In the past, I’ve written a few posts about my term breastfeeding journey with Mr 5 (see some old posts here, here and here). Those posts always get a lot of interest, with many curious about how it works. Well, he’s my first, so I don’t know exactly how it will play out, but now I can feel the end is probably quite near, I’ve decided to document our story and share updates.
We have been having 2 breastfeeds a day for well over a year now – one at bedtime and another in the morning. Those feeds got shorter and shorter, and now we regularly skip them too. Sometimes he’ll fall asleep while I’m reading him a book. Sometimes he’ll be more interested in watching tv or playing the tablet in the morning (which he is allowed to do until Miss 2 and I wake up). Sometimes we’re in a rush to get somewhere and breastfeeding is forgotten.
And then sometimes it’s like he remembers that he’s entitled to a breastfeed halfway through the morning, and although he doesn’t verbalise that, he is often triggered by some perceived unfairness, usually regarding his sister, and usually about something that she got that he didn’t because he was at school. I’m not always great at connecting behaviour with true underlying issues, but this was quite clear to me – he has noticed that his sister is allowed to breastfeed whenever she wants and he can’t because of boundaries I have put in place, and also because he is aware of social attitudes towards term breastfeeding (his last breastfeed in a public space would have been over 2 years ago, when his sister was a newborn).
So last night we had a chat about breastfeeding in bed. He asked for milk, and I said to him “You know, one day you won’t need to have milk anymore”. He thoughtfully considered this, and said to me “Well, sometimes I don’t even really need it now. I don’t have it all the time, just in bed”. And I told him that this was true – he used to always need milk to go to sleep, but now, even though he has milk in bed, we usually go to sleep with a cuddle. I told him that made me very happy because I loved cuddling him, especially in bed when everything was still and quiet, and it was just the two of us.
I asked him if it made him a bit sad or mad when he sometimes didn’t have milk in bed. He told me that he doesn’t care when he’s too busy in the morning because hes usually having fun playing, but if he gets sad or tired about something else, then he remembers that milk makes him happy, and then he’s sad that he can’t have it in the daytime like he used to. So we talked about other thing that make him happy and I promised him that I would try harder to give him a cuddle when I could see he was sad, instead of trying to talk, because he doesn’t like talking when he’s sad or mad. He just needs cuddles.
Then I asked him if he’d like milk. Sometimes if we are in a hurry, I’ll say he can have milk while I count to ten. He asked me if I was very busy tonight and I told him I didn’t have anything more important to do than to help him go to sleep. So he asked if he could have milk while I counted to 12. I said that was OK. As he suckled, he unlatched and said would it be OK if we have milk while I count to 32. No, wait. 37. I said that was OK, and he looked so happy! So he had his milk while I counted to 37, and then he settled down into my arms to sleep.
The end. For now.