The Bittersweet End of Breastfeeding

Disclosure :: World Breastfeeding Week is recognized August 1 – 7, 2016. This year, the World Breastfeeding Week theme is about how breastfeeding is a key element in getting us to think about how to value our wellbeing from the start of life, how to respect each other and care for the world we share. Our World Breastfeeding Week is sponsored by Woman’s Hospital.

Happy World Breastfeeding Week! If you are a nursing momma, you may be celebrating this week by counting down the days until you can reclaim your body, pack up the pump and blissfully celebrate the end of your nursing journey. Trust me, been there, done that, and have the milk soaked T-shirt to boot.

As I reflect back on my journey of nursing both of my children, I can’t help but recall those special moments of nursing that are now but a distant memory. Surprisingly, there are moments when I truly miss nursing and the close bond that it brought me with both of my children. Throughout my nursing journey, never did I think that I would miss those days, but (sometimes) I really do, and am so thankful to have had the wonderful experience that is breastfeeding.

As my breastfeeding relationship drew to its end, the thought of weaning my baby became a seemingly impossible task. The end of our breastfeeding journey marked the first major milestone that meant my babies were no longer babies and that made me oh-so-sad. This meant my children were growing up and no longer depended solely on me for comfort and nourishment — a sting to my heart.

Photo credit AmyCherie Photography

Photo credit AmyCherie Photography

In my opinion, nursing a baby is a pretty magically wonderful experience. Even after nursing both my children, I’m still a little awestruck by the whole process. While you are in the middle of the exhausting task of sustaining an infant’s life, it can be a little easy to overlook the sweet moments of nursing, but they are truly beautiful memories and will hold a special place in your heart forever. Nothing can quite compare to the still, quiet moments in the middle of the night while you hold your precious miracle and continue to provide the ultimate nourishment for your baby. I miss the delicate balance of my family’s activities that revolved solely around the baby’s feedings and how that was our new normal for many, many months. We all still survived. I miss my babies needing only me and knowing that upon hearing my hungry infant cry, only I could soothe him or her. Loosing the constant reminders given by my body proving its ultimate purpose made me feel like I was loosing a part of my temporary identity. During my busy days at work, I miss the time I spent alone, pumping in a closet where I was able to stop for a few minutes and think just of my babies while I was away from them. I miss the extra calories that were “necessary” to sustain a life other than my own … I really took advantage of those. I sometimes find my self longing for the moments to take a break from the daily hustle to sit and nurse my infant while soaking in that sweet baby smell — the ultimate bonding moment with my babies. I will never forget the doe-like eyes gazing up at me like I was the center of their universe. I miss the small celebrations of ounces pumped, pounds gained, and months passed that marked the sweet success along the road of my breastfeeding journey.

In the midst of infancy, time didn’t seem to pass quickly enough. Two weeks, three months, six months, a year — all important milestones for nursing mothers. Soon enough those days are gone and your now active toddler wants your comfort no longer, but instead to play with his siblings. Your quiet time, sitting and holding your sweet baby is suddenly over and you realize how quickly time has passed. The precious moments of breastfeeding are now just sweet memories. Nursing mommas, enjoy them while you can.

RSMB WBW w border

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