Yesterday was the first day that my body was entirely my own in 23 months. I wasn’t pregnant and I didn’t nurse. In other words, we’re officially weaned.
It’s been a long time coming and I knew it was the right time for us to move on, but for some reason I had trouble accepting this and letting go. At 12 months, Hailey nursed morning and night, and once she turned 13 months, she started nursing only in the mornings. It wasn’t obtrusive. It was easy. I could still wear whatever I wanted for the day and have a glass of wine without thinking about it in the evening. Still, I felt that nursing had run it’s course and it was time for us to wean.
Since it took so much for me to finally let go, I decided I needed a meaningful ending point, so I’d be sure to stick with it. I chose the morning of her 14 month birthday. We snuggled in the glider with the morning sun starting to stream in through the windows. My eyes welled up with tears knowing that this would be the last time I’d nurse my first born and I would then have to admit my baby was no longer an infant. Though misty eyed, no tears fell and instead I focused on how grateful I am. Grateful that breastfeeding worked for us, that Hailey had breast milk for 14 months of life and we were able to have that special bond. I know it’s not something that every is able to do, or even wants to do, but for us, it was really special.
I’ll always remember the way it took such focus in the beginning to get the right latch and cringing through the initial pain, the quiet moments of just the two of us when the world seemed to stop, the way her fingers tapped on my chest as she ate or how she’d play with my hair, how I was the one that could comfort all sorrows and, my favorite of them all, her gummy, milky grin she’d stop and give me. It would make some nursing sessions take forever, but it never failed to melt my heart.
I hold those memories close and am finally ready to move on.
The real test for me, though, was Friday morning, when I knew I’d have to get her out of bed and give her milk from a cup for the first time. I prepared myself for an emotional experience, but was surprised at how easy it was. Hailey greeted me with her usual smile and handing over of all 3 pacifiers. I scooped her up, changed her, dressed her, then we headed down for breakfast. It was like we both knew it was time to move forward. Now, I haven’t looked back.
After hearing horror stories of painfully full breasts, cabbage leaves and aches, I feel fortunate that weaning was actually really easy for us. I believe this was because we took our sweet time, slowly decreasing feedings every few weeks. Hailey had been nursing less and less as the days passed and during the last week, it took her maybe 4 minutes total until she was done. She never pulled at my shirt and cried, which I appreciated. I’m not sure how I would have handled that. It was almost like she knew this chapter was ending, too.
So, like everything in life, time moves on. The best we can do is hold fondly onto the memories we’ve created and look forward to the next good thing to come… like potty training