I knew I was going to miss one feed as I wouldn't be around at bedtime, but Archie chose the night before and after to sleep through the night, meaning I missed three feeds in a row and when he didn't seem bothered on the second night it felt right to bring things to an end. It had been on the cards for a few weeks but I had no idea on that warm spring evening as we curled up together in the rocking chair that it would be our last breastfeed.
Our journey was relatively smooth and enjoyable. I wanted to breastfeed for at least eight months but was sure I would finish by a year. By eleven months we were only feeding at home but neither of us was ready to stop so we continued with no plan or goal in mind. Archie is now fifteen months and an active, energetic toddler. He is walking, talking, causing mischief wherever he goes and operating any machinery he can get close to. He has had the best start in life that I could give him and I feel happy that we had what we had.
Breastfeeding has always been a comfort as well as a food source, and night wakings, scrapes and tumbles and teething have all been soothed with milk. It was a morning greeting, a close cuddle on a busy day and a calming goodnight. It was something between Archie and I that nobody else could be part of and in those early days where everyone wanted a cuddle I knew that the first sign of upset meant I would have my baby back in my arms to feed. As he grew and feeds became less it became our quiet time in an otherwise noisy day and as we entered the toddler phase it became a promise of calm, a way to wind down together.
I don't have a whole lot of photos from our breastfeeding journey, and there are none from the later months when all sorts of gymnastics were performed as he fed. Archie was five months old in this photo and we were sat in the hospital garden during our month long stay when Dylan broke his leg. It was only because of the frequency of Archie's feeding that he was allowed to stay in, only because we could not be seperated for long and I don't know how I would have coped if the circumstances had been different.
The end of breastfeeding seems just another step in the move from baby to toddler, and Archie is in a period of huge changes at the moment, but it feels like the end of something for me.