"This is what misery looks like," Emily Holdaway wrote on Facebook alongside an image of herself, naked in the shower, holding her crying son. "When breastfeeding no longer offers the comfort it used to, and you don't know how to take away the pain. I felt so helpless."
Ziggy was in pain — a bad case of diaper rash, and of course, the "we had lost the one cream we have that works," the mom behind Raising Ziggy told POPSUGAR. "His bum was red, his cheeks were hot. He was crying and crying and crying. I offered him the comfort of my breasts, and, through his tears he shook his head and continued to cry."
They ended up in the shower, skin to skin. Emily, 5 months pregnant, held her 19-month old son and cried. "I felt so powerless," she wrote.
She didn't know what to do — a common feeling among breastfeeding moms whose first solution to any ailment is to nurse.
"I've always been able to fix Ziggy and last night I couldn't. From the moment he was born, breastfeeding has been more than just a source of food. It was what he needed when he was upset, in pain, when he was tired. There was nothing it couldn't fix."
Emily, who went through her share of breastfeeding struggles — a bout of mastitis and a tongue-tie that made for incredibly painful nursing sessions — has since begun the "slow and gradual process" of baby-led weaning, a truly bittersweet experience.
"If I offer he shakes his head," she said. "Then he gets off my lap and runs off. I never expected to have such emotions when it happens, but I do. I feel rejected. I feel useless. I used to be his world and now his world is expanding."
She and her partner used to jokingly ask each other, "what the hell will we do when he doesn't boob anymore?"
Now, she knows: "We better start figuring it out."