Jethro turned three on Wednesday – the birthday which has signified the end of breastfeeding for each of my four children. It has taken me a few days to even be able to write about it because there is so much to process.
I am so heartbroken, so relieved and so damn proud.
I have been breastfeeding for nine years straight, without a break. I have breastfed through tongue tie, mastitis, colic, reflux and aversions. I have sat up at night by the fire alone, feeding and rocking and singing, wishing the time away but wishing it would slow down at the same time.
I have dozed with a baby on my breast, desperate for sleep and wishing my husband’s nipples weren’t useless. I have given him the baby with a bottle of expressed milk many times when I needed a break. He has supported me endlessly.
I have wetnursed multiple babies, and other beautiful mamas have wetnursed my babies, when I couldn’t settle them myself or when I was so desperate for sleep I was at breaking point. I still cry with gratitude when I think about it.
I have donated countless litres of milk to mamas who struggled with low supply or medical conditions.
I have put breastmilk on wounds and in baths, in crusty eyes and in hurting ears.
I have nursed through three pregnancies and tandem nursed Reuben+Levi, Levi+Eliza, Eliza+Jethro.
On Wednesday Jethro had his last “bonk”. I sobbed and told him I loved breastfeeding him and that I’m really going to miss it, and that I will always love him so much. Then we cuddled and his eyes welled up with tears as he saw the tears in mine.
I have nourished my four babies from my own body for almost a decade, pouring out for them even when my cup was empty, producing the most perfect nutrition they could ever need.
My body is finally mine again. It feels weird, like I’ve left part of me behind.
I guess I have in a way.