Well, the time is upon us. We are almost done nursing. I think our last session will be sometime in the next week (or two). After 27 months, it is time. It's starting to feel kind of skeevey to me, my supply is pretty much zip, and I really want a break before we TTC in the fall. If it were up to my boy, we'd have many many more months to go, I am sure!
It is a hard transition to make.
It is hard physically, to manage tapering without getting engorged. I'd say I started mindfully decreasing our nursing about 4 months ago.
It is hard mentally, to say 'no' or redirect when I know nursing will produce immediate sleep/peace/quiet/calm. Sometimes the fight just wasn't in me at 4am when all I wanted to do was sleep, and nursing was the surest fire way to make that happen. Or at 4pm when a quiet nursing session on the couch (sipping a coffee) sounded like the perfect way to s l o w everything down after a long day with the toddler.
It is oh so hard emotionally, to deny my precious boy when he looks at me with those big brown eyes and begs nurse? peas? and I tell him 'no' because any more time with toddler teeth on my nipples might send me over the edge.
It's hard because he doesn't understand it. No part of him ever thought there would come a time that we would not be doing this totally awesome thing. It's been a part of him since moment #1. It was how he transitioned to life on the outside. Before he knew he had hands, before he could see more than 12 inches in front of him, before he smiled, before he laughed, before he crawled or walked or talked or hugged or kissed ---- he nursed. It's been his comfort, his food, his home.
It's hard because he is my baby, who is not so much a baby anymore.
I never set out to nurse for 27 months. It just kind of happened. I threw myself into it in the beginning. I protected my supply fiercely. I dragged that God-forsaken Machine Baby (pump) to work for 13 months. I monitored my water intake, cut out dairy for 5 months, delayed solids until 6 months, did EVERY SINGLE NIGHT FEEDING, EVER. Jeb didn't sleep for more than 2 consecutive hours for 6 months. It was murder, but it was Our Thing.
Last week I let him have a spontaneous afternoon session just before I took a shower. He asked, and beamed when I said 'yes'. It was only a few moments, but I made sure to soak it in. I knew it would be one of our lasts, and I wanted a memory other than being annoyed in the wee hours of the morning. I ran my fingers through his hair, stroked his cheek, looked at his long legs that used to curl up and fit in my lap easily, told him how much I loved him, and then sent him running down the hallway to play in his room. I teared up knowing what he didn't: it was one of our lasts.
Now, I let him nurse for a few minutes when he comes to my bed in the morning. When he asks during the day, I tell him 'no, buddy, we can't nurse now, but we can hug and cuddle!'. Like always, he's adapted faster than I anticipated. (I am constantly underestimating this kid.) He still asks to nurse a bunch of times during the day, but he also asks a bunch of times for hug, mama? while extending his little arms. Sometimes he asks during a very inconvenient time, like when I'm on the toilet, or up to my eyeballs in cooking dinner, but I never say 'no' to the hugs. I don't want him to feel we are less connected; I want him to shift how we express our connectedness, but never the fact itself.
Oh, my sweet boy, we are so connected, don't you worry.
I am thrilled to be thisclose to being DONE, but my heart is breaking letting it go. This Mothering Gig sure is a roller coaster.