My baby really isn’t a baby anymore. He’s 21 months and talking, running, slapping, laughing, and as of the other week, no longer nursing.
This is the first time since I was pregnant with my oldest (over six years ago now!) that I haven’t been nursing or pregnant. There’s a bittersweetness there. Kathryn wrote about her youngest weaning and I nodded along with all her musings.
Nursing doesn’t work for everyone. Some people don’t want to breastfeed, for others it doesn’t work out despite their best attempts, and still for others, they do a little of both bottle & breast and it works for them. I fully support FED IS BEST. Yup.
For me, nursing has been deeply, achingly wonderful. My daughter had a tough time starting out at it, but the boys have been pretty fine, and dare I say, after BabyLoves was born at a whopping 10 pounds and I was so out of it with endometritis (uterus infection) and bad tearing, that when he latched and it didn’t hurt I thought, maybe an excruciatingly large baby has its pros?
People asked about weaning as he was the first I *tried* to actually wean. My oldest self-weaned at 14 months and my second at 19 months.
But this little man was about 18 months when I went on a “sistermoon” with my sister Molly. That’s when you abandon your children and husband and go live it up on the beach with your sister (or sleep in a LOT and eat food prepared and cleaned up by others). I figured I would pump a little while there and he would adjust to not nursing by the four day absence of it. We had night weaned at 14 months so I thought day nursing wouldn’t be that missed.
I came home and he was all THERE YOU ARE!
I tried a few weeks later to evade nursing times and slow down again. My husband put him down for naps or my mom if they were around. I tried to break the association of sleep and nursing so even though I’d nurse a little before bedtime, it was with lights on, while reading bedtime books. Then I’d rock him a little and sing our songs. He loved to snuggle in the morning when he woke up and nurse. I tried actually getting my butt out of bed at 5:30 or 6 when he was awake and instead of nursing, start our day.
I went almost two weeks without nursing him. He asked for it all the time but I just distracted or evaded.
But my milk didn’t go away. In fact, I was engorged for the first time ever with him. I started feeling heat on one breast and saw redness, even with pumping a little or hand expressing to comfort, and downing sage tea, wearing a tight sports bra, stuffed with cabbage leaves. Not working. Low grade fever started.
Oh heck no. Not dealing with mastitis.
Want to nurse? Here you go, buddy. He was so happy to come back to it and my symptoms of infected breast tissue (or at the very least, aggravated tissue) abated. That was in December.
Here we are at the end of February and he’s stopped. We cut out night first, and then morning. Now he’s sleeping til 7am. Cue the angels singing alleluia. He’ll still make his clucking sound that’s a request for it, but I offer to snuggle or give him cow’s milk in his sippy instead.
I long for being close to him again and will often press his cheeks so hard into my own that he really wants to get away. I’ll massage his legs when I change his diaper and think I want to just eat him up. Biology in action there.
But really, it’s amazing how stabilized my hormones feel and how clear headed I am. He’s also sleeping through the night finally so that’s probably it too.
I love nursing though and look forward to hopefully another baby or three to nurse in the future! She also really wants a baby whom she can actually hold, as this guy is basically her size already.