Tomorrow my little love turns 11 months old. Just one more month until the big birthday. The next big breastfeeding milestone. I went from ‘I’ll give it a go’ to ‘lets just get to 6 months’ to being close to breastfeeding for a year.
We’re close to the end though, I think.
There have been many challenges and I’ve battled through them, one by one. I got very little support in hospital, and was discharged without them checking we had it sorted. In hindsight I think they assumed the big kids were mine and that I was an old pro at this mum thing. The very limited support I got at home was no help. I hated the violent way the midwife hurled my baby’s head towards my nipple. It seemed harsh and aggressive, and didn’t help. I bought some nipple shields in desperation. They saved breastfeeding for us, but Iris then would never latch without them, despite my efforts to wean her off them and back onto a bare nipple. I’ve come to hate the nipple shields and over the last 11 months they’ve become my biggest enemy. I’ve disliked breastfeeding too, for quite a large chunk of my time doing it. As Iris got more mobile she bagan to scratch, kick and pull on my skin. Once she cut open the inside of my mouth with her nails while tugging on my bottom lip. She flips over, sits up, wriggles. All without letting go and I find it incredibly irritating. I’ve never felt calm and peaceful breastfeeding during the day. The sleepy night time feeds are sweet, but the wriggly day time ones make my skin crawl.
Now Iris is losing interest too, perhaps sensing my unease. She’s just had her first feed since bedtime yesterday. She rarely demands a feed and when she does it lasts just minutes. It’s a huge relief for me. The feeling of feeding her makes me feel weird all over now. I feel sick. I hate every single feed.
I hoped it’d last into toddlerhood, that I’d have milk as my greatest parenting tool. That I’d fix hurty knees and angry tantrums with the power of milk.
Now it seems unlikely. I’m hanging on for the next few weeks, with milk being even more essential for under-ones, and then we’re done. I’d like it to end peacefully, naturally. I’d like Iris to continue losing interest and just forget. Fingers crossed.