A Nursing Story

I just calculated that I have spent 88 of the last 96 months of my life either pregnant or nursing. Wow.

If you had told me eight years ago that this was my fate, I’d have died laughing. I’m not talking Funny Ha Ha. I’m talking Funny Kill. Me. Now.

I mean, I knew I wanted kids.


I thought two was the perfect number.

I knew I’d want to stay home with them, but  I didn’t think much farther ahead than that.

When we decided to “start trying”, it took us five long, agonizing months.  I honestly do NOT know how those with infertility struggles deal with the turmoil of trying to conceive for months and years on end. Those five months were the longest of my life!

Finally I got those two blue lines.  I was ecstatic.

I started researching. Right. Away.  Cause I’m obsessive like that.

I researched everything from parenting techniques to car seats to diapers to nutrition. Of course everything you read tells you that nursing is the best nutrition for a baby.  But I was skeptical.

You want me to use The Girls for THAT!?

I. Don’t. THINK. So.

But in the end, I was too cheap to buy formula.  So I gave nursing a try.

It took some practice in the beginning, but we figured it out.

I planned to nurse for the obligatory six months.

I nursed for 19.

Not 19 days.  19 months.

And I discovered that I loved nursing.  It was a sad day when I weaned D, but it was time.  We did it gradually, and it went smoothly.

Eight months later we decided to get pregnant again, and I got pregnant right away. C arrived a month ahead of schedule, on Christmas Eve, and I began nursing again.

Because she was a preemie, we got off to a rocky start.  I had to supplement with pumped milk in bottles and with formula until she was strong enough to nurse on her own. But I was determined, and soon enough she caught on.

When C was 26 months old, I got pregnant with R.  Unexpectedly.  I figured I better stop nursing.

Yep. You heard me.  I had been nursing C for 26 months.

When R was born, she was a natural.  She latched on in the delivery room, and she never looked back.

Now she is 16 months old.  And until last week, we were still nursing.  I’ve been known to say that I’d nurse her until she goes to college. Ha!  But I fully expected to nurse for a at least two years.

Recently, though, I started feeling like it’s time to wean.  There is not one main reason.  It’s a combination of things.  I have several medical tests coming up that require me to abstain from nursing for a period of time.  Then I’m going away for six days in May, leaving R at home with my husband and my parents.

And besides all that, R is pretty demanding about nursing.  More so than either of my other children were at this age. I figured that, if I don’t wean now, it’s only going to get harder as she becomes more aware of what she wants and what she is missing.

It’s been hard, but we are both adjusting.  The hardest part, getting her to fall asleep without nursing, was accomplished first. It was easier than I expected.  She still wanted to nurse when I put her to bed, but when she realized that I wasn’t offering, she would resign herself to take what she could get.

I still rock her to sleep for every nap and bedtime.  I love that time.  It’s precious to me, and it has replaced the bonding we had with nursing.

So for the last few weeks, I was just nursing once a day, first thing in the morning.  This has always been my favorite feeding, the last one I weaned with C as well.  It’s such a sweet way to start the day.

I thought it would be really hard to let this last feeding go.  In the back of my mind, I envisioned not giving it up for quite some time.

Although, it wasn’t really even for her anymore.  There were mornings when we didn’t have time to nurse, and she was fine with that. But for me, giving up that last feeding means I’m done nursing forever, closing this chapter of my life. I didn’t think I was ready for that.

But then something unexpected happened.  The other day, she crawled into my bed for her morning nursing, and I knew I was ready.  It just didn’t make me sad to think of skipping it.  Or to think of stopping for good.

So as I nursed her that morning, I just knew it would be the last time.  I wasn’t even sad.

And as simple as that, we’re done.

I’m ready to move on to the next stage.  I’ve always said the baby stage is my favorite.  And it is for many reasons.  But, as sweet and magical as the baby stage is, it’s hard, hard work. There are a lot of parts of it I won’t miss, like leakage (you nursing moms know to what I’m referring) and nighttime feedings and those horrid nursing bras.

And, really, there is SO MUCH to look forward to.

So. I’m choosing to celebrate, rather than mourn, the passing of this stage.  In fact, I think I might have a nursing bra burning party in honor of this momentous occasion.

Anyone know how to build a bonfire?

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8 Responses

  1. You are truly blessed to have such sweet memories of nursing your children. I failed miserably at it, the ‘girls’ were dry as a bone and nothing could get them going! Even the La Leache sp? League was called in and wrote me off as a dust bowl!

  2. Wow! 26 months! That is dedication. I only managed a little over a year with my fourth child. It took me 4 kids to realize it was worth the effort. And we weaned faster than I intended to. I decided to slowly start weaning him (we were already missing before-bed feedings here and there) but he had other plans. Once he realized we were cutting back he let it go all at once. It was sad for me, as he is not a cuddly baby and that was the only real snuggle time we had. Oh well. It is very freeing to be done nursing as well. And who knows, maybe I will have another chance in the future.

  3. Thanks for stopping by my blog! Enjoy the bonfire! I was only able to nurse for a few months and have always regretting giving up so soon. I wasn’t a complete dust bowl but I just couldn’t keep the supply up.

  4. nursing is one of those things you can’t understand until you’ve been there.ugh. i still miss that cuddle time. especially that first thing in the morning cuddle time when you’re still in bed.

  5. I stopped nursing each of my girls a while after becoming pregnant again. We used sippy cups of water to replace nursing time.We’re a very touch-oriented crew, and they were neither of them demanding nursers, so having a similar sucking/cuddle time with a water bottle was the magic.DH has already put in his request for when #3 will be done nursing. X-age to start being done, Y-age to be done-done. I do pretty good with clear guidelines, so I’m hoping when that time approaches I will be prepped and ready to comply.(I am seriously hoping the cessation will leave me…less endowed…)

  6. I’m glad you’ve had such wonderful experiences with nursing your children. And good for you for celebrating this big step instead of mourning, as you say!

  7. Oh I remember the wistful week of weaning Eve at 19 months. It was time for so many reasons but it also wasn’t time.Adam weaned himself and devastated me at just 5 months.You are coming up on some really fun stuff with those little darlings though.

  8. What a beautiful story! I am still nursing my 14 month old and am planning to wean eventually so we can work on having baby #2. You’re right, the baby stage is hard work, but there is nothing like the snuggles and the looks they give you when they are nursing!

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