Well, I’ve got to hand it to my boobs, they’ve done a pretty good job since they were first introduced to the mammoth task of breast feeding an actual human being almost 4 years ago.
I’ll never forget that time. It is etched into my memory now, the overwhelming feeling of love, the bond, the feeling that I was so needed by my first-born. At the same time I felt exhausted, like a cow, every last drop of energy being sucked from me, and mentally drained from the constant worry of whether I was doing it right. My nipples were always sore from the round-the-clock feeding, I was making up tunes to the humming of the breast pump, I do actually think, in fact I know, looking back, that I was going a little crazy.
And now, with my second and most likely last baby, 17 months into his little life, he has finally opted for the bottle over me. There isn’t much there now, and bless him, he knows it, and the hitting, biting (!) and constant climbing up and down means it isn’t much fun anymore.
It is so surreal to have to finally let go of that attachment. He is growing up, I understand that, and he doesn’t want that from me any more. But it makes me feel so sad.
When you start on this journey of becoming a mother, everything is so mind-blowing. There is so much to learn, and you are always questioning yourself. Breast-feeding was no different to all of the other new experiences. It was hard work, tiring, painful…excruciating sometimes, nothing can prepare you for the amount of energy that is consumed being awake during the night, worrying, settling, feeding, settling, winding, settling, feeding, winding…you get the picture.
Even when Lylah was about 4 months old, and I settled into the feeding routine, there were constant problems that popped up. And don’t even get me started about trying to get them to take a bottle! Yet now, as if it is nothing, Malachy takes hold of a bottle and sups, smiling, happy that there is milk the other side of the teat.
With this comes something else though, a small sense that I’m getting some independence back. A chance for me to separate my body from my children’s. This has happened gradually with Malachy. With Lylah, we cut some feeds when I went back to work when she was around 10 months, and she was happy with a bit of boob and a bit of bottle. With Malachy I have been so fortunate to be working far less, and therefore the feeding has continued for much longer. Recently it has cut down to just morning and night, and the fact he happily drinks from a bottle or cup means I have some freedom back. I speak to new mums who are desperate for a break, a night out, a drink with some friends or their partners, just a taste of freedom for one night in the chaos of it all, and I get it, I was there, needing that break, wanting that glass of wine.
The independence does mean one thing though – more nights off, more sleep, the ability to get more done – not that that’s what matters, but it does take the pressure off a little bit.
But this 4 years has gone in a flash, and it makes me want to cry. What I would give to be back at the start of it all, embarking on the greatest journey of my life. I was so excited by it all. When we decided to have children and I fell pregnant with Lylah, everything was so new and I couldn’t wait for any of it. This feeling comes over when you become a mum, that nothing will ever be the same, because you are a mummy now, you own a buggy, you make up bottles, breast feed, have a steriliser on the side in the kitchen. You talk about babies, their poo, their eating habits, their sleep. Oh the baby sleep talk! This was my life, for a year or so, then Lylah got bigger, the mummy independence crept in, I even went on a hen do. But in my head I know…I’m hopeful for number 2, the chance to do it all again, but this time without the stress. Oh but there was still stress, but then that’s having multiple human beings living in your house all at one time isn’t it?! With Malachy, I knew what I was doing. I fed and fed and fed him…they normally lose weight at first, he piled it on. He was in my arms constantly, my baby boy, needing me, and I was able to nurture him. That feeling didn’t go. As he grew, he frustrated me in other ways, but at the end of a stressful day, I was able to cradle him and connect with him in a way I don’t think you can understand until it happens to you. That’s what I’m struggling to let go of. His little face lighting up as I settle down on the sofa at 630. All I have to say is ‘Mummy Milk’ and he will stop what he’s doing and be by my side.
Stopping breastfeeding once and for all, means the end of that new experience I was so excited for 4 years ago. I know I have so much more to be excited about now, a whole future with my little sausages that I when I think about, I can barely breathe. But the first chapter is done. Booby milk is diminishing, and again, that makes me so sad I could cry.
Well, I did cry.
My boobs and me have been on quite a journey over the last few years, and I feel so blessed to have been able to experience it. Here’s to your milky boobs and the miracle job they are capable of.
As a side note, I realise it has been 6 months since I last posted. What can I say, but that I don’t have time for much anymore! I have wanted to post so many times, and have so much to fill you in on, but haven’t put digits to keyboard. But tonight, after boob snub, I thought what better way to get back to it, than to talk about my breasts! Happy Saturday everyone x