Breastfeeding is such a complex thing, and when it ends, you can end up feeling, well, rather complex. There's no right way to react to the end of breastfeeding, because everyone's experience is different, but there may be things you don't expect to miss about breastfeeding—things that will hit you later on that suddenly make you nostalgic for that time you shared together.
It's amazing how many different emotions you can feel during the time that you breastfeed your baby. In the beginning, there's the anxiety of getting things "right," and making sure your baby's fed. At some point in the early months, you find yourself feeling frustrated or resentful of how much time is devoted to feeding this hungry baby. All the lost hours of sleep and the painful nipples from cluster feeding. Then there's the exasperation of your distracted baby who suddenly won't stay latched for more than six seconds because everything is just so interesting! There's the annoyance you feel at their refusal to eat solid foods when sick or teething, despite being older, too.
But, inevitably, your breastfeeding time together comes to and end, and all of the beautiful moments, and moments that weren't beautiful but still special somehow, come to the surface and overwhelm you.
A month ago, I had to suddenly wean my son. It was not a heartbreaking, painful affair; he was 21 months old and didn't need it quite like he used to, and I was certainly ready for him to be finished. I hadn't put any pressure on him to stop feeding yet, though, and I hadn't even thought about night weaning. Then I pinched a nerve in one of my upper vertebrae, and after several trips to the ER, ended up on some pretty heavy pain killers, anti-inflammatories, and muscle relaxants. My breastfeeding time was over, just like that.
Here are 6 things you don't expect to miss, once breastfeeding is over, but actually do:
Being A Source Of Comfort When Hugs And Kisses Aren't Enough
There were times it was annoying, I'm not going to lie, when I was wondering why the hell it couldn't be my husband comforting him for once, but now? Now I miss the simplicity of succour.
The Subconscious Fiddling Of Their Hands While They Breastfeed
This would sometimes annoy me, I'll admit. You know, sometimes that fiddling was downright painful! But the reality is that those unconscious grabby moments were so intimate, and I will miss the sweetness contained in them.
I know. Weird, right? But I have to say, pumping was kind of my ticket to alone time, and almost meditative. I could shut myself in my room and focus on the sound of the pump and just kind of go zen for 10-15 minutes.
Being The Primary Comforter
Similar to the above point, but one step further—I used to get so frustrated hearing only "Mama! Mama!" and never being able to pass off my son. Now he seems to favor my husband, and I admit that it hurts far more than I thought it would.
Wearing Nursing Bras
I'm sorry, but my nursing bras were so damn comfortable. They were like padded, adjustable sports bras that I could throw in the dryer and wear a million times and not worry. I miss them.
A Reason To Snack More
I miss those extra 300-500 calories that just automatically disappeared every single day. I made the mistake of starting to eat carbs again on the day I weaned, and I gained 10 pounds so fast, it's like I sprayed them on with a hose or something. It was actually kind of impressive.