Today I breastfed Grace for the very last time and felt a real mix of emotions about it. But maybe before I say anything else I should say this…your baby, your circumstances, your choice. However a mother decides to feed her baby is based on their own personal journey and unique situation – and in my opinion that’s all there really is to it. It’s such a shame we seem to have this under current of judgement which swings both ways against bottle/breast, and although I would consider myself a breastfeeding advocate I am by no means a member of the ‘breastapo’ or a breastfeeding martyr. I’d be a hypocrite if I was seeing as Grace has been combination fed for the past 4 months. In a nutshell, breast, bottle or both – I’m not judging!
Back to the journey which led to our final feed…
During pregnancy I just assumed I’d breastfeed and didn’t give it much thought. Thankfully I didn’t need to as I had an exceptionally smooth ride, Grace latched perfectly, no mastitis, no soreness. I know this is not the case for a lot of woman, and a lack of support or education can make it even more challenging. Of course we had cluster feeding sessions and growth spurts to contend with along with a good helping of colic and reflux, but I enjoyed breastfeeding and found it so convenient, especially at night when I barely had to wake up to feed her. I loved the physical closeness and knowing that I was responsible for creating my babies food and also just in awe of how amazing the human body is.
Fast forward to 3 months old and still feeding every 90mins-2hours and I was getting worn out, so we introduced a bottle of formula in the evening so that Daniel could do a feed. I also started to get concious of feeding in public as Grace was becoming increasingly nosey with little concern for my modesty. At first preparing bottles to be at the right temperature was a nightmare – being a breastfed baby Grace was used to milk immediately and she wasn’t a fan of waiting for a boiled kettle to cool. But then in comes the tommee tippee perfect prep machine which was a game changer! The convenience of the machine combined with the physical break it gave me meant we gradually weaned Grace onto all formula feeds during the day by 6 months old. So for the past month I’ve only fed Grace during the night, and with my milk supply now dwindling and her actively now preferring a bottle, we’ve come to the end of our breastfeeding journey.
I do feel a touch of sadness as she no longer physically needs me for nutrition, but of course I know I’m still needed in many other ways and I still get a lovely feeling of closeness when I bottle feed her. I also can’t help but feel relief, although I enjoyed it I found breastfeeding physically demanding and being on formula means she will now feed 4 hourly as opposed to every 2. I suppose the biggest thing about stopping breastfeeding is that it’s a sign that time is moving on; she’s growing up and although it’s exciting it equally has a bitter sting as we shall never again lie together and be utterly in-sync. I feel so thankful I was able to breastfeed and hope to do so with future babies, but for now its time to focus on the next feeding milestone and start her on the hard stuff – we’re weaning!