We officially quit breastfeeding 2 weeks ago. We made it 10 months and I know that is something to be proud of, but tonight I don't feel proud. I feel raw and sad and I miss my tiny little baby. My little baby that is getting bigger and older every day. My baby that has 3 teeth and LOVES chicken nuggets.
I didn't cry 2 weeks ago when my little one latched for the last time. I handled it pretty well I think. I was sad, but part of me knew that this was just part of the cycle.
Isla was never a boob-fiend like a lot of breastfed babies. She liked her food however it was given to her: bottle, boob, spoon, or preferably her own two hands. This is probably why weaning came relatively easily for us.
I decided towards the end of summer that I wouldn't pump when I went back to work. My pump and I had a very intimate relationship the past year. I spent every spare moment pumping. I woke up at 4am every day to pump before Isla woke up so I could have enough to send to daycare AND to feed her when she got up. I planned on nursing her in the mornings for as long as I could, but I was over pumping and glad to be finished.
My body, however, had different plans. After just one day of no pumping my milk was gone. The next morning when Isla latched I could tell nothing was happening and she seemed to try to nurse forever... I knew the poor girl wasn't getting much. So just like that it was finished. No time to think about it or feel guilty. It just was what it was. I'd also built up a pretty good freezer stash over the summer so I knew she'd still be getting the good stuff for a while longer.
Tonight as I dumped the last of my frozen breastmilk into bottles for daycare I broke down. My heart ached as the last few drops slid down the sides. This was truly the end. I don't think I let myself feel it until tonight. I think I felt the frozen milk meant we weren't quite finished yet. But after tonight I won't have any part of myself to give her.
Breastfeeding was truly the hardest thing I've ever done and I never thought I'd want to go back, but tonight I think I would. I'd go back to the toe-curling pain from those first couple of weeks. I'd go back to the 2, 3, 4, and 5 am feedings. I'd go back to the cluster feedings and comfort nursing. I'd go back in an instant.
And I know that this is normal and that no baby will breastfeed forever (unless you want to end up on Dr. Phil...), but tonight I'm going to let myself cry and look at pictures and feel sorry for myself. I'm going to miss my tiny 7lb baby that wanted to nurse every hour and pray that time will start to pass a little slower.