This post isn’t meant to be a sad post by any means but I wanted to document my relationship with Emmett while nursing him. You see, when he first got here and I had to nurse him 6-8 (maybe more!?) times a day, it was very overwhelming and not exactly my idea of a “fun” time in my life. I didn’t get why so many women raved about nursing and how they felt so bonded with their babies. I hated that my boobs were so full and that if I wanted to go running I had to pump beforehand. I hated that the second after I nursed Emmett, we had to hurry up and leave the house asap or if I were out, we’d have to stop everything and nurse in a church parking lot or even worse (for me) somewhere in public on a bench. One time when Emmett was just under a month old we had just gotten done visiting my cousin at the airport during a layover she had. I had brought a bottle with me but he went through that during our visit and had a meltdown before we left so I said goodbye to my cousin and frantically searched for a spot in the airport to plop myself down and feed Emmett without looking too obvious. Clearly these were my hangups and I doubt anyone, with the exception of teenage boys, was paying a lick of attention to me. I couldn’t wait for it all to be done and in the beginning I told myself 6 months then I can quit. But ya know what? Six months came and my milk was plentiful. I always pumped twice as much as Emmett was eating so we always had a great supply ready in the freezer. At one point I think we had more milk in our freezer than we did food or ice! I was overflowing with milk and I even pumped and dumped several times just so I could relieve myself! Truth be told I was a pumping addict. I admit that I hated pumping way more than actually nursing but I also hated being tied to Emmett all the time and knew before even having him that I wanted to be able to drop everything and leave him with anyone whenever I wanted or needed to. It worked like a charm and he even ate bottles from me when in public. The kid could have cared less where it came from or who gave it to him, as long as he got his food somehow he didn’t care!
And now here I am, almost 15 months after my little person was brought into this world and I can say that our nursing relationship has come to an end. I am very proud of myself for making it this far but at some point last week I had decided it was probably time to close up shop. I thought we were going to wean at about a year but when he turned a year, he was still nursing 3-4 times a day and seemed to still be really enjoying it and by that point I actually didn’t mind it either! It was a really tough transition mentally to start taking feedings out and to know that this all would be coming to an end. Before his first birthday I really didn’t think much of it and never really focused on ending breastfeeding. It was just a part of my day and something I did, like brushing my teeth. But after he turned one I knew I had to be more consistent or I’d never wean. I started with dropping one feeding and decided that I’d do that for about a month. So for the month of May, we did 3 feedings a day. We always did a morning and evening and then usually one before or after nap time in the middle of the day. Then by June I tried to commit myself to 2 feedings a day. My goal was to be done breastfeeding by the time I went to NY for a wedding. I didn’t want to have to bring my pump with me on another trip but I just don’t think either of us were there yet so I brought my pump and only pumped once a day while away. When I got back we did morning and evening sessions for quite a while. I don’t remember when my transition happened to just once a day but I think it was when it no longer was enjoyable to try and get him to nurse at night. He really didn’t seem to enjoy or want it anymore. He would struggle out of my arms and didn’t seem as though he wanted to nurse or drink anything after dinner. I think he was too full and really didn’t feel the need to nurse. It was stressful on my end because I couldn’t understand why he wouldn’t nurse and was worried he would become dehydrated. That’s when I called it. So sometime in early July we were solidly on one feeding a day. It was our morning ritual. We’d wake up and he only wanted me. Once he nursed he’d be happy and go to anyone but he wouldn’t even think of starting his day until he nursed. Then last week we skipped a morning. I was afraid this could be painful for me physically and I’d become engorged. I have had two very nasty rounds of mastitis and figured I could be prone to it when ending this journey. But, I actually was ok after skipping a few mornings and so was he. So last week I think I nursed him 3 times. Each time was very enjoyable because I knew we were coming to an end with this. I focused my complete attention on my little boy. No TV, no iphones, no distractions, just me and my baby. It was tough emotionally and still is tough thinking about the journey that we’ve gone through together over the past 15 months and knowing I’ll never get that time back. I thought that Thursday was going to be my last time but I wasn’t prepared and when Saturday came around I was saddened at the thought that I didn’t even enjoy that last feeding because I didn’t realize it would be our last. So I planned another feeding, this time knowing that the road was going to end here. Saturday morning Emmett woke up crying so Chad went in to go and get him. He saw me and cried even harder so I took him out of Chad’s arms and Chad left Emmett’s bedroom. I sat down in the rocker with him and nursed him one last time. It was a quite time for both of us. I let him nurse as long as he wanted to. I looked into his eyes and just smiled, being so thankful that my body gave me such a wonderful gift. I didn’t cry like I thought I would but I reflected on the past 15 months and how I couldn’t believe that I was the one who was able to provide nourishment for my baby. I’m just so grateful that we made it this far. It was an amazing last experience for both of us and so far, Emmett hasn’t looked back. He doesn’t seem to miss that time in the morning anymore which has actually made the transition easier on me. One of the things I worried so much about was taking this away from him too soon but he’s done great and hasn’t shown any signs of wanting to nurse at all since stopping on Saturday. I’m also proud of myself for not giving in and nursing “one last time” over and over again.
I realize it’s for the best and that while this good thing came to an end, many more good things are right around the corner.