Tonight we stopped breastfeeding.
After 13 months and 7 days of my body providing you with nourishment and comfort, we quietly stopped. No fuss, no upset. This is the right time for this to happen.
And I knew it was coming. Just a few short weeks ago you were feeding all through the night. I had convinced myself that you needed the milk. That you were growing and needed the calories. That you were teething and poorly and needed the comfort. That you needed ME.
But you didn’t really. You wanted it because it was lovely and familiar and comforting in the dark of the night, but you didn’t need it any more. What we really all needed was to get more sleep!
So we cut out those night feeds. Within a day or two you stopped asking for milk in the nights. You were perfectly happy to have a cuddle, or to cwtch in next to me in bed.
Soon enough we were down to just a feed at bedtime. That cozy little routine we’d pretty much perfected over the last year. Bathtime with Rhys and Daddy. A little play all together on the bed. Then into your sleepbag and settle down for a quiet feed. Just you and me.
But over the last few days I’ve felt it coming. The end of this stage in your life. This stage in our lives.
I could tell my milk supply was dwindling. That you weren’t really feeding any more. I knew that one night soon would be the last night you would need me in that way.
That night turned out to be last night. I didn’t know it then. But when we went through our bedtime routine tonight you didn’t reach for me. You didn’t point to the bed as you used to, instructing me to sit down and feed you. Instead you pointed to the bottle I had brought up with us, and you sat next to me and drank that happily.
Then you snuggled in to me, allowed me to help you fall asleep in a new way. I held you in my arms and sang Calon Lan, just like I used to with your brother. And you drifted off to sleep. Safe, comforted, loved.
There were no tears from you at the end of this stage in your life. You’re ready for this. Ready to stop being dependent solely on me, ready to take that first step away from me and towards independence.
I think I’m ready for this too. I had a quiet cry tonight, as I held you and stared at your perfect sleeping face. It hasn’t always been easy, but I have truly loved being able to feed you for this long. It has amazed me that we made it this far and it’s a little bittersweet knowing that you don’t need me in the same way any more. But it makes me so happy to see you go to Daddy for hugs and comfort now, and to see you explore Nana and Pops’ house with a new-found confidence.
You have changed and grown so much in the last few weeks. My baby is almost gone and that does make me a little sad. I’ve so loved this stage of your life, I don’t really want to let it go.
But that’s what I have to do. Mamie always told me that your children are only lent to you. The best thing I can do for you as your Mummy is to let you go, little by little. Of course I’ll never fully let you go, you’ll always, always be my baby girl, but I have to let you grow up. And this is the beginning of that.
I think I’m ready for this. The baby stage has been wonderful, but oh the toddler stage is so much fun! I’ll miss the special time with you that breastfeeding has given me, but it’s time for a new part of your life now. It’s time for you to be the Daddy’s girl we always knew you would be!
I will always be here to give you love and comfort whenever you need it, but now that will come from hugs and kisses and gently spoken words in the dark of night. You don’t need the milk any more; it’s done its work of helping you grow big and strong. You have so much love around you, you will never be in want of comfort.
This is the right time for this.
Yes, we’re ready for this!