The End of My Breastfeeding Era

Caitlin Houston
5 min readOct 5, 2023

After a collective 4.5 years, it is officially the end of my breastfeeding era. Read about the highs and lows of my breastfeeding journey, with a lot of sentimental thoughts on nursing my three daughters.

The End of My Breastfeeding Era

After a collective 4.5 years, it is the end of my breastfeeding era. I nursed three newborns who grew into breastmilk loving babies, and continued to breastfeed my daughters through toddlerhood. From planes to public restrooms, park benches to restaurant tables, both poolside and oceanside, I’ve breastfed in every imaginable place. I brought my breast pump everywhere too: the classroom, my office, an apple orchard, Mexico, a Newport bachelorette party and a post-wedding bar crawl in Boston. I dedicated 55 months of my life to breastfeeding and now, it’s over.

Mom breastfeeding baby on green couch
Mom breastfeeding baby on green couch

Disclaimer: There are health benefits of breastfeeding, but I can only speak for myself regarding my personal love of breastfeeding. I am a firm believer in “Fed is best.” Breastfeeding does not make a Mother or infant superior. Whether you feed your baby breastmilk or formula — it’s all wonderfully the same and absolutely amazing.

The Lows of Breastfeeding

My breastfeeding journey was not difficult, not like some of my friends who could not breastfeed due to tongue ties, inverted nipples, or low milk supply. My breastfeeding journey was mostly pleasant, but that’s not to say I nursed for 55 months without any challenges. Breastfeeding is an arduous demanding task only a Mother can perform for her baby.

There were five rounds of Mastitis, moments of painful excessive milk production and periods of low milk supply. I experienced clogged milk ducts, sore cracked nipples, and milk blebs. My first baby and I spent weeks making sure she was gaining enough weight after nursing at a Breastfeeding Support Group. With my third, I sought support from a lactation specialist for proper techniques to empty my breast and avoid Mastitis. All three of my babies were all allergic to dairy, so I spent years following a dairy free diet while breastfeeding.

I have felt intensely connected to my daughters since they were born. Some say breastfed babies are more closely bonded to their Mothers from birth — but both Mom and Dad can have powerful skin to skin contact after a baby is born. During skin-to-skin, we release a powerful cocktail of calming hormones: oxytocin, prolactin, and endorphins. My babies were very attached to me during the years they were breastfed though, sometimes too attached.

There were times I felt suffocated and trapped, controlled by my babies who preferred breastfeeding over a bottle. Cluster feeding, nursing strikes, and postpartum depression from weaning. I had sleepless nights and very early mornings with fussy, hungry babies crying at my breast. Many of these moments blur together, making it impossible to remember which daughter did what. But there is a very profound overarching theme with each breastfeeding experience: I wouldn’t have wanted it any other way.

The Highs of Breastfeeding

I’ve nursed my babies for nutrition, for comfort, through illness and to fight off infection. The girls ate happily, hungrily, angrily, and while asleep. We nursed in bed, in their rocking chair, on the couch and in the car.

I will never forget the moment when each of my daughters latched to my breast following her delivery. Annabelle, my first born, did not breastfeed for some time after her birth. There was an in-room NICU checkup and lots of snuggling before a nurse helped me put her on my breast. We met the lactation consultant in the hospital multiple times during our stay, learning how to make sure she opened her mouth wide enough to eat. Ailey, my second born, also had to wait to start breastfeeding after visiting the NICU in the delivery room. She also had to meet her big sister briefly — but did not seem to mind the delay. And Arbor, my third little girl, she arrived ready to eat. From the moment she was placed on my chest, only pausing to grab my finger, she inched her way over breast and began nursing as if it was her sole purpose in life.

If I could bottle the delightful emotions I have felt while breastfeeding, I’d wear the perfume every day. The first time she looked into my eyes while nursing, actually seeing me and acknowledging me. The small piggy noises, the angry bird tendencies, the itty bitty sounds of pleasure (and sometimes frustration). Her tiny hands always rubbing, constantly touching; first my breast, then my chest, fingering my necklace and finally resting her palm on my cheek.

Mom in black dress breastfeeding baby while sitting in glider
Mom in black dress breastfeeding baby on green blanket while sitting in tan glider
Mom in black dress breastfeeding baby while sitting in glider

Saying My Final Goodbye to Breastfeeding

Breastfeeding allowed me a unique point of view as I watched each one of my daughters slowly change. I noticed her cheeks plumping, spotted her first freckle, spied her hair finally growing in, and noticed the color of her eyes turning from black to green to brown. I felt the weight of my babies fluctuate as they expanded not just in size, but length too. And I kissed her baby toes and fingers while her hands and feet grew a little bit every day.

Breastfeeding has been one of the finest chapters of motherhood. It’s been a memorable time in my life I will not only never forget, but also never experience again. I cherish and thank my body’s ability to nurse three babies for 4.5 years. While my heart aches to relive the best bits of breastfeeding, my eyes are open to experiencing new meaningful moments as a Mother.

The End of My Breastfeeding Era by Caitlin Houston

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Caitlin Houston

Caitlin Houston is a Mom of three and creator of Connecticut based life + style site Caitlin Houston Blog.