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A mothers Loneliness

I am lying in bed wondering when the next feed will be.  It is usually around this time so it feels almost pointless to go to sleep before he wakes.  It's in these moments I dare to let my thoughts loose.  The ones I have been too busy all day with my baby to listen to.  It's in these moments I hold back the tears and try to push the welling grief down.  I am led right next to my husband, he is sleeping, and although I could just put my hand out and touch him - he feels further away than ever.I am lying here knowing I am lonelier than ever. My baby is asleep in the adjoining room, he has a cold and I can hear his nose whistling as he sleeps soundly.  In that room is my whole heart, my reason for going on, my reason for living.I have never had many friends, I came from a military family so we moved so many times friendships were fleeting and even in my adult life I have also remained nomadic! Maybe it's a learnt behaviour, not holding onto friendships because I always leave…

The sorrow of saying goodbye to breastfeeding!

I can't quite believe that my little boy is 7 months old next week.  What is more unbelievable is my maternity pay stops in 6 weeks and the inevitability of the return to work is looming. Currently me and my son are coming to the end of my breastfeeding journey and it is a decision that I am finding more painful than I ever anticipated.

I didn't have the easiest of starts to breastfeeding and it took till around 14 weeks in to be pain free due to numerous issues (read my blog on the challenges I faced here).  But after those 14 weeks things got better and better, breastfeeding became easy, and more than that, I started to enjoy the time I had just me and my boy.  

I loved how he looked at me, how he relaxed, how content he was during and after feeds.  

I felt like we were connected and as he got older it got even more special as he would laugh or smile as our eyes met while he fed or how funny I found it when he got distracted by some noise or movement and pull off to have a quick peek before quickly reattaching to finish off his meal.  He would pull at my top when he got hungry and I was able to quickly satisfy his hunger, I felt like we were united and that as his mother I could give him everything that he needed and he knew it too!

So I have put it off and put it off but with work looking more and more likely to happen in September I started to drop a feed at a time onto formula, starting with one of his night feeds which we had previously done as a formula at the start.  This one came with very little regret as this feed was usually around 1am and although I still woke his Dad took over to give this feed!  But then the regret kicked in as soon as I decided to drop his lunchtime feed onto formula.  And this is when things got really interesting because I had continued to breastfeed through excrutiating pain at the start, and it was guilt that kept me going.  Guilt that he would miss out or in some way miss me, the closeness the comfort; but this was not the case at all!

Firstly my little one reached for the bottle as soon as he saw it, he happily guzzled it down whilst I looked on feeling a little dejected.  He never once attempted to get to the breast and he was happy and content when he finished. Don't get me wrong I am glad he can take a bottle no problems but the realisation that he was growing up and no longer really needed the comfort of the breast hit me harder than I thought.  I was feeling a sense of loss, a sense that we were moving on from that tiny little newborn and starting the transformation into a little boy.  When I think about it a lump forms in my throat, I feel lost without him breastfeeding, my heart aches because I feel like something I love is gone!  It is hard to explain because it is a grief over something that was always going to have to end.  

Whether it was at 2 months or 12 months I knew it would end.  I just wasn't quite prepared for how much I would miss it.

 I think he is ready to move on but I don't think I was.  And as I have dropped other feeds I have realised that he is just as happy as he was before and that is lovely but it is taking me a little longer to adapt.  I am still feeling sad to be saying good bye to breastfeeding and each feed I drop is accompanied with the ache in my breasts as they become engorged for the feed they no longer need to supply, it comes with the knowledge that tomorrow they won't ache as much and in a few days they barely will be producing milk.  And although that means I can wear a decent bra again (hallelujah!), it comes with a tinge of sadness.

I haven't managed to quite let go completely yet; I cling to that one last feed, the one first thing in the morning, when he wakes and I feel like we reconnect after the night; where we are apart longer than any other time in the day.  I don't want to give it up but I know that soon I will!

I really admire those women who continue to breastfeed up to and beyond 12 months.  My heart wishes I could to, but my head knows that pumping at work would be a challenge too far for me and that going back to work is necessary.  And seeing him content after a bottle, happy to feed and just as relaxed makes this transition a little easier.  It does not however make formula easy and as I make up a bottle I am met with new challenges such as mastering the art of timing the making up of formula and desperately trying to cool it when I have got it wrong! I also have become paranoid about over feeding because my breastfed baby used to just feed when he wanted and take what he needed! Now there are numbers and recommendations and I am learning as he adapts to embrace this new challenge!

So as I struggle to come to terms with the end of a beautiful chapter of breastfeeding I have to take heart in the fact my boy is happy and healthy! I have given him a great start and had some beautiful moments with just me and him and rather than grieve that they are over I will rejoice in the fact they happened and I will always remeber it but now it is also time to move on to our next chapter to make some new and wonderful memories! 


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