Warning: this is a post about boobs and breastfeeding
About a month ago, I stopped nursing Nat. He turns 3 years old in two months, so I guess I breastfed my youngest on demand, water-cooler style, for two years and ten months.
It didn’t happen just like that. I have been struggling to stop. I have been hoping to nurse him for a long while more. Yes, you heard that right. I was the one who couldn’t let go.
After he turned two, I have been repeatedly telling him that he’s now a big boy and he should start drinking from the bottle. He’s been extremely dependent on those boobies (mine, of course) to calm him, soothe him and help him fall asleep. I also have been repeatedly chided by the older folks in my life who would give me the biggest scrunch on their faces when they heard he was still nursing. They would warn me to stop and put images of a six-year-old Nat walking up to me demanding to be nursed in my head and instill the fear in me that if I didn’t try to stop him from latching, I never will.
And so I did. Believe me, I tried staying away and not tucking him in, applying essential oils on his milk source and putting a huge bolster in between us. And every time he cried my heart would shatter into a million pieces.
And every time he said “Mama Milk so spicy, GO AWAY MAMA”, I would burst into tears and feel the wrench in my heart that gave me even greater resolve NOT to stop breastfeeding.
He is my last baby, you know. And the miracle of motherhood is that first feeling of exhilaration of being able to produce milk for the child born of your loins. And continue doing so as often as he wants or as much as you can. I liked that feeling very much, and the thought that he’s the last one makes me want to savour every minute of the exhilaration for as long as possible.
So Nat and I. We constantly did the “Ok, you’re a big boy now so no more Mama Milk” thing and the “Mama missed you so bad, come let me feed you some milk” dance on alternate days for another ten months from the time he turned two, and whilst it was fun, he was going to be turning three.
And the images of a six-year-old Nat walking up to me demanding to be nursed started to frighten me more often than usual, and I thought I’d better have a talk with Nat before he turned three.
So for many nights in November, we started dreaming up his third birthday party and singing songs, and that was how I put him to bed nightly – yes, without the boobs. He would tell me he wants a Ninja Turtle cake one night, and then a triceratops on another, a Diego cake on another, and yak about his favourite things, and then sing himself birthday songs in English and Mandarin.
I guess doing this every night for a while made him realise he was a big boy. He didn’t even noticed he didn’t need to nurse to fall asleep.
And just like that, I didn’t even know when that was, I did my last feed on my last feed.
And just like that, this boy just hugs Mama after his Milo in a bottle, says his prayer and falls asleep.
And just like that, the boobies stopped milk production and there was no more supply.
Last afternoon, feeling a little sentimental, I offered Nat my boobs instead of his bottle.
Me: You want Mama Milk? (he fondly says this when he wants to be nursed)
Nat: Em, nope!
Me: Why? Come la, try!
Nat: Mama has no more milk. Last time I try. No more.
Me: Oh no. Mama has no more milk. Mama’s so sad. Mama has no more baby.
Nat: You lend other people’s baby la, Mama. (He meant borrow people’s baby to drink my milk!)
Me: Other people’s babies drink their own mother’s milk, dear. Where’s my baby?
Nat: No more baby.
Me: Then what are you? You’re Mama’s what?
Nat: I’m a boy.
Yep, my last feed was really my last feed ever. And just like that, this boy is sure he doesn’t want Mama Milk anymore.