The End of Breastfeeding

I am all done breastfeeding. This morning was our last time, and now it’s over.

I’ve done a bit of crying about this over the last couple of weeks, and maybe I’ll have more sad moments if Dylan asks and I say no. But the truth is that I feel good about this decision. Better than good, perhaps: it’s completely right, and I’m kind of looking forward to the future.

Breastfeeding has been 100% amazing all around. With all the troubles I had with conceiving and birthing Dylan, I worried that breastfeeding would be one more thing that went wrong. I expected to have various hurdles to overcome, and I expected not to really like it.

Instead, breastfeeding has been perfect. It was never very uncomfortable in the beginning, and the discomfort I had passed quickly. I never had a problem with supply, either under or over. Dylan didn’t have any trouble latching. We never had any real conflicts over him wanting to fiddle with my other nipple, with biting, or any of the other little ways nursing can get annoying.

I have loved every second of it.

Including the end. Once I made the decision to stop, the tapering off went completely smoothly. We went to twice a day, then once a day, with no fuss from Dylan and no engorgement on my part. I’m still making plenty of milk. I can still shoot across the room! I do expect my breasts to take a little bit to catch on that milk-making is no longer needed.

While pregnant, I didn’t really experience Dylan as a separate person from me. Pregnancy is a thing that happened to my own body. After birth, Dylan was a separate person, yes, but because of breastfeeding we were still fundamentally connected. For the first six months he didn’t eat anything but breastmilk, which meant all of his growing and developing was derived from my body. The mother-newborn dyad is so close in so many ways, I felt that we were still very nearly one person.

After a gradual shift through the months, now at nearly two and a half years, we are making the complete separation, and it seems like a great age for it. The end of our nursing relationship is perfectly coinciding with Dylan learning the phrase “Me do it!” Great timing, I think.

I want to write eloquent words to send off this part of my life, but I’m not sure I could do it justice. Breastfeeding was a magical, intimate, wondrous experience unlike any other. It was a solid, calm center to my definition as a mother, and a nurturing, connected center to Dylan’s and my relationship.

As I nursed Dylan this morning for the last time I looked intently at him wanting to capture this moment in my mind forever. I had to laugh, because he looks to me just like he did at 2 days old:

Breastfeeding or not, he’s always going to be my baby.

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