Breastfeeding: when it becomes less of a necessity and more about sentimentality

In a few days Annie will be six months old and I’m still breastfeeding. Well, I say breastfeeding but it’s become a bit of casual relationship. A little bit ad hoc. I’m clinging on for dear life, not for necessity but for sentimental reasons.

Annie certainly doesn’t *need* the boob anymore, and has very little interest in it now. She’s more about the bottle and making a mess with food these days. BUT I just don’t feel ready to give breastfeeding up for good.

I’ve always been a sentimental person and I think I’m getting sentimental about breastfeeding. Everytime I think about giving up I start getting sad. Once you stop you can’t re-start. That’s it. Cold turkey. And what if I don’t have another baby? My next breast feed might be the last time I ever breast feed.

There’s no doubt about it breastfeeding is hard and my experience of it has been turbulent. We’ve had our ups and downs. I struggled to produce enough and started giving Annie a “top up” of formula at around 3 and a half months and after that it was a slippery slope. Annie took to the bottle and very slowly the number of bottle feeds started creeping up.

But I’ve also loved breastfeeding. It’s the most natural thing in the world and that in itself is wonderful. It helped me bond with Annie. It also helped me stop for a minute. I was forced to sit with my baby, for as long as she needed, and focus on her 100%. I was at her beck and call and when she needed feeding everything else stopped around me. At first I struggled to adjust, and found it frustrating, but over time I learned to appreciate the quiet time and used it as an opportunity to rest.

I think I’m a little sad that that stage is almost over. Annie isn’t a small newborn anymore. She’s thriving. It doesn’t mean she doesn’t need me, she just needs me in other ways.

Maybe the decision will be taken out of my hands and I’ll stop producing milk altogether.  Maybe that won’t happen and I’ll be forced to make the executive decision. If so, I feel that I’ll know when the time is right to let go. It’s not quite yet. It could be tomorrow, it could be next week, it could be month from now. But not today. Not today!!

 

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