Sweet Child of Mine

My oldest friend has never given up smoking. She hasn’t smoked a cigarette in over six years but she’s never given up. She just isn’t smoking today. Tomorrow might be a different story. I feel the same way about breastfeeding. The babiest of beans is now nearly 10 months old and has pretty much lost interest in the whole breastfeeding malarkey, what with all the distractions of walking, burbling and devising new and interesting ways to torment his older brother.

I won’t lie, a big part of me is delighted. After nine months of pregnancy and ten months of breastfeeding, my body will be my own again. I will not miss feeding bras for even a moment. I will happily embrace guilt-free drinking and nurofen will, once again, be my friend. No food is off limits and my body will stop clinging to its fat stores to ensure we’ve got enough to go around.  And let’s not forget the tiny, surprisingly sharp, teeth…

But another part of me is sad. Very sad. I read somewhere that there is no closeness on earth like that between a mother and her baby, and we’re never closer to our babies than when we’re feeding them. I’m not even going to attempt to describe the phenomenal feeling of oneness, I could never do it justice, but for me breastfeeding is an oasis in the wall-to-wall chaos that heralds the arrival of a new bundle of joy. It’s a time when no one else exists, just me and my baby. And whilst the fact that he can speed around the room, keep himself entertained and interact meaningfully with us are all undeniable signs that he’s growing up, the end of our breastfeeding relationship is the milestone that seals the deal. The baby is gone. The toddler is beautiful, I’m every bit as in love with him, but the baby is gone. I’m not sure I’m ready to accept that yet. So for the moment, I am still breastfeeding – just not today.