Breastfeeding Journey 21 Months
I have breastfed my daughter for 21 months, that's 650 days! And I'm hoping there is more to come from this beautiful journey. I am certainly not ready to give it up yet. It's been the most wonderful experience and I'm grateful to her for having the patience to sit with me day in day out, mostly night in night out! She is my little night owl after all.
And for those 650 days I have had about 5, perhaps 6 nights of proper sleep where she has slept longer than 4/5 hours without waking and wanting her milk! 😩 I suppose at the beginning it was to be expected, then I kept thinking it will happen soon, then around 6 months pure frustration- why is she not sleeping when others are, then acceptance that she doesn't always want milk, she might want to feed for comfort and that began to be fine with me. I gave up comparing her or having expectations and settled into enjoying our time together, knowing one day it wouldn't be like this anymore.
But here I am on bank holiday Sunday laying in my room while my lunch guests have arrived and I don't feel like greeting them. Which is not me at all. I am very sociable and it feels odd leaving my husband and daughter downstairs whilst I take a nap and a break because I'm not feeling completely up for it today.
I'm suffering anxiety, it doesn't happen often anymore but when it does it doesn't (usually) last long because I know how to listen. Today's anxiety is telling me lay down and rest because you're tired and exhausted. I know in my heart that with taking on the coaching that I've started recently I can't continue to wake up 2-3 times in the night and do the night shifts alone.
I'm kind of glad that I've had no other focus in my life until now. I feel lucky that I haven't had to think about anything other than bonding and being with my little girl. The times we've shared in the middle of the night have been sacred and ours.
I listen to my anxiety because I honour my body and won't let it do anything it can't cope with. I always advocate women to stop breastfeeding when they are ready and make sure it comes from their own choice, alongside taking into consideration what their child needs too of course, but not at the detriment to their own health.
This anxiety that I am feeling today is clearly telling me that to recover from the exhaustion of night feeding, in particular, that I've been doing for almost two years, I need to start winding it down. I'll have a conversation with my husband later which will look like him supporting me and saying that if she wakes he will take her downstairs for a sip of milk from a cup, put her in a pram and walk her to sleep! He will then sleep on the sofa because she doesn't transfer easily at night for some reason.
And then we will both cross our fingers that this method will begin to make her realise there is no more milk at night, mummy needs sleep, mummy needs to rest, mummy needs to recover! And I just hope she can start to sleep better and perhaps sleep through.
I never want to regret my breastfeeding journey I think that would be so sad. I hear people all the time saying that with another baby they won't leave it so long to cut out night feeding. Whatever happens this is and was mine and Sophia's story, it can not be changed and I won't regret it. It's been the most incredible precious gift and journey that I have ever received in my life and I'm truly truly grateful. If I do things differently with a different baby that will be because that baby is different and I'm different as a result of the journeying I've had.
My husband jokes when I say to him do you think I'll bottle feed the next baby so that I can share the feeds with you- when I'm feeling completely exhausted by breastfeeding and feel like I've nothing left to give! Maybe, he'll reply, but I have a feeling you'll do exactly the same as you did with Sophia, and I think that's probably right!
On that note my anxiety is subsiding just knowing I'm going to start take action. Who knows when that action will be, perhaps tonight perhaps not. But just writing about it is a start and I trust I'll never push myself to do anything I can't handle. For sure god never gives us anything we can't handle I truly believe that too.
I'm now going to go and enjoy my Sunday afternoon with my family and our guests- who are also my husband's parents and his brother and wife-to-be. So people very special to my heart and I'll likely tell them how I've been feeling recently and be supported by them too, I'm sure.
Amen to that, we so need community and tribes in our lives, around us all the time, especially as new(ish) mums, or just mums at all for that matter.
Go in peace my friends, the light of the lord be with you.