I became a Mummy thirty-nine (ish) months ago. And for almost twenty-four of those months I have shared a very special journey with my two little girls. That journey is breastfeeding.
I had no idea whether I wanted to breastfeed before Mads came along, but after doing NCT classes I decided that I may as well give it a go. Those first few days were horrendous and I had bottles of formula sitting there waiting for me to use, but after a short stay in hospital and a scare from Mads, I became determined to breastfeed my newborn baby. I think I was exhausted, scared and some how thought in my head that breastfeeding would help protect her from germs and illness. (You can read about all that here) Luckily after a couple of weeks it got easier and I ended up feeding Mads for 11 months before stopping.
This time around with LL it hurt like hell again for the first week, but I had the benefit of hindsight on my side and I knew it would get easier. So I perservered and I have really enjoyed my breastfeeding journey with her. It got to 12 months and I told everyone, including myself, that I was going to stop, but here we are at nearly 14 months and I am still feeding her a morning and evening feed.
The thing is, I deep down don’t know if I am ready to stop, I am still clinging on to the fact that she is most likely our last baby and that I will never share this bond again. It isn’t hurting us continuing, she only feeds for about five minutes and then it’s over. But I have to stop at some point, and so this weekend is the time. I am in Bath for a hen do and I have decided that I will feed her before I leave and then as she is with Mr E for a couple of days it will be a perfect time to stop. I will come back after two nights away and then we will just have to try and distract her from the idea when I am home.
It has been the most wonderful journey with my babies. Those early days, when it was just us against the world in the middle of the night snuggled close together. The way they both used to play with my hair, and gently stroke my skin. Those snatched moments of eye contact and the way they used to stare up at me with such love in their eyes. The times they would fall asleep on me and I would sit for ages just marvelling at how I managed to have a part in creating these amazing little people. It’s a bittersweet memory of those newborn days, a constant reminder about just how quickly the time goes and how each and every moment is so fleeting.
I recently wrote an article for The Motherhood about breastfeeding and how I really don’t have an opinion on how other people choose to feed their babies. If I hadn’t been able to breastfeed or hadn’t wanted to then I know I would be sat here writing the same thing about weaning my babies off a bottle. It’s more just the fact that it is the end of an era, and it’s about letting go of that last little bit of babyhood. Of milk being the thing they need to grow and thrive the most.
That said, breastfeeding has been a huge part of my life as a Mummy and I asked Mr E to take a photo of my little LL and I sharing what potentially was our second to last feed together. It’s a grainy iPhone image but it is hugely sentimental for me.
It’s been a very ordinary moment for the last 13 and a half months. But it’s been an extraordinary story I will never ever forget.
My little ladies are growing up so damn quickly. And it is oh so bittersweet.