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
Heather @ What Does She Do All Day? says
It’s a bittersweet time. When my first weaned at 15 months it was the same way. We had slowly dropped nursing sessions until she was only nursing in the morning and the morning of her 15 month birthday was the last time she nursed. It didn’t phase her either, which I think makes it much easier on both mom and toddler. Congratulations for making it 14 months!!!!
Heather @ For the Love of Kale says
This post is so, so, so beautiful. You are beautiful. Haley is beautiful. Your relationship is beautiful. I love your honesty and could feel you talking to me! You’re an amazing, strong mom. 🙂
Reading this while nursing. So sweet.
char eats greens says
This is such a great post and I can’t even imagine what nursing is going to be like!!! I’m glad it was mutual between you and Hailey 😉
chelsey @ clean eating chelsey says
No joke when I tell you this made me cry. I’m sure that was a hard thing for you to do, especially since it was just a milestone meaning your baby isn’t so much a baby anymore. My sister never nursed so she had no trouble giving Aubrey milk when she turned a year and never looked back at formula.
Thank you for sharing this! I’m still nursing my firstborn but know this day will come eventually…thanks for showing that it doesn’t have to be the end of the world. 🙂 And congratulations on whats sounds like a very positive breastfeeding experience!
This is such a sweet post. I’m clearly still too hormonal to read something like this without crying though. My little guy is only 17 days old, and I am already sad that he’s growing up so quickly! LOL.
Amanda @ Sistas of Strength says
So so love this post. I wish that I loved breastfeeding as much as you (and many other mamas) did. It sounds like you and H figured it out together and then worked together to figure out the best way to call it the official end as well. Love it! You should be so proud of yourself! XO
Emily B says
A very humble post 🙂 I’m so happy your experience was full of joy for both of you. I hope my experience can be half as beautiful as yours when I start my family<3
Coleen @ DNCWWO says
Aww, this made me misty-eyed! I’m glad it was a relatively easy process for you, once you made peace with your decision.
you made me cry at work! made me think of my last time with my 2 and 1/2 year old. he was 10 months and it wasn’t so sweet as he took a big chomp with his teeth. that is how i knew it was time 🙂
Such a sweet post. I have had such a battle with milk supply issues and hating pumping, I was/am so ready to wean but it’s definitely bittersweet. I know I’ll miss our morning nursing routine the most. It’ll mean he’s not a baby anymore!! Oh shoot… now you got me all sentimental! 😉
My girl is five months old and I never, in a million years, would have thought I’d love nursing so much. I initially didn’t want to go past six months, but there’s no way I’m giving it up that early. Thanks for such a sweet, thoughtful post!
Beautiful, touching post. Made me cry as I just weaned my 13 month old and felt the same was as you. So nice to be able to relate with you and I appreciate your honesty! Wonderful momma!
I’m thinking about weaning my 8 mo old soon so was going back through your archives and this post makes me cry so hard knowing this chapter will be coming to an end for us soon too. I will try to never forget the way he looks up at me and tugs on my hair while he feeds, but like all things these memories too will fade. Thank you for sharing your experience.