015 / 12:56 pm

    My daughter stopped very abruptly too, but she was only six months. I didn’t really have the feelings of being sad that you (and lots of other mums) talk about (possibly due to PND?), but I can understand it, because it’s sort of a confirmation of them growing up and perhaps not needing you as much, which is always hard. Hugs to you xxx
    #maternitymondays

    • Louise
      Author
      October 21, 2015 / 9:08 pm

      Thank you – glad that you didn’t feel sad when your daughter stopped breastfeeding (although sorry to hear about the PND) – I think the realisation that our little ones are growing up can be very bittersweet at times and that different things can trigger it.

  6. October 19, 2015 / 1:36 pm

    You’ve done a fantastic job of breast feeding for so long. It’s scary how quickly they grow up. #maternitymondays

    • Louise
      Author
      October 21, 2015 / 9:09 pm

      Thank you Lisa – it definitely feels like it goes by too quickly!

  7. October 19, 2015 / 6:36 pm

    Oh no!! There are so many things on this motherhood journey that end without you being able to savour them properly. What a shame 🙁 thanks for linking up my lovely #MaterntyMondays

    • Louise
      Author
      October 21, 2015 / 9:11 pm

      Thanks Emma, it’s a good reminder to enjoy the moments while they last though!

  8. October 20, 2015 / 7:30 am

    What a sweet post. “Thank you for boobies” made me laugh. It’s hard when certain phases come to an end. Even at such a young age, children want to be independent. I am sure your daughter will always remember the bond of breastfeeding and that’s a precious thing. xx #TwinklyTuesdays

    • Louise
      Author
      October 21, 2015 / 9:14 pm

      Thank you Lara – she definitely likes to be independent! 🙂

  9. October 20, 2015 / 10:25 am

    Time goes by so fast! I remember having moments of “Will this night never end?!” when the baby was waking every few hours to feed and now at 10 months and no more breastfeeding (we sort of just ended up stopping at 9 months and transitioned to bottles) I definitely have nostalgia for those late night feeds. It all changes so quickly and it’s very emotional saying goodbye to those moments! But exciting to think of all the *new* ones to create! #twinklytuesday.

  10. October 20, 2015 / 4:30 pm

    I remember stopping for the last time, it felt so sad, but eventually my kids actually didn’t want it any more at around 2 and so the decision was taken out of my hands. Life has to move on but there are plenty of fun times ahead of you even if this stage is passing. #TwinklyTuesday

    • Louise
      Author
      October 21, 2015 / 9:16 pm

      Thanks Fiona – the little stages passing are sad but as you say, they are lots of fun times to look forward to as well.

  11. Alison
    October 20, 2015 / 6:14 pm

    Aw, this is simultaneously lovely and sad. Be proud that she knows her own mind. I can’t see my son giving up boobie any time soon, although I think we’re nearing the end of our journey at 18 months. He is doing a thing where he switches between breasts after a very short period of time. I don’t know if this is because of the flow, or if he just likes to have a sort of boobie-buffet (and what a terrifying image that is), but it’s very, very annoying. Still I’ll be sad when it stops. #twinklytuesday

    • Louise
      Author
      October 21, 2015 / 9:18 pm

      “Boobie-buffet” made me chuckle – what a great description! I can imagine that it is very annoying – we definitely had moments like that too but there’s part of me that misses them now!

  12. Ursula
    October 22, 2015 / 8:23 pm

    I feel your sadness as this week my little boy at only 7weeks has had to go on a bottle; he was just too demanding and I couldn’t fill quickly enough for him!

    On the plus side I am still giving him his morning feed and expressing 2 feeds during the day to give him the goodness he needs.

    It was a very difficult decision, but his needs are greater than mine! I know deep down that every morning feed could be our last and following your post my phone will not be near us.

  13. October 24, 2015 / 8:06 pm

    What a sweet post. I think we may have come to the end of our breastfeeding journey now too, she ha seen away with her daddy for a week so she probably won’t even remember mummy milk anymore! It is bittersweet, you know it needs to end eventually, but it means also that they are growing up to be big girls now!

  14. October 26, 2015 / 4:41 pm

    It’s amazing how quickly things come and go. One minute they’re doing something and the next, it’s been lost and replaced by something else. The thing that’s making me feel the same is that the boys are walking — properly on their legs — up and down the stairs now!! They’ve always been so careful on stairs and gone down backwards on their hands and knees! My babies are proper boys!! Thanks so much for linking up to #TwinklyTuesday — hope to see you again tomorrow!

  15. Julie S.
    October 31, 2015 / 1:42 pm

    I feel you mama, I’m seeing the end of my journey too. Lovely post, hon.

    • Louise
      Author
      October 31, 2015 / 11:37 pm

      Thank you – it is sad when that journey comes to an end, isn’t it?

  16. November 6, 2015 / 7:41 am

    O my word ….. I can imagine the sadness … actually I can’t. I have my issues too but I can’t even contemplate the last feed, not just yet, not for a long while. It must be really sad for it to happen when you least expect and without seeing it coming. Thanks so much for sharing your story on #BreastfeedingandI. It’s also really exciting to think about the impact this has on other aspects of your life like your wardrobe. Wow … another milestone reached, so much more to come. Grief, wipe your tears, and enjoy, hey. 🙂 Sophie is growing up, so exciting … may we enjoy our seconds with our children.

    • Louise
      Author
      November 11, 2015 / 10:30 pm

      It was really sad although a few weeks on and the sadness has been replaced by calm acceptance of another stage passed. I think taking myself clothes shopping for the first time in ages might have helped too – am certainly enjoying having more freedom with regards to my wardrobe! 🙂

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