I had grandiose plans to nurse her till she self-weaned; in a way I succeeded as she did wean off on her own, but part of me still feels like a failure because I still can't believe that any baby would willingly wean off the breast at 22 months old. Here I am, willing to nurse for as long as she wanted, and the silly girl weans herself before she even turns 2! I keep thinking about what else i could have done to provide for her longer, and every time she falls sick i feel guilty (coincidentally, she has been falling sick regularly in the past 2 months).
OK, so amidst the tears and overwhelming sadness, I know there is a lot I should be thankful for:
1. That I was at least successful at full breastfeeding for about 1 year, and supplemented breastfeeding for about 22 months. For that, I have to thank my husband, mother, lactation consultant, understanding bosses, and supportive friends like my big friend SK, who was a great source of inspiration and motivation and started me off on this breastfeeding journey;
2. That my wonderful baby took to the breast from the start and seldom gave me breast rejection problems, and also that after the first month, she stuck to a schedule of nursing once a night, and stopped nursing during the night when she turned 8 months old;
3. That despite the regularity that blocked ducts plagued me, I never had a case of mastitis;
4. Lastly, that the pain of weaning is borne by me and not by Claire, rather than the other way round. I have read the experiences of other mums who had to wean their babies off, and if I had to do that to Claire I think it would really break my heart. As it is, she is happily adjusted and (I like to think!) emotionally-secure.
I shall just try to keep the points above in mind, and hold on to the wonderful memories I have of nursing Claire. Memories like this one:
The first nursing experience - within the first hour of birth. The nurse had to help me hold Claire because my other arm was still on drip due to my condition (excessive bleeding), hahaha.
To all mums out there striving to do full breastfeeding: You can do it! It's a long long journey and frequently painful, especially during the first few months (you won't believe how many tears I shed over the pain of blocked ducts, which I rate as worse than labour pains), but knowing that you were the main source of nutrients for your baby - wow, I just can't describe how good that makes you feel. :)