And now, we're finished.
This weekend, I stopped breastfeeding.
I'm overwhelmed. I'm sad that it's over. I'm proud that I wanted to do it, and grateful that I was able to for almost a year.
I marvel at my fortune — breastfeeding came relatively easy for both myself and Jacob, and (after those first few initially, challenging days) it quickly became one of my favourite aspects of new motherhood. Most nights I didn't even mind getting out of bed to feed him. I looked forward to that quiet time, just him and me.
When I went back to work in mid-June, I decided to continue breastfeeding for as long as I could. I quickly realized, though, that not pumping meant that I had a self-imposed deadline -- a trip to Chicago for four nights, for which I'm leaving on August 18. So, we started introducing more formula, but gradually. Jacob wasn't too interested at first, but over the past four weeks, he's gotten quite comfortable snuggling in with Dada for pre-nap and bedtime bottle sessions. By the end of last week, he was even willing to take a bottle from me, so I knew he was ready for a full transition.
Having the experience to nurse Jacob for almost a year changed me. It forced me to put modesty and self consciousness on the back burner and helped me focus on selflessness.
Having had this experience, there are a few things I'll do differently next time ...
[+] I won't chart every moment of feeding for a month. Yes, I did it for a month. I wrote down when he nursed, for how long, which side, everything. I think I used it as a bit of a crutch, to keep us on a schedule, to remind myself that I was doing this motherhood thing right. Next time I'll trust my instincts, and my baby's signals.
[+] I won't waste money on nursing tops. Regular clothes work fine, for the most part.
[+] I will invest in great nursing bras. I bought a couple cheapies when I was still pregnant and they did not do the job. Support is key.
[+] I will drink more water. Nursing makes you crazy thirsty, and I know I didn't always hydrate properly while breastfeeding Jacob.
I know I'm going to miss that time that only I could provide for Jacob, I'm willing to admit that I'm happy to share the bedtime feedings with Husband and I'm glad to have more of my independence back.
What did you love/not love about breastfeeding? Do you have any nursing stories or advice to share?