Breastfeeding doesn't last forever, and every mama has a different breastfeeding experience. For some mamas, it's a long journey. For others, it's a short encounter. For all mamas—whether you tried it for one day or carried on for years—it means something. And when that breastfeeding journey comes to an end, it can be bittersweet.

This mama shares a short, yet powerful message about breastfeeding, and we're here for it.

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"The day after I gave birth the second time, after I’d slept four hours in two days, a pediatrician came into my room.

She was a mom. I knew it the moment we made eye contact in the way that moms just know that other moms are moms.

She was there to check the baby but she saw it in my eyes: the tired, the trying.

She’d been there.

So she spoke in an upbeat way about the baby, and then she paused.

She told me that the benefits of breast milk are great and she told me that being able to catch a break from time to time matters too.

You don’t have to be a purist, she said.

I said thanks, but really, I wanted to hug her.

Related: One mama's moving post about weaning

I breastfed this baby for 222 days after that. And then, today, I didn’t.

And today—when all of the pumping and let downs and hormones rushing around rearranging themselves and the milk coming in and, now, the milk going away flooded my mind—I thought about that doctor.

I thought about her when I felt a pit in my stomach when the baby turned toward me for food and I thought about her when I felt the relief and the guilt that it’s laced with.

222: the number of days I breastfed this baby. And today, I didn’t.

You don’t have to be a purist. 🤍"