As World Breastfeeding Week draws to an end, I've been thinking about the things I will and will not miss when the time comes that little Bear decides he no longer wants to breastfeed. For every one thing I will not miss there are several things that I will.
I will definitely not miss wearing these god awful nursing bras. As comfortable as they are, they are an enemy to fashion and I can often forget wearing a low neckline. Also at £30 for some of the cheapest, cheap they ain't. Since week 10 of my pregnancy I've had to wear them as my breasts ballooned beyond the size M&S did for non-wired bras and needed to use back extenders. Also the prettier M&S bras were of no use as once again the sizes did not seem to correlate with my new bosom buddies. Before becoming pregnant I had no idea how difficult it would be to find bras that would fit.
I know other brands are available but after trying a pair of Mothercare bras in my new size and finding that they too came up small, and also a local bra fitter, I just gave in to the fact that I would be wearing something that resembled more of potato sack than a bra for a while. Yes, I could have spent more money on finding some elsewhere like JoJoMamanBebe, H&M, Newlook, Figleaves, etc. But if my old reliable bra sellers couldn't get it right I was doubtful that any others would be much use.
That being said I have found H&Ms nursing vests to be incredibly comfortable, I'll miss the longer length which is great for layering (even if it does make you feel ridiculous having to double layer during the height of summer) and hiding / flattening some of my Mum-tum.
I'll also miss the fact that, because I breastfeed, I'm burning approximately an additional 500 calories a day – the 'easiest' diet I've ever been on, although to be honest I have also used it as a bit of an excuse to eat what I want and I'm going to have to be more careful about what I eat when our time draws to an end.
On the subject of diets, I will not miss having to think carefully about what I eat, although since we started weaning I have been more lax about what I'm eating as little Bear doesn't only rely on me for sustenance. The wine has returned and man was it a welcome friend during the worst parts of little Bear's four month sleep regression which felt like it lasted an eternity when really it was 10 weeks long.
I definitely will not miss the engorgement when I'm away from little Bear. Walking around with full breasts can be incredibly uncomfortable and leaking milk into my breastpads is hardly the most attractive thing in the world. And mastitis can definitely do one too – who decided to hit us with that delight?! I've had it three times and each time it has been a nightmare.
Whilst little Bear does not have any teeth yet, he does often nip me when he comes off and boy does it sting. I won't miss that, but I will miss the convenience of breastfeeding, especially now that we have managed to master feeding in the carrier. When we go out I don't have to worry about taking formula, sterilised bottles and boiling water out with me to make up a feed. Also now that we are well into weaning, by continuing to breastfeed I don't have to worry about over feeding little Bear (recommendations say that formula fed babies should have between 500-600ml once weaned) as my milk has adapted to his needs becoming more thirst quenching rather than solely a source of nutrition. I will also miss how, during the night, I don't have to delay feeding him as I make up a fresh feed, instead I can just put him straight to the breast and he gets his feed and comforting. That being said, at just over 8 months in, a couple of nights undisturbed sleep would be nice.
Finally, I will miss the way he looks longingly at me during a feed with those big thankful eyes. The way he put his hand on the top of my breast as if to say thank you. How he massages (although it's becoming more of a grab now) my breast to encourage more milk to flow. The way he can now relatch himself without as support – he's becoming more self-sufficient (or at least I think so). During each feed I feel such a rush of love for him that I imagine is better than any drug. It makes me feel so complete in a way I cannot put into words, and that is why this Mama Bear is not ready to give up and little Bear is not ready yet either.
Mama Bear x