Preparing for the end of breastfeeding – the ups and downs

I’ve been thinking a lot about my breastfeeding experience recently. Alastair is rapidly approaching his first birthday and I’d set that as a bit of a milestone for when we might stop breastfeeding. Now that it’s here, I have a whole host of emotions that I wasn’t really expecting. And I have so many questions. There is so much support for starting your breastfeeding experience, but how do you end it?

Just 20 minutes old and we both needed a snack

Should it be my decision or baby’s decision? Do I just decide one day that’s the last feed or do we gradually drop feeds until there are none left? How long will it be before my body adjusts and stops producing milk? Should I give follow-on milk to ease the transition or just go straight to cow’s milk? In short, I’m unsure and dithering.

One part of me is really proud that we’ve made it this far. Alastair is a real boob monster – he was feeding within a minute of being born and has hardly stopped since! We navigated his tongue tie, oral thrush and how to take care of a toddler whilst being held hostage by your boobs. A wild ride, but we did it together and I love the bond we formed whilst feeding.

Probably my most ambitious feed – on top of a very windy hill in Somerset with my sisters

Another part of me is really excited to be able to dust off all the clothes I’ve tucked away because I can’t feed in them. I’m looking forward to wearing normal bras again, and dresses that don’t have a million hidden layers and openings to get lost in!

But a lot of me is hesitant. I don’t want to lose this special time I have with my boy. We don’t plan on having any more children, so this is the last chance I’ll have to take part in that most basic mammalian function. I was sad to stop feeding Carys, but that decision was out of our hands, forced by the situation of returning to work. This time around it is my decision and I don’t know if I’m quite ready yet.

As of today, I don’t know how much longer I’ll keep breastfeeding Alastair or how I’ll stop when the time comes. It’s a continuing journey and I don’t have all the answers, but for now I’m just happy to make the most of the time we have and see where we end up.

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