The next chapter and stopping breastfeeding

My baby boy will be 365 days old in the morning. Then he will no longer be a baby. It took his sister 366 days, but I don’t think these things matter too much. But – as I see it – it is the end of the baby chapter for us and time to reflect on good things gone and good things around the corner.

He is the smiliest baby most of my acquaintances have ever met. He is also remarkably funny on home territory and a natural clown. He already knows how to fight his sister, say ‘car’ and ‘cake’ and loves anything involving a ball or machinery. He could probably walk already if he wasn’t so lazy and giggly. He is alert and active when he wants something and still wakes for feeds at irregular intervals.

With Lily I stopped feeding the day before her first birthday. It has not been so easy to wind down for Joseph, but that is my plan. We still do night feeds (today my health visitor cautioned we may be in for a long haul if he doesn’t sleep through soon; we are going to feed him more in the daytimes). And once I stop feeding, that’s it. Part of me is done, and over so soon.

I remember when I stopped feeding Lily I felt sad at the end of that chapter but her second year was tremendous and I know there is much to be excited about. Mum reminds me I ‘got my brain back’. This is true. It would come in handy sometimes. And there is the ‘getting your body back’ argument too. Or some kind of body. Not sure it’ll be the one I started with in this parenting journey. Joseph can drink cow’s milk now without upsetting health visitors. But is that really why I am stopping? Or trying to? I have a notion I may be attempting to give the children an equal 12 months of breastmilk, when I need to respond to each situation differently.

In India and other parts of Asia mothers would be surprised to hear that Western mums do not breastfeed each child for months or years. A little bit of me, perhaps selfishly, just doesn’t want to stop yet.

Joe is feeding now. His second feed of the evening and by rights his last feed of all. He doesn’t even need it. But I know that when he wakes Matthew will go in and pick him up and he’ll take more milk. I guess I am just not completely ready to close this chapter too suddenly.


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