Breastfeeding your baby is hard. But it is also a beautiful and rewarding experience. But what about when you feel that the journey is coming to an end? How do you know when to stop breastfeeding your child? In a moving Instagram post, this mama shares the bittersweet emotions that arise when preparing to make that decision.

"How do you know when to stop breastfeeding? 

When are you ready to move on from something so demanding and so remarkable? 

Is there one last memorable and beautiful feed?

When are they ready to move on from something so profound in what it creates and in how it changes your cells and theirs?

Is it a big goodbye when you put the pump away and retire the nursing bras (for another baby maybe)?

Is there one last memorable and beautiful feed?

Maybe. 

Related: How to stop breastfeeding

But I don’t know that that’s how any of this works—the whole, this stage becomes that one.

I think that somewhere along the way it kind of just happens: There’s a hint of wanting for the next. 

There's a feeling like someone—you or them or both—could be growing out of something that's fit for so long. (Someone’s forever even.)

There's a thought that the next stage feels good: a little bit freer, a bit less needed. 

In your mind, you can see it.

Related: When weaning makes you sad

And there's the pulling back, too: the did-I-enjoy-it-enough wondering, the you'll-never-be-this-little-again realizing.

And that’s how it always goes, isn’t it?

So did you see the end?

I think. I don’t know. Because these things aren’t black and white. They’re not one way or the other.

Maybe not.

How did you know it was time?

I don’t know that you did.

I think we're done breastfeeding, I texted a friend the other day. 

I think. I don’t know. 

Because these things aren’t black and white. 

They’re not one way or the other.

Usually, it's a mix of this and a mix of that, and see how it goes. 

Related: What I wish someone had told me about weaning

And isn't that the way we learn the most? Isn't that the way we grow? 

Because for me, the beginnings and the ends and the middles; the phasing out and the in-the-thick-of-it? 

They’re not so concrete. 

They blend together always. 🤍"