The other day my husband told me cheerfully that I won’t know myself when I stop breastfeeding. My first thought was to laugh and tell him that won’t be for a long time. But tonight as I lay down with Mr Almost-5 so he could breastfeed to sleep, he wasn’t interested. After a quick suckle, he had a big drink from his water bottle, said goodnight and rolled away from me to go to sleep.
As I type this, Miss Almost-2 breastfed to sleep around 2 hours ago and I haven’t heard a peep from her since then. It seems like not long ago when I couldn’t even get my boob out of her mouth without her waking up.
What if the end is closer than I thought?
Before I had kids, I thought breastfeeding was just a way that we fed our babies, but it’s practically become a way of life for me! I live and breathe breastfeeding every day. I’m active across breastfeeding support groups, I run a breastfeeding account on Instagram, I blog about breastfeeding, I’m studying a Certificate IV in Breastfeeding Education (Community) and I’m active in my local Australian Breastfeeding Association group. My inbox is literally full of messages about breastfeeding – admins and moderators about Breastfeeders in Australia, nominations for the Pumping It Forward Project and members of Breastfeeders in Australia asking for anonymous question posts or to be pointed in the right direction to find information.
I have friendships with people that I would never have known, had I not fallen into this rabbit hole of breastfeeding.
Will I still care? Will I still feel as passionate about breastfeeding when I’m no longer a breastfeeder? Will I still want to finish my training and continue volunteering with the Australian Breastfeeding Association? Will I find a new interest that will elbow breastfeeding advocacy out of the way?
What will happen to my body? Will I gain a hundred kilos without breastfeeding burning all of my calories? Will my boobs shrink or sag? Will the dark circles under my eyes disappear with all of the extra sleep I get?
Will my daughter want to sleep in her own bed soon? Will my husband want to move back into our bedroom? Will we actually have sex in our bed again, instead of everywhere else we’ve been doing it for the past almost-5 years?
I can’t imagine it. I can’t imagine my daughter not asking for “milks” a hundred times a day. I can’t imagine my son not waking me up in the morning for his milk before breakfast. I can’t imaging wearing high-necked tops or bras with underwires.
I’m not even sure I want to. It’s so hard to imagine letting go of something that’s been such a huge part of my motherhood journey. Generally I enjoy watching my kids grow, change and learn. I have celebrated all of their milestones with happiness. My son loves preschool and I couldn’t be more proud – my kids loving school is hugely important to me. Neither of us shed any tears on his first day. But weaning is the first pending milestone I have dreaded.
If another mum told me she felt this way, I would tell her she’d done a wonderful job in giving her kids the very best start possible, and that she deserves to feel proud. I would tell her that although breastfeeding is very important, it’s but one of many aspects of parenting, and I would assure her that her children will continue to need her for a very long time.
Hopefully when the time comes I will have someone to tel me that, because right now I’m a little fearful that I won’t remember it myself.