I’ve often wondered if all mothers who choose to breastfeed actually enjoy it. I mean, the act of nourishing your baby from milk produced by your own body is pretty spectacular. It’s a great way to bond with your bub, it has all the nutrition their little bodies need and of course, it’s free…so there aren’t really many negatives when it comes to the liquid gold. All that great stuff aside, did you actually enjoy breastfeeding?
I’m not quite sure whether I did. I know, controversial! Maybe it was because my babies and I had difficulty finding our groove in the feeding department. Maybe it was because my boobs were the size of Europe. Or maybe, it was because breastfeeding just felt really foreign to me. While I did enjoy looking down into my child’s eyes while they drank from my breast and loved the bonding side of it, breastfeeding always felt like a big deal. I didn’t feel comfortable doing it in public (props to those who do) and as much as I feel really selfish to admit it, I just wanted my boobs back. After nine months of pregnancy and then eight months of breastfeeding my first born, I wanted my body back. I wanted to have a glass of wine without having to express out the next feed first. I really wanted to wear a bra with underwire and never see another breast pad again. I wanted to be free of the sole responsibility of feeding my child; one of the things that many mothers actually love about breastfeeding. If I’m being really honest, I also wanted my breasts to feel sexual again, because while I was feeding they were a no-go zone. A caressed nipple that decides to spray milk all over your partner can really kill the romance.
If you’re a woman who is looking at the end of the breastfeeding road with a heavy heart, a weaning ceremony might be something to consider.
After speaking to lots of friends and family members, it seems like I’m in the minority here. They all LOVED breastfeeding and were very emotional when that stage came to an end. Some women are so saddened by the end of their breastfeeding days that, particularly in the US, they are having ‘weaning ceremonies’ to officially acknowledge not only their last feed, but the many months (or years) of breastfeeding that came before.
Weaning ceremonies are discussed on website, The Leaky Boob, who explain it as this: “If breastfeeding was important to you, consider celebrating your experiences and remembering this special transition with a weaning ceremony.” They go on to suggest ways in which women can celebrate this time, from holding a weaning party, to documenting their breastfeeding story in a journal or buying themselves and/or their child a gift to mark the occasion. Some women even have their breastmilk made into commemorative jewellery.
While I was very happy to wave goodbye to breastfeeding, I totally get how it can be a struggle for some women. It really is a beautiful process and one that is special not only in its purpose, but also because it occurs for a finite time. So, if you’re a woman who is looking at the end of the breastfeeding road with a heavy heart, a weaning ceremony might be something to consider. It doesn’t have to be a festival, or even involve any one else; just an acknowledgement that you did something pretty damn special that meant a lot to both you and your baby. Time to celebrate with a non-timed wine!
Did you mourn or celebrate the end of breastfeeding?