Breastfeeding shaped the connection I have with my child

Alice breastfeeding her baby outside on a bench

If you had told me that I would cry during our last breastfeeding session, I wouldn’t have doubted it. However, I would have never guessed the reason behind those tears.

My breastfeeding journey has been a rollercoaster of emotions, challenges, and precious moments. As I reflect on this incredible experience, I can’t help but appreciate how it shaped my connection with my child.

The first month of breastfeeding was the hardest

The first month of breastfeeding was undoubtedly one of the most challenging things I’ve ever done. The sleepless nights and sore nipples, it’s not for the faint of heart. But we persevered, and it was that determination that made everything that followed feel more manageable.

When my child turned one and began taking their first steps, it marked a turning point in our breastfeeding journey. Suddenly, we had moments of downtime, cuddles, and an even deeper connection. The world seemed to slow down as we bonded over those quiet nursing sessions, strengthening the unspoken bond between us.

The world seemed to slow down as we bonded over those quiet nursing sessions…

Returning to work whilst breastfeeding was a big adjustment

However, my journey took another turn when I returned to work as a breastfeeding parent. It was a significant adjustment that came with its own set of challenges. At first, by lunchtime, I felt physically full but emotionally empty. The separation from my child during the day was challenging, but the reunion after picking them up from nursery was an emotional lifeline. Their joyful cries and eager crawl towards me was a reminder of our connection.

Despite the difficulties, I found solace in our breastfeeding routine. Those moments became our sanctuary, a time to reconnect, relax, and reassure each other.

Returning to work not only brought challenges but also newfound freedom and mental stimulation. I was using my brain for more than just singing nursery rhymes, and it allowed me to be more present when I was with my child. Although balancing work and breastfeeding wasn’t easy, breastfeeding made it more manageable.

Alice holding her baby

As they got older our nursing sessions reduced

As time passed, my child gradually reduced their feeds, eventually nursing only twice a day – once in the morning and once after nursery. It was a bittersweet evolution, a reminder of their growing independence and our changing connection. Despite the decreasing frequency, these moments remained cherished, our daily ritual of closeness.

As time passed, my child gradually reduced their feeds, eventually nursing only twice a day – once in the morning and once after nursery.

Then, one day, it happened. We were returning to the UK from a week in Italy, and my child woke up, went to get themselves toast, and skipped their morning feed. It was a defining moment, a poignant realisation that our breastfeeding journey was coming to an end. On the (very delayed) flight back, I offered them a final feed, and tears welled up in my eyes. It was an emotional farewell to something I was incredibly proud of – those moments of profound connection, nourishment, and pure love.

On the same day, I faced another separation, this time from my child for three days due to work commitments. My original plan had been to wait and see if my child asked for a feed upon my return, but deep down, I knew that our breastfeeding journey had reached its conclusion.

The end of our brestfeeding journey brought sadness and pride

As I held my child close on that last flight, I cried not only for the end of our breastfeeding journey but also for the beautiful moments we had shared. It was a mix of sadness and pride, knowing that I had given them the best 14 months. Our journey had been challenging, but we had grown together, and now, when they cuddle, I understand that it’s simply to be near me, a testament to the enduring connection we share.

In the end, I was ready to stop, and so were they. This is my breastfeeding story, filled with tears, challenges, and love. It was a journey that transformed me as a parent and deepened the bond between my child and me. It may have had its difficult moments, but it was a journey I wouldn’t trade for anything, as it led us to the beautiful connection we share today.

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