Saturday 26 June 2021

Our breastfeeding journey

LPOV breastfeeding extended toddler

Around a month ago, more or less on her second birthday, Eden "officially" stopped breastfeeding. This was entirely led by her - I'd fully expected to be tandem feeding come August!

It took around a month for her to stop: she'd mostly dropped to feeding at night, then one night she went off to sleep without asking for milk for the first time in her life! She then began feeding at night every couple of days until she simply stopped asking altogether. This could well have been because of my being pregnant as the hormonal changes mean that my milk may taste different - but either way I'm glad that it's been her decision. She has been quite clingy to me since stopping with some separation anxiety - I think this is because she no longer has that comfort of nursing to "check in" and soothe herself - but she's doing so well. The journey isn't linear - the past two nights she's asked for milk, but I don't have any now, but luckily by now a cuddle soothes her instead.

I feel so wildly grateful that I was able to breastfeed Eden for two years, and I hope to be able to feed Sprout for as long as he/she would like, too. But it's also important to acknowledge that breastfeeding isn't always easy. Our journey began with an undiagnosed tongue tie, cracked and bleeding nipples, and a baby that literally wanted to be on me 24/7. Without support, I don't know if I'd have managed to carry on as I remember in those early days every feed was a case of "just getting through this feed" - I knew breastfeeding could be painful at first but I wasn't prepared for the struggle. However for me it was so worth the reward of time and bonding breastfeeding gave us - it's been a truly magical experience. We need to talk about this more and support each other so that all birth givers feel empowered and capable of feeding their babies in the way they'd like to, knowing that help is there if needed, and that our bodies (and babies) are capable of truly amazing things.

However you fed your baby, did you feel you had enough support with your choices?

*Eternally grateful to @kimberleylanephoto for taking these photos for us last summer!

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