I remember it like it was yesterday, even though it was a few weeks ago.
It was a Monday.
I went to put my sweet baby girl to bed. I got us all nice and cozy like I have every other single night since the day she was born. We have a spot, only the two of us can sit there. But something was different. Instead of our nightly ritual of me breastfeeding my daughter, she got up and went to get a book instead. Just like that!
I have been trying to get my daughter to take a bottle since before she was a year old, she always refused. I’ve talked about stopping breastfeeding for months. More often than not I ending up crying from the pain, infection after infection, having a teething baby biting me. It was painful, very painful. But just like that for her to stop! I wasn’t ready! How dare she! With no warning!
I wish I had known that earlier that day at nap time would have been our last time. I would have stayed a bit longer in our spot. I would have memorized her face for the millionth time. I would have savoured the moment, burning forever into my memory.
I was ready for the pain to end, but I wasn’t prepared for her to stop just like that. I cried that night after I laid her sweet sleeping body into bed and put her favourite blanket on her. I cried tears of sadness that just like she didn’t want me or need me. I cried tears of relief that the pain was over. I cried that my baby girl, my last baby was growing up. I cried at how independent she was becoming. I cried at how proud I was of her. I cried at how much in that moment this painful breastfeeding journey truly meant to me.
We no longer sit in our spot. She won’t cuddle with me there anymore. Instead we sit in her rocking chair, and we read books together at nap time and bed time. She still cuddles me, she still lays her sweet little head on my chest to sleep, but its different now. The bonding is different now. She isn’t with me because I’m the only that can provide for her, she is with me because she wants to be, because she loves me.
She has changed so much. She went from my little baby girl who needed and wanted to breastfeed ALL the time around the clock, and when she wasn’t breastfeeding she was sucking on her thumb, and in one afternoon changed into a big girl who doesn’t need mommy in that way and hasn’t sucked her thumb once since that day.
I love putting her to bed at night, maybe even more so now. I love watching her excitement and she helps me book out a book or two at bed time. I love as she eagerly climbs into my nap. I love how she snuggles into me and falls asleep in my arms with her sweet head on my chest. She isn’t there because I provide her with food, she is there because I provide her with comfort, love, a safe place, and a cozy place to sleep.
I never would have imagined I would breastfeed my daughter past 2 months. When I got to 6 months and she started teething I thought that was the end. When we celebrated her first birthday I thought that was it for sure. When we made it past a year I was amazed.
This breastfeeding journey has not been easy or glamorous. It has been hard, tiring, painful, and oh so tiring. It is amazing the physical and emotional toll it took on me. Many nights I silently cried as my sweet girl feed. And now its over. Just like that. In a single afternoon my daughter decided on her own that she was done, that she didn’t need me in that way anymore. But that doesn’t mean she doesn’t need me in so many other ways. Just not this way anymore.
It was a bitter sweet ending for me, but I am glad it was my daughter that ended it and not me. I’m glad she was able to do this on her own. I love my sweet independent baby girl.
I wouldn’t have traded this journey for anything, pain and all, it was worth it, it was all worth it for my baby.
On the bright side I can now send my husband in there when she wakes up in the night!