I posted last night about Breastfeeding a Toddler. It’s something I’ve had written for a while, but I’d been saving it for the small one’s birthday on Tuesday. Knowing what I would be posting today, I have been dithering over whether to change it, but I decided to let it be â€“ my feelings haven’t changed and it seemed fitting to post it as she turned two, in line with the WHO recommendations for breastfeeding.
Sadly, over the last few days, our situation has changed. Some of you will know that I have back problems which developed in pregnancy and am still fighting to return to work. The operation I had a couple of months ago has made a difference, but I am still unable to walk far and struggle with the pain.
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I saw my consultant this week and he thinks I may need further treatment. In the meantime, he has prescribed medication to improve the quality of my sleep and help with the fatigue. If I want to take this medication, I have to stop breastfeeding.
Until now, I have always chosen to bear the pain and work with breastfeeding safe painkillers, but this is different, as it offers something more than temporary pain relief. I talked it through with my consultant and he felt that now is â€œthe time to stop breastfeedingâ€. It was said without judgement or prejudice, and it has made me think.
I feel less of a mother when I can’t do the things I would like with my daughter. I feel less of partner when I complain about every hug. I am lucky to have reached a stage with my daughter where breastfeeding itself is less important than our wider relationship and I feel she will benefit more from having a mobile, energetic mum, than from a few months more at the breast.
I am very sad that she won’t have the opportunity to self-wean and I’ve cried a good few tears over it, but I have decided that my consultant is right, and now is the time.
Despite my own sadness, particularly that I started without that â€œone last feedâ€, the physical process has been incredibly easy. The first night, when small one asked for mummy milk, I apologised and told her that it was all gone tonight and suggested cup milk and cuddles instead. She wasn’t impressed, but agreed and went to sleep without feeding. The following night, we repeated the process.
Last night, she didn’t ask. We read a book, she drank some cup milk, we cuddled, she slept. And I am sat here sobbing. My little girl is growing up.