Jessica Bates

writer | reader | mother | lover

March 22, 2018

First Latch Podcast Episode 2: Jessica Bates reads the poem Weaning

Today the 2nd episode of the First Latch podcast is live. And guess what? I’m the featured guest! I’m so happy to share this with you.

first latch podcast Jessica bates first latch podcast


Where to listen:

You can listen online at First Latch, on iTunes, or on the Overcast app. (I use Overcast.) I’m on episode 2, and I’m so honored to have Birth Tube as the sponsor for this episode. WOW. Maybe with my next birth I’ll live stream it for their community. How freaking amazing.

Thanks to Barbara Demske from First Latch for connecting mothers across the globe through the shared art of breastfeeding. The community there is so uplifting and supportive. I’m truly honored to be a guest on this podcast. Go find her amazing breastfeeding support Instagram page & give it a follow.

The poem that I sent Barbara first, and the one that I read on the First Latch Podcast Episode 2, is called Weaning. It was one of the final poems I wrote for Birth & What Came After: poems on motherhood. And it is one very near to my heart.



I did not know you would love it so
that I’d love it so
and now here we are more than
two years later, still nursing.

People are ready for us to stop.
I am one of those people,
and other times I’m not.

It has been a great comfort.
It has been a burden.
It has been an honor.
It has been a sacrifice.

We will find a new way to love
each other, new bonds, new comforts.
You probably won’t remember suckling
at the teat.
but I will. I will never forget.

But then I realize it’s time, and I point
to a square on a calendar and say, Here.
This day, we quit.

When I pick the date, I nurse you to
sleep for a nap,
and I stare at your little body in my
arms, not so little
anymore. I weep onto your body. Will I
know how to comfort you? How to
mother without milk?

For a month we nurse less and less,
gradually, we stay busy at the library
and seeing friends and taking walks and
splashing in mud puddles. I practice
saying, No. Not right now. Not until
You practice understanding,
waiting. You practice moving past anger.

On the date that was once far away and
now is here, I am nervous. I know,
though, it is time. It is the date
and I am ready, but still, how? The day
goes on and you ask and I say, No,
there’s no more milk at all, it’s gone.

And you don’t nap, just keep eating
more, happily, running around
the house, practically running
down the stairs. You are big. Bigger than
ever. Still, milk is the only way
you’ve learned to rest, only way
I’ve learned to rest. Before bed
I take a long shower.
I squeeze down the length of my breast,
I watch for the last time as milk squirts
several tiny lines, haphazard, magic.
I have a superpower, creating food
from the folds of my body. I have used it
well. Maybe
I will use it again for another.

In bed, nighttime, you try to burrow
into my body, crawl beneath the sheets
searching for my breasts,
fling yourself away when I say, No,
no more milk, we must learn to sleep
without it. There’s just no more.

I feel guilt, because there is more.
It’s a choice. I’m making it
for all of us. I’m making it for you. You
will grow once you don’t need me
for milk, for sleep. You will learn
how to be you, how to count sheep and
calm the body, you will learn
how to be alone and so will I.

Once your rage subsides and your
breathing slows
I pull you onto me, your body warm,
weight welcome, and I breathe and
breathe. You breathe and breathe.
Then, I can tell you’re out, the breath
slowed and peaceful.
With you on my chest I think of
the first time I held you this way,
skin to skin, in the bed of a hospital,
body tiny and skin dewy.
I have never loved you more
than I do now, finally resting,
sleep found without the comfort of my




Learn more about my book Birth & What Came After: poems on motherhood or find it online at Amazon. Reviews are so essential to independent authors, so if you read my book & enjoyed it, please consider leaving a review on Amazon or Goodreads. I would be so appreciative if you reviewed or shared, in person or online.

Thanks for reading and listening!

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Birth & What Came After, breastfeeding, motherhood, Uncategorized - Jessica Bates