As a mother, the bond created during breastfeeding is a profound and cherished experience. Louis, my little one, had been breastfed and mix-fed from the age of six months. It was a journey filled with countless late-night feedings, tender moments, a truckload of initial breastfeeding issues, a tug-of-war on how I felt about breastfeeding, and (as I later reflected) an unspoken connection between us.
However, our breastfeeding journey reached a turning point when Louis turned ten months old. It was a seemingly ordinary day, just like any other when he decided that he was done. His tiny hand reached out, gently pushing my breast away, as if to say, “No more, Mum.” It was a moment I had anticipated but was never quite prepared for, especially when it was his choice.
My initial reaction was unexpected. Rather than feeling relief that I could regain some independence, my mood plummeted to the lowest of lows. I grieved the end of our breastfeeding journey, a chapter that had defined our mother-child bond for the past ten months, but also something I had worked incredibly hard on. I felt extremely alone and isolated and was not equipped for the shift that it took in my mental health.
In the days that followed, I found myself reminiscing about the moments we had shared. Did I somehow stop this without knowing? Is this what he wanted? Am I a good mum? I recalled the way his eyes would lock onto mine as he nursed, the feeling of his tiny hand resting on my chest, his fingers entwined with mine, and the warmth that enveloped us both during those precious moments. It was more than just a source of nutrition; it was our time together, an unspoken language, a tool I had (just me) to soothe my baby.
And then there was that one poignant moment, a quiet revelation in the privacy of my shower. As I stood under the warm water, I couldn’t help but notice the changing contours of my body. The water pressure, gentle yet powerful, seemed to wash away more than just the physical residue of the day. It marked both closure and pride, a final farewell to a chapter that had been filled with love, nurturing, determination, and a unique connection.
As I stood there, I couldn’t help but smile through the tears. It was a moment of closure but also a moment of pride. I had provided for my child, and now he was ready to embrace new sources of nourishment and comfort.
In the days that followed, our weaning journey became a time of transition and adjustment for both of us. I gradually introduced new ways to connect and nurture our bond while adjusting my time and priorities to look after myself. These moments allowed us to continue strengthening our connection, even as our breastfeeding journey came to an end.
While it wasn’t easy, I came to realise that weaning was just another chapter in our mother-child story. It was a reminder that as parents, we must adapt and evolve with our children’s changing needs. Louis had made his decision to move on from breastfeeding, and I had the privilege of watching him grow and thrive.
In the end, I learned that our journey together was far from over; it was simply taking a new direction. Louis may have closed one chapter, but our story was still unfolding, filled with countless adventures, challenges, and moments of love that would continue to shape our bond in beautiful and unexpected ways.