By 15 months, my daughter decided rather peacefully to just quit nursing. She went on strike, and she’s not even union. I clung to nursing for a couple more weeks, still sipping on mother’s milk tea and offering her breastmilk when she nudged around for food. She would not so kindly react to me by nipping me with her little razor sharp hippo teeth or by blowing raspberries on my boob.
While I didn’t see it coming, here are some reasons I can feel good about being done nursing:
1. Nobody Owns This Body Anymore
I am in full control of who gets to put what on my boobs now, and nothing resides in my uterus. I am a free woman—a free woman who still wipes boogers with her sleeve when we’re out of tissues and refuses to go grocery shopping unless her kids are at school, so yeah, free-ish.
2. I Can Leave the House Without Timing a Feeding
I don’t frequently leave the house because I have three kids, all of whom scream a lot. But the option is there if I want to take it. I don’t have to sit on the side of the highway and nurse a baby or squeeze myself in between car seats and nurse while hovering over the baby while my husband drives the car. As a result, I will no longer be 30 minutes late to every single thing.
3. I Don’t Have to Scout Out Nursing Spots Upon Entering New Premises
I have not and never would nurse a baby in the bathroom, but I have sat in the corners of busy shopping malls. I have nursed on a ride-on Thomas the Train and sitting on the footrest of a stroller during a 4th of July parade. Now I will just gaily run after my kids with my boobs properly strapped in for landing.
4. Nighttime Feedings Can Now Be Doled Out By My Husband
This is the granddaddy of relief. With three littles of different ages and abilities, their survival depends on my sleep. Now I can do that after I foist the baby onto my husband and remind him gently that I managed for a year.
5. No More Buying Bras With Clips
…or doubling up shirts so that I can wear a nursing tank underneath a regular shirt so that I don’t expose my stretch marks to the public while my baby takes what she needs. This system is especially sweaty in the summer months. I’m comfortable enough to nurse in public without a cover, but I’m not so confident as to lift up a shirt and expose my shabby, enormous bra while I do it.
Which ties into the saddest reason I’m glad breastfeeding is over:
6. I No Longer Have to Wonder If Today Will Be the Day That Some Stranger With a Smartphone Snaps a Photo While I Nurse
Then blasts said photo on social media with some awful caption like, “Why can’t you gross breastfeeding moms just cover up?” Some people are awful to other people. That’s the only possible explanation for this exploitative trend.
And now the worst of the best reasons that I’m thankful to be done nursing a baby:
7. The Drugs!
I can take DayQuil and NyQuil, drink any tea, take any vitamin, or drink a weight loss shake or a whole bottle of wine in an hour if I so choose. Having my body back to myself means having access to medications that aren’t limited to what will interact with my baby’s milk, and that’s peace of mind.
So now that I’m done nursing, I can take care of myself a little more every week. My kids are still tied to me by what sometimes feels like physical strings, and I know not all is lost because they are bonded to me and each other. Losing a breastfeeding relationship hasn’t affected me as negatively as I expected. I can rest assured that my infant got what she needed from me just when she needed it, and now my family can walk through to the next phases of growing up together.