445 Days. 64 weeks. Just shy of 15 months. And that fails to take into account the 9 months prior.
I have supported life for the past 24 months. It makes me super proud to say that. I makes me feel extremely lucky that my body was able to sustain another human life for two years. It also makes me extremely sad to say that it is over.
People worried that I was “spoiling” my infant. Feeding her too often. Not setting her down often enough. But thanks to biology, instinct, and fierce love, Hammie and I pushed through. We pushed through four months of soreness, weaning from a nipple shield, and 445 days of refusing to even discuss taking a bottle. It sucked but, man, it was amazing.
It seems perfect that we are celebrated our first full week without breastfeeding just as the world celebrates “World Breastfeeding Week”. Because, even though we are done breastfeeding, I am ecstatic – I accomplished my goal. Hammie doesn’t have any idea what formula tastes like, I never spent a penny on cans of formula, and we made it through winter cold season with only one illness.
I feel like a rockstar. Not because I am any better than any other mother, but because I did something amazing – I singlehandedly sustained Hammie’s nutritional needs for months, the better part of her first year. I trusted my biology, leaned on a few helpful mamas, and kept my baby close at all times.
People often say that they plan to “try” to breastfeed when their baby arrives. I can, without a doubt, say that it takes much more than trying to make it work. It takes desire and drive. It takes selflessness and patience. So many times, it would have been easier to hand a bottle over to Hubs and head out to dinner with friends but that isn’t what having children is about. It’s about sacrificing for their happiness. It’s about making sure their needs are met before your own. It’s about scheduling 8:30 girls’ night dinners so you can put your baby to bed at 8:00.
So as I mourn the loss of my baby and our special time together, I celebrate the new independence and the start of toddlerhood. I celebrate the new closeness we get to experience when we cuddle before bed. And I especially celebrate the new special time Hubs gets to enjoy as he can now participate in bedtime. He gets to share in the cuddles and bedtime routine.
Happy World Breastfeeding Week – past, present, and future breastfeeding mamas.