Once we’d managed to establish breastfeeding, I wanted to make it to at least one year. It just felt like a good milestone to achieve. Well, 12 months on and we made it!
I’m writing this post now that Sebastian is 13 months old and I’m actually not breastfeeding him anymore. The last few months, we had cut down daytime feeds and then gradually I was only breastfeeding overnight, to settle him back down if he woke up, and that worked perfectly. Until one day, it didn’t.
13 months old
At around 13 months old (which is 12 months corrected for Sebastian), sleep started to go completely haywire. We had a terrible week of no sleep which started 7 days after his 12 month vaccinations, the time when babies can run a temperature. Combine that with EIGHT teeth erupting all at once (four molars and four canines) and definitely some developmental progress and it was the perfect storm.
Sebastian suddenly rejected everything that used to settle him: sucking his thumb, sucking a dummy and breastfeeding. He would wake up in distress, crying, thrashing and shouting so naturally I offered him the boob but he just wasn’t interested. He turned his head away and he bit me when I tried again. I would never force him to breastfeed any more than I would force him to take a bottle or do anything he didn’t want to do. I’ve been completely led by what Sebastian wants his whole life, and he was clearly telling me he didn’t want to breastfeed anymore.
I was surprised that I didn’t feel upset about it, because I’d cried a few times in the run up to his first birthday about breastfeeding slowing down and I’d also been worried about how to soothe him without it. I think that seeing him say no to me just made me sure that it was the right time to stop.
I know, I know that babies go on nursing strikes at times, but this didn’t feel like that. Sebastian has never asked for a feed or grabbed at my top so I know that if I offer it and he doesn’t want it then he really doesn’t want it. Since then he’s had the opportunity plenty of times but he’s never tried to latch on again.
And it feels right to have stopped – the right time for both of us.
I am so proud to have reached a year of breastfeeding. I still have some sadness that I was never able to exclusively feed Sebastian but I know that he needed more than I could provide and I am ok with that now. It was a long and difficult road but the moments of togetherness, closeness and cuddles have made it so worth it.
World Breastfeeding Week
I still think there’s so much work to be done in support for breastfeeding mothers in England. And there is a lot to be done to normalise breastfeeding in our society. Women don’t breastfeed to flaunt their boobs, to draw attention to themselves, to make other people feel uncomfortable, they do it because their baby is hungry or upset and needs them to do it.
We have to feel comfortable talking about breastfeeding and seeing people feed in public. You wouldn’t ask a bottle feeding parent to cover up so why should a breastfeeding mother? Boobs are not just sexual objects, they give life to our children – that was their intended purpose, not to grace page 3 of the trash newspapers.
To find out more about World Breastfeeding Week, take a look at their website here.
And if you want to chat about breastfeeding, please message me or comment below.