Friday, 28 February 2014

Last orders and magic feathers

I remember the night before Amelie was born, I had a little nostalgic moment with my bump, thinking how bittersweet it was that within 24 hours, my pregnancy would be over, and my new baby would be here. I would no longer have exclusive access to this little person, I would have to share her.
For 9 months, I had marvelled at what my body could do - it had nurtured, sustained and grown a tiny little person all by itself, without me having to do hardly anything!
Sometimes it had been painful, and uncomfortable, and felt like a scary responsibility, but for the most part, I had worn my bump with pride, and felt great about what I was doing to bring this little person into the world.
I was looking forward to the next stage, though - to having my body back, wearing different clothes and showing my baby off to the world.

Well, 9 months later, here I am again at the end of a 9 month journey, because I've decided to start weaning Amelie off the boob.

Oh yeah, baby. I'm deadly serious.
It's been a very similar journey to pregnancy - sometimes it's been painful and uncomfortable, and felt like a scary responsibility, but for the most part, I have breastfed with pride, and felt great about what I was doing to nurture, sustain and grow this tiny person all by myself.

So, why am I weaning?*

Basically, because it's time. Amelie is on 3 good meals a day, plus snacks, and happily takes formula and water from sippy cups during the day.
The only time I was ever really needing to feed her was during the night (yes, I'm sure you've heard about it - every 20 ****ing minutes). During the first few months, that amount of night feeding is totally acceptable.
At nearly 9 months? Totally effing unacceptable. (in my opinion)
You see, I was feeding Amelie every 20-30 minutes during the night because boobs had become my magic feather.

Remember Dumbo and the magic feather? He could totally fly all along, but didn't quite believe in himself. He was scared to take the leap of faith, so Timothy handed him a magic feather, telling him that as long as he held it, he could fly!
All well and good until he dropped it mid fall during a circus act, and panicked. How could he possibly fly without the magic feather?
Timothy told him - it was just a gimmick, he didn't need it! True enough, he tried for himself and he flew!

Well, for me, that was breastfeeding. My baby won't stop crying unless I give her a boob. My baby won't sleep unless I give her a boob. My baby won't sleep unless I give her a boob.
That was the trouble though, I was completely trapped. I couldn't go anywhere without Amelie, because she needed a boob. So, no days out for me. No sleep, no going anywhere, the boob was boss!
Even if it meant becoming so exhausted that I couldn't see straight.

What happened? I decided one night that WE could do this ON OUR OWN, and we did.
Don't get me wrong, breastmilk absolutely has magical sleepy dust in it, but the whole thing that babies need is comfort, stability, routine.
We're past the recommended 6 month stage, and her diet is brilliant, so it's time for me to hang up my nursing bra, reclaim my body and start sharing my baby with other people.
I've done brilliantly, and I've been on every side of the boobing fence. I've done it, hated it, been ill with it, not even tried it with Daisy, then finally had this amazing, prolonged and very positive experience with Amelie.

Plus, she bites now. 4 teeth on top, 4 on the bottom, she packs quite a chomp. And seems to really enjoy the funny squealing noises mummy tries not to make when she bites!

So yeah, time to start the process of stopping. I feel a bit sad, but all the closeness will still happen, I'll just be able to have a break now and then, and finally get out of those horrible saggy old nursing bras!
I might have to roll my boobs up from the floor now and tuck them into a bra, but I'm proud of them, they've come a long way, and it turns out, the milk might go, but the magic is still within us.

* Incidentally, you should probably know that asking a woman if she breastfeeds, why she breastfeeds and when she'll stop is a bit like asking her age - some people just don't want to talk about it, so best not to ask.
I'm explaining my reasons not because I need to justify it, just because it might help others who are making the same decisions.

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