Most adults that practice yoga take classes at some stage to learn the poses. That is not a requirement for breastfeeding toddlers. They seem to instinctively know all the moves and all it takes is a nipple to be placed in their mouth, for the purposes of life-affirming sustenance, and suddenly they’re rocking stances that would make my yoga instructor look rigid.
My little Roxy was no exception. She would contort herself to watch her brother lining up his matchbox cars, or to watch her dad put his boots on, or simply to check whether the curtains were still open. She’d take my nipple with her, obviously. Because eating should not get in the way of curiosity, they exist together like teabags and mugs for a breastfeeding toddler.
I have loved feeding my little girl and found it lot easier than I did with the first bubby. We didn’t have the biting saga this time around, my milk came in without a fuss and Roxy fed with the sort of efficiency that would make a German rail engineer happy. We existed together at feed times for 13.5 months until last week I decided the milk bar would close. It was a very sudden decision, fuelled by my looming wisdom-tooth surgery and while I think it’s the right decision for the whole family, I’m incredibly sad this interlude is over for me and the little girl. If it wasn’t for the surgery, I reckon we could have gone on for another year, so maybe the surgery is a blessing in a painful disguise.
This far post-pregnancy, I didn’t expect hormones to still be playing such havoc with my mood but I’ve been more hot and cold than a Scandinavian spa this week. Every night I express the last of my precious milk in the shower and feel like crying as the supply gradually declines. They’d barely nourish a lady beetle now.
And then there’s the clucking, which would put a poultry shed to shame. Almost instantly from the moment I began weaning, I felt we absolutely had to have another baby. Don’t get too excited, we’re not doing anything just now! And Ben feels differently to me about this. He is more likely to commit to a year of washing up than he is to want another child, but he’ll be up against some serious female hormones if he wants to stop at two children.
For now, I’ll enjoy the freedom. I have been breastfeeding or pregnant for 3.5 years. I have loved it and I am grateful for my children and the experience of growing them and nourishing them both to the point of independence. Also, I feel proud of myself for making it work and for making sacrifices so that I could do it the way I wanted. I am also grateful for a kick-ass husband who has supported me. He even gave up onion and garlic, some of his favourite flavours, because I had it in my head that those foods upset my milk and prevented Roxy from sleeping.
Several times this week I have entertained the idea of going back, letting her feed when she politely taps me on the chest and says ‘booby, booby’ with her innocent expectation that it’ll always be there for her. But I feel different now that I’m not feeding her. I’m lighter without the responsibility of someone needing me so intensely. The whole weaning thing has been more bittersweet than chocolate with hints of sea salt (Whoever came up with that flavour?) but I am determined to continue now we have come so far and the girl hasn’t been distressed by her beloved milk bar closing down. I doubt I’ll look back, despite the hormones kicking my tear ducts into gear.
So, what to do with this newfound freedom? I’m a completely different person now to the party girl who could go hard until she fell asleep on the couch in the club and had to be escorted out by security. These days eating garlic, pouring a glass of wine and staying up until 10pm seems wicked. I wonder how long that will last for?