When I was pregnant I knew I wanted to breastfeed, it was really important to me because I feared so much that I wouldn’t bond with my baby. It was really hard, I cried a lot in the first few weeks and wondered whether it was worth the pain. As the weeks went on it got easier and easier then it became like something I had been doing my whole life, it felt so normal, so natural, so easy… Now we are reaching 23 months and I never envisaged breastfeeding this long, in fact when he was only 2 months old we went to a 2nd birthday party of a friend’s daughter who was still breastfed and I remember saying “I really hope I’m not still doing it when he’s that old”, although I suppose that was mainly because I thought breastfeeding would always involve sleepless nights, sore nips, frumpy clothes and being stuck to the sofa scoffing my face with chocolate. But I got over that by the time he was a few months old. So now we are here, he’s almost two. Two is the age the World Health Organisation say you should feed to “or beyond”, so when anybody ever says anything about breastfeeding a toddler you always have this to fall back on to stop you looking quite as like the crazy mom who wants to keep her child as a baby FOREVER like the world seems to think of mothers who breastfeed past 6 or 12 months. Admittedly, most questions come at around 6 months and 12 months then people start to give up asking as you near 18 months but I’m expecting the questions to start again.
I’ve never really known how Oliver would wean, whether it would be me leading the way or him, but I think I know the answer now. I’m not in control of this, it’s about his needs, I always fed on demand, I had the sleepless nights, I had the cluster feeding, I had the comfort feeding when he fell over and hurt himself, and now, now we are at the point where he isn’t really bothered. I fed him yesterday morning in bed and he hasn’t asked since. I suppose we have found other ways of dealing with issues that would have been ‘nursed’ before. If he falls over or hurts himself we kiss the part of him which hurts and when he’s tired we cuddle. When he wakes up in the morning we usually have a cuddle, a little tickle and wrestle then get up and watch a little TV and have some breakfast then start the day. Nap times are becoming an issue, I used to feed him to sleep but even if I feed him now he doesn’t often fall asleep. We cuddle and he will sometimes fall asleep and be put in his cot, but sometimes he is disturbed as I make the transfer and his naps are pretty inconsistent so we are working on that right now.
I don’t really know how to feel at the moment with this realisation, I’m a little emotional, it’s an important chapter of my life coming to an end. What’s brilliant is seeing that he still wants to cuddle me without the breastfeeds which is something I always feared slightly because he’s so active, but I’m lucky, he’s a cuddly boy.