Thursday, July 19, 2012

stick a fork in me

I'm done. Breastfeeding, that is. My body has fed it's last hungry baby. And you know what? I'm tired.

I also feel a bit sad, and proud, and happy and lost.

But mostly just frigging tired. After what feels like an epic seven years (not really) wearing clippy bras and flashing my boobs at weddings, I wore a bra with underwire in it yesterday. It felt pointy and disappointing. I kind of thought I would be like a gorgeous forest woman at the end of this journey, leaping through wildflowers, hair flowing freely, not a care in the world. But the reality is, I kind of feel like turning into a trackie-clad hermit, eating a family clock of chocolate and staring at photos of my newborns. I'm pleased with how breastfeeding worked out for me, and each of my babes, for the most part. With retrospect, I am very aware that I did my absolute best with the knowledge and experience I had at the time.

Baby 1. Breastfed for somewhere between three and four months. I was surprised at how easily he took to feeding, and sleeping. It took me too long to realise he was sleeping so well because he was really, really hungry.
Early fusspot days. After a couple of weeks I could breastfeed and answer the door at the same time.
If your baby looks like this, go and talk to your doctor or early childhood nurse.
It broke my heart when he took a bottle of formula with what seemed like relief and gratitude. It still breaks my heart to look at this picture. Don't be sad though, 2005 Me, this boy will be a healthy, strapping seven-year-old in the blink of an eye.

Baby 2. A study in perseverance. That little guy and I worked like troopers, through illness, death in the family, moving, surgery, oh my! And then, sometime around 11months, he woke up and just chucked it in. I felt a little ripped off, quite frankly.

Baby 3. Is now 14 months. And has slept through the night fewer than five times. I have been up for a feed 2-3 times a night forever, now. Despite the fact that she no longer wants a breastfeed at any point during the day. I walked the edge of tired for so long, and tipped right over into exhausted when a bout of flu hit me a couple of weeks ago. Fortunately for me, my darling was on holidays, and took over the nights while I was busy coughing up my lungs. And it was then that we realised: she will never go to sleep through the night of her own accord while I continually feed her to sleep. So, I stopped feeding her to sleep, which really amounted to stopping feeding her altogether, as that's really the only time she had been feeding.
Breastfeeding comfortably in public- all in the attitude.

Like anything with parenting, I found that breastfeeding was not as natural and instinctive as I had thought. I needed lots of help, with PCOS contributing to a low milk supply. I was(am!) also extremely lucky to have wonderful support from my darling, and other members of our family. I never ever had a bad experience in public, in fact I fed all my babies in all manner of public places and never heard so much as a tut

I know I am going to deeply miss this special part of my parenting journey, I already do a little bit. But I am so very excited to be a better, less tired and grumpy mama to all of my babies. They need me back I think. And I need to get to the shops and buy some bras- stat.


  1. It is so different for everyone and for every baby, isn't it?

    My oldest is now 9, my youngest 5, and I am learning not to grieve as each stage passes as there is always something to embrace in the next. I lost my breast feeding baby but woke up to a walking, gibbering little person who held my heart in his hand. I lost my at home shadows but am watching my children become independent school children who are learning so much.

    *sigh* This is the way it will be as long as we live. And we wouldn't trade it for the world.

    You did good. Enjoy your new bras. And frame that perfect little flipping the bird photo. That girl has attitude.

  2. It is a weird feeling when it first ends, but once you get sleep and realise how much that little bundle was taking from you, the happy feeling takes over!

  3. @Tas- so very true, I think a little moment of grief is normal as each phase passes, but not enough to stop me from seeing the next joy unfold! And I love that photo, would you believe it wasn't posed?!
    @Clairey- even after a few days in a row of full night's sleep, i feel like a new woman ;)

  4. I'm at the crossroads with my ten mOnth old now! Hanging out to twelve months! She's slept thru the night once, and I think may be waking for the comfort of a feed. Feel grateful breastfeeding has gone so well though, wasn't a happy experience the first time!

  5. @Elisa- the tricky part is, experience does help! That 10-12ish months is a rough time (or has been for my kids) not quite getting enough nourishment from food, but not yet ready to stop breastfeeding. You are doing great, I hope you get some sleep very soon ;)

  6. It's so bittersweet isn't it? I was desperate to give it up with my second baby, but kept going to nearly 12 months to give him the same as his older brother but as soon as it was finished I wanted it back. I'm still wearing my clippy bras - I hate bra shopping!!

  7. Oh Kate, the bra shopping :( can't wait to get a chance to be fitted for something more comfortable!

  8. Hope you are enjoying some serious zzzzzzs.
    Parenting is so full of conflicting emotions, isn't it?
    And thank you - I have Polycystic ovaries and had supply issues with Magoo - but have never known the connection. Ku-ching!
    :-) xx

  9. I am learning just how different each child can be too. I had lots of trouble feeding with Cooper, and although we got to about 8 months, it was hard. So far, It has been a dream with Indiana, week one was tricky but I was prepared, and since then she has done so well. I hope we continue this way, I hate getting up in the night too, but I love the snuggles and that bond that comes with it x



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