Photo: Pixelheadphoto via Deposit Photos

 

Editor’s Note: Here at Red Tricycle, we respect and celebrate every mom’s feeding journey. Bottle? Boob? It doesn’t matter—we believe fed is best. Our Spoke Contributor Network is inclusive and open to all parenting journeys—yours, too!

Interested in sharing your child’s feeding journey? Whether it’s transitioning to formula or introducing solids, to navigating food allergies or raising your kids vegetarian—Spoke is the place to share your rockstar moments and inspiring journeys. Submit your own feeding story to Spoke right here.

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I breastfed you for 28 months.

It was an amazing journey filled with ups and downs, tears and laughs and whole lot of bonding.

Now that you are no longer nursing, all I have are the memories and here’s what I’ll always cherish about our time extended breastfeeding.

I cried.

Breastfeeding brought tears at times.

From the moment I brought you home, we bonded instantly, but that doesn’t mean there weren’t struggles.

You didn’t sleep well as a newborn and your father and I spent countless nights up swinging, singing, carrying and rocking you as our sleepy eyes could hardly stay open.

I got up most of the time to comfort you since your dad had to go to work and also because all that would calm you down most of the time was nursing. And so…

I cried.

I was overwhelmed and sleep-deprived and my tired body just wanted rest. However, I was determined to exclusively breastfeed you for as long as you wanted.

I don’t regret one minute of those hard nights, but I definitely cried.

I learned.

Breastfeeding didn’t always come easy for me.

With your brother, I gave up before he was a year old because I didn’t know what I was doing.

I didn’t know where to find the support I needed to continue.

With each baby, I learned a little bit more and lasted a little bit longer. As my fourth child, I’m so proud to say that I breastfed you for almost two-and-a- half years.

I learned a lot through the years and was able to apply it all to make our breastfeeding journey the most successful one.

I learned a lot with you and from you.

I hid.

I never quite got over my breastfeeding shyness.

There is a movement swelling where nursing moms are realizing it’s completely normal to nurse a baby and they should not be ashamed to do it in public.

I completely agree with this movement but I never fully embraced it for myself.

Out in public, I covered you for discreetness. Even at home when we had company, I’d go to another room if you were hungry or cover you with a blanket to nurse around guests.

This is a part of our journey and I embrace it.

I comforted you.

Breastfeeding was your go-to source for comfort.

If you were scared, hurt, hungry or unhappy in any way, holding you and putting you to the breast always made you feel better.

As a baby your emotions weren’t as apparent; you cried and had the same satisfied reaction when you nursed.

But as you grew into a toddler and were able to express more nuanced emotions, I loved being able to stop the pain if you got hurt, reassure you if you were scared or simply bond with you when you wanted to cuddle, all from breastfeeding. The expressions on your face during these times relayed a million emotions but most of all they expressed your gratitude and love for your mom.

I loved being able to provide that comfort. It created an unbreakable bond in us that I’ll cherish forever.

I laughed.

Breastfeeding you as a toddler was funny.

As you got older you became more curious and wiggly.

Most of the time you wouldn’t stay still but instead there would be a lot of toddler acrobatics going on. It still amazes me how you were able to get yourself into some of those positions while nursing.

This to me was one of the best parts about nursing you past a year old.

You made me laugh.

I mourned.

There came a point when I needed to stop nursing you.

The plan had been to let you breastfeed as long as you wanted to and then self-wean when you were ready, but I was ready to stop before you were.

Due to circumstances outside of both of our control, it made sense for me to stop. I know it was the best decision for us at that time, but every once in a while, I mourn that I had to stop breastfeeding you.

When you curl up in my lap and still ask for your “milk-milk,” I mourn a little.

When you are fascinated as you watch me change shirts and ask if you can nurse only to be told “the milk is all gone,” I mourn a little.

At night when you still don’t sleep well and I think back to the newborn days when you could be consoled simply by breastfeeding, I mourn a little.

I mourn that that time in our lives is over and we’ll never see it again.

I wouldn’t change a thing

Even though there were rough times, there were many, many more happy times and I wouldn’t trade any of it.

We’ve closed that chapter of our lives but the memories we created will live on in my mind forever.