“You need to get him off the boob. You’ll be having to make your way down to the school gates and stick your tit through the fence at lunch time if you don’t stop now….”
So I was told, more times then you’d believe really, considering how patronising that sentence really is.
I was quite disappointed to find that not only did my son decide to self wean shortly before starting school, but I also didn’t see anyone squeezing their boobs through the fence. In fact it’s not something I’ve ever witnessed.
I have been a formula feeding mother, a pumping breastmilk mother and I have been a breastfeeding mother. I’ve done it all.
In my struggles to breastfeed my first born I tried SNS systems and inner healing, syringes and nipple torturing contraptions. I would have walked the earth to be able to latch my daughter on, even if just once.
When my son was born and we nailed breastfeeding around the 6 month mark, I wasn’t going to suddenly take that away from him- from us! It was the most amazing soother and calmer downer. The most amazing bedtime lullaby and the best reassurance, in a busy park.
Having been an “everything mum” I had also had “everything criticism”. I was told to give up expressing, I was told to keep expressing, I was told I should have breastfed, I was told I should just switch to formula.
It’s funny how everyone has an opinion on your boobs when you breastfeed.
When my son was almost a year old, a kind and helpful family member leaned in as I was nursing him in the shadowed grass on a warm, summers day. She gently stroked his blonde locks out of his eyes and then looked up at me.
She softly said “you know, he is going to grow up emotionally damaged. He will likely become a psychopath if you continue that any longer”
I looked at her, trying to gather my thoughts. I had read about comments like these. I always thought I would have this sassy reply ready but as I sat there, my mind blank, I quietly replied “OK”.
I was ashamed of that OK.
I was not ashamed of nursing my child.
Our journey continued past the loss of the first 2 milk teeth. It continued past nursery graduation and towards school start looming. I remember thinking that maybe self weaning was a bloody myth! I both wanted him to stop and I didn’t. It hurt, it was draining at times but also perfectly beautiful and so full of love.
When the final feed happened I wasn’t prepared. I didn’t know it was going to be the last. I had no idea- I had seen no indication.
I’ve not been a breastfeeding mother for over a year now. Something that was so huge and important for almost 5 years, is no longer. Something that brought my son so much joy was discarded and outgrown- pretty brutally even. “The milk is yuk now mummy”.
I wasn’t sure what to do for a long time. Should I wean him? Should I stop? I can however honestly say that I am SO glad I didn’t force a stop. I didn’t deny him the comfort or us the bonding.
I am so glad I allowed nature to take its course and that I trusted the biology I speak so highly of.
Oh and I did see that family member one more time before weaning. We were sitting watching the children play.
They were running around a public pool area and my son ran up to anyone who looked lonely, asking them to play, they way he does.
He gathered several children together to play water games, my daughter the attending referee per usual.
My family member suddenly said “Look how confident and outgoing he is. He wouldn’t have been like that if you’d continued to baby him”
I gave her a puzzled look and said “babied him?”
She continued “if you’d kept breastfeeding him he wouldn’t have been such an outgoing boy, aren’t you glad you stopped when I told you too”
I looked her straight in the eyes and said “oh, sorry- I didn’t. We are actually still going strong”