After 27 months, I decided at the beginning of the week that it was time to wean the baby toddler.
We had a beautiful nursing relationship. She was my second so my personal comfort level was different. Unlike her brother who was a lazy latcher, tongue tied, and slow nurser (sessions were typically 45 minutes) she was speedy and efficient. Some feeds would barely be 10 or 15 minutes but she was plenty satisfied.
Similarily to her brother, she rejected one of my breasts. At first it seemed like I wouldn’t have that trouble, but slowly as weeks went on she showed the same favouritism he had, and eventually it wasn’t making her happy to even try it. So, as I had with my oldest, I let it go.
I nursed on demand. In the middle of the night. Any time during the day. For comfort. For falling asleep. For boredom. I nursed.
She affectionately called it ‘do-dos’ and would commonly be heard demanding them.
But the day came that she was still up multiple times a night demanding it (I tried cutting it out in the middle of the night for a week and that didn’t work for either of us well). She was moody during the day about it – if I said no, she was mad.
I’m happy I waited. Recently when a quick flu bug hit, I was more than happy that she was nursing since she was so tired and otherwise eating little. These were the moments that extended nursing rocked. When they were sick, or we were away and needed calming or for comfort.
But I felt it was time. And so we started. It wasn’t easy. My stubborn girl yelled and begged and sobbed at first. Which in turn made me sob. We simply woke up one morning, had a final nurse and I whispered to her that do-dos would soon be done, and that I loved her.
It wasn’t until later, when she asked again, that she realized what was happening. Going to sleep was hardest and even now, after a week, she still is skipping naps. Her bedtime routine has had to change completely, instead of our usually nurse and snuggle in the dark in her bed, she wants to be held and rocked in a different room with her bedtime song on. It’s been an adjustment for us all.
But her sleep is better. And her temperment when she is upset is better. And she doesn’t ask for it anymore.
She now asks to pick at my belly button, something she did while nursing and now carries on for comfort. And for now I’m okay with that.
Nursing to me was a beautiful thing. A bond, a convenience, something I am very proud to have done for 4 years combined with my children.
I still feel a bit sad, knowing that this is likely the last child I will nurse. When I come home or when we lie down to sleep I miss it. I remember her being a small little baby in my arms and I was the only one able to provide her what she needed.
I know she still needs me, just in a different way.