Yesterday, at age 16 months (and 1 day), Precious had her very last breastmilk. I stopped pumping at the end of July. My goal was to get her through surgery recovery with mostly fresh breastmilk. After that, we used my frozen stash. I'm happy she got my milk that long and that she seems to like (and tolerate well) cow's milk.
We are done with babies, barring a miracle (aka a failed vasectomy). And that's okay--good even. I held a tiny baby, 5 or 6 weeks old, at a wedding reception recently and I realized that I didn't even feel the slightest twinge of desire to have another baby. I didn't want to be pregnant; I didn't want to give birth; I didn't want to care for another newborn or raise another child.
First, full disclosure, I judge. When I see a baby with a bottle and his/her mother right there, I think, "Oh, it's too bad they aren't breastfeeding. Formula's not the best choice." And then--since Precious--my second thought, "Oh, it could be breastmilk." Ultimately, I know formula's not evil and everyone has to do what is right for them; I don't know the whole story in most cases. I loved, loved, loved breastfeeding and want others to have that same love that I did. And I know not everyone does, so whatever. Do what you need to do.
That said, as I held this baby and fed him his bottle (formula--I watched the parents mix it), he kept turning his little head and nuzzling me, my breast in particular. And I thought, "oh, just to have a baby nurse again...just to snuggle one more baby to my breast and nourish them with this gift...to do something I'm good at and don't have to work to be good at...to be something I am--a nursing mother." And I suppose, with enough hours tied to a pump, I could produce milk again. (I had to check that night--when I squeeze, droplets of milk still come.) But Precious still isn't allowed to try to make suction until at least December. By then, she won't remember how to nurse. She hasn't had anything to suck since June the way it is. And so I'm done.
And it's going to have to be okay.