As I was getting dressed the other day, my two-year-old, who takes pleasure in helping me through my routine, pointed to my naked breasts and called their name.
She proceeded to touch one of them, rubbing it lightly with her hands then exclaiming 'Mmmm, delicious!' as she rubbed her tummy.
Never mind that she cannot yet pronounce the word properly! I laughed so hard.
This is a child who has not been breastfed since October last year, two-and-a-half months before her birthday — well, except for the one time on the airplane last month when she was having difficulty with the ear pressure.
It worked very well, but I vowed not to repeat it lest she felt we were regressing on the issue. It was important for me to let her understand that her breastfeeding stage was over, for besides her becoming increasingly independent, she also has a mouth full of teeth and I don't need to describe for you the result of the two meeting. That aside, I just need my breasts back already (and so does her dad).
She hasn't seemed to mind that it's now over. Getting here was however, quite challenging. She had become used to falling asleep with it — even after having had her bottle for the night — but I started to decrease the frequency after her first birthday. So where I would breastfeed in the morning before work and then again at night, I cut down to nights only. Then as she got to a year-and-a-half or so, I started cutting back on the night-time feeds as well, which was met with what seemed like hours and hours of bawling. As loud and annoying as it got, I mostly stuck to my guns, but there were times when I gave in and let her have her way, for the sake of my sanity and that of my neighbours.
By October, she had got used to not having it and more interested in the things I used to distract her — stories and songs — at bedtime. I let her pick the books she wanted to read and once she had her bottle, I asked if she wanted to go on the bed and read, which was always met with an enthusiastic 'Yes!'
After a book or two, or the same book twice or thrice, she'd be too pooped to even think about the breast. Same for the songs: She'd sing or hum right along with me until her little eyes closed.
But she clearly still remembers the pleasure and comfort she got from them, and probably still harbours some yearning too, hence the 'delicious' outburst the other day.
I wonder if she was trying to trick me into feeling guilty... I'm not falling for it though!
Katherine Elizabeth is a bubbly two-year-old who loves being chased, going for walks, and being read to. Her mom is using this space to share some of her experiences.