As of today, I am done with nursing Ayaan. I had originally planned to continue the early morning feed till he turned a year. But what with his teeth sprouting and his gums being really tender, he has decided to put a spanner in the works by rejecting my attempts to feed him for the last three days. So as of today, I have officially thrown in the towel and Ayaan stands fully weaned.
This is a huge milestone in Ayaan’s independence from me. Breast-feeding was the one thing that I was completely indispensable for. I could never take a trip without him for this very reason. And now I can - since none of his meals are actually produced and delivered by my body…
Still, I am having mixed feeling about this. I thought I would be thrilled about it because feeding Ayaan comes out tops as the most difficult and frustrating experience of my entire life.
The first few days were really tough, as I got extremely sore from the whole experience and each of the 20,000 feeds a day was a lesson in managing toe-curling pain without screaming out loud to avoid startling the baby.
Followed by that, Ayaan decided that it was no fun just going with the flow. So every few minutes in a feed, he would cry and cry and cry. And then I would have to get up and walk him up and down till he calmed down before continuing the feed. And this would happen between 3 to 10 times at every nursing session depending on Ayaan’s mood. I talked to three paediatricians and two gynaecologists and they could see no reason why he should be doing this and advised me to keep at it. To add some tension to this already frustrating situation, his weight gain was less than ideal all the way till he started solids at 4 months and even then it was only after 6 months that he really started putting on weight in line with that dreaded growth chart. Oh thank God those days are over!
But somehow, in spite of many moments when I wanted to tear my hair out, I am actually going to miss feeding Ayaan. I am going to miss the physical and emotional closeness that I felt when his little body was nestled into mine. I will miss the steady eye contact, which almost never happens otherwise now that he is so mobile and restless. I will miss the way he played with my face with his little fingers while he was nursing and the toothless smile of satisfaction when he was done.
And most of all, I will miss being indispensable…