The Empty Chair

I had a goal. A goal to give my baby breast milk for twelve months. Whether that may be through bottle or breast. With my first one, I pumped milk for 8 months but with so much we had saved up, we pretty much made it to twelve months with JUST breast milk. With my second, I wanted to do it similarly. As Abbie’s birth was quickly approaching, I had my mind made up that I was going to give breast feeding a shot. I forewarned myself that I would at least try but if she didn’t latch or I was getting too frustrated with trying that I would stop.

Breastfeeding is HARD, boy is it. No one ever tells you how hard breastfeeding actually is. All you hear is how good it is for your baby and how the bond between you and your baby will strengthen. I didn’t know there would be more sleepless nights with me crying in my bed because my boobs hurt than actual restful  nights. I didn’t know that I couldn’t go anywhere without my baby because she was exclusively breastfeeding. Worst of all, I didn’t know that I could get so upset for her not latching, that I would yell at her.

If only I had someone to tell me back then that I was going to make it to eighteen months. I guarantee that a lot less tears would have been shed. During month zero through seven, my nightly routine of bathing and feeding her became a two hour deal. It became very draining since I would be away from my family for two hours EACH NIGHT just to get her down to sleep. She would eat for about 45 minutes and then doze off while I was rocking away in the chair. Right as I put her in her bassinet, she’d wake up. I didn’t know what else to do but to start all over again with nursing her for another half hour. That was my night; just me, my chair and my baby.. each and every night. But like all else, I knew this too shall pass.

Each week, it became easier and easier to put her down. After we got our bedtime routine down to under an hour, things were more enjoyable and I began to LOVE our time we had together, just her and I. Breastfeeding became a bonding moment that I looked forward to every night.

EIGHTEEN MONTHS. The reason I keep saying it is because I am so damn proud of myself. After the twelfth month, I often got asked by my husband and other family members when I was going to stop. I just politely told then that I would be done when she is done. Side note: When did it become the “norm” to stop ALL breastfeeding at twelve months? I don’t think I’ll ever understand that.

Everything comes to an end at some point and that day was four days before her eighteen month birthday. If I said I was completely thrilled about being done with breastfeeding, I’d be lying. I think it was harder for me to let go of this phase of life than it was for her. I guess in a way I didn’t want ‘our moments’ to end. However, I knew our breastfeeding journey was soon coming to an end when she was becoming less and less interested in latching for more than 5 minutes. It was the perfect win-win for both of us to draw a line in the sand and stop.

So for now, the rocking chair where we once spent hours each night together, remains empty. Does she still ask for ‘boobies’ if she sees me naked? Always. Would I ever go back and not breastfeed her? Never. I feel there will always be a special bond that only her and I share and for that I am so grateful.

Xox,

Marlee

*Mamas, this post is in no way promoting breastfeeding over bottle fed over formula fed babies. This post was just simply just share my journey of hardships and joys throughout my breastfeeding experience. I support ALL mamas because we are in this together!

” As moms, we are in it together — raising the future. We are a tribe of future makers. So let’s support each other.” Marrisa Hermer

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