10 days ago I breastfed Olivia for the last time. 18 months and 10 days after the first time I held her tiny body to my chest to feed her and it was all over. Breastfeeding was such an incredible journey for me. I am so proud of what I was able to achieve and have loved (nearly) every minute of the ride.

Looking back, there were the grazed nipples as we both adjusted to each other. There were groggy feeds in the middle of the night when I would have much rather been sleeping. Then there was the engorgement and leaking and biting. All these things I could do without.

But without them I wouldn’t have had so many precious moments with my girl.

The moments when she would look up and make eye contact with me only to burst into a tiny fit of giggles. The feeling of her little hand wrapping around the side of my breast. The ability to instantly calm her tears and fears and to bring almost instant sleep to her tired eyes.

But over the last couple of months, I was starting to wonder if it would ever end. Rather than sleeping through the night as she had been doing, she was now waking regularly seeking comfort. I had become somewhat of a human dummy and it was exhausting and painful. I was getting very little sleep and with an active toddler, running on empty isn’t an option.

So I made the decision to stop but actually stopping was another story. I worried that she would struggle to adjust without the breast. Would she be up all night crying because the one thing that had given her comfort in the past was now gone? Would I regret my decision of not continuing to feed and allow her to self wean?

But then an invitation came. A night away at a health retreat, my first night away from Olivia. I took it as a sign that I was making the right decision and it gave me a deadline to work towards.

And so early in the morning when Olivia woke crying for comfort, rather than bringing her into bed with me to feed her as I had do so many nights before, I sat in her room and focused my full attention on my daughter and the last time we would share a feed together.

I watched her little mouth taking in her milk with such expert precision. I brushed the hair from her face and watched her eyelids flutter as she filled her little tummy with nutrients. I tried my very hardest to etch those moments into my mind, never to be forgotten.

Much to my surprise (and delight) weaning has not had the disastrous consequences that I had thought it might. Our sleeping patterns have returned to “normal” and I am starting to feel the fog of exhaustion lift. The few days immediately after weaning involved distraction and an early breakfast. I feared tantrums and tears but have instead had a happy toddler who seems to have adjusted very well to the new reality sans boobie.

And now I feel more of a sense of freedom. My body is once again mine and I am not sharing it with another person. While I miss those cuddles in the middle of the night, it just makes me appreciate the cuddles during the day even more.

Have you weaned a toddler? How did you do it?