Monday, November 17, 2014

Officially Retired

I thought that maybe I'd nurse Cohen for 2 years.  Ainsley went 14 months, Freddie went 19.  So I thought I could take Cohen a bit further.  However, I've known for awhile that I may not be able to get the night weaning to really work if I didn't just stop all together.

Then last week I went to Oregon for work.  I was gone 4 full days.  I pumped and got next to nothing.  So I knew I was done.

Even before I left, I thought that this trip might do it.  Might get him over the hump.  Might be enough time apart for him to realize he doesn't need it.  So on Monday night, before I left, I nursed him and I knew that it might be the end.  I'm glad I thought about that and took the time to sit and rub his cheek and hair.  I'm glad I focused on just that for 10 minutes so I can remember his little face like that.  I can distinctly remember the last time I nursed each of my kids.  I've been lucky that I've always known when the end was near.  I've always been able to plan it out.

This time it's a bit different.  I am done nursing...forever.  And the weight of that makes me sad, because it means that I have passed another stage, checked off another box, moved forward a bit more.  My baby days are over.

But overall, I'm okay with it.  I didn't collapse into tears in my hotel room when I realized I wasn't making any more milk.  And I didn't cry and give in when he asked for it a few times this weekend.  I will miss his little fist on my shirt, big blue eyes staring up at me, repeating "NiNi?  NiNi?"  I will miss nights rocking him to sleep in the quiet of his room.  I will miss the power to soothe him instantly.  But I forgot the wonderfulness that comes when nursing ends.

Up to this point, a nursing mother provides nourishment for the child and the child comes to rely on that as a way to soothe and comfort.  But this weekend, without the nursing, Cohen actually cuddled up on my lap and just sat there with his head resting on my shoulder or nuzzled in my belly.  He's never done that with me.  With Clif, yes.  He hugs his siblings willingly.  But not really with me, because I'm the boobs.  He is comforted by nursing.  So now he can snuggle me without that getting in the way.

So now the girls are officially retired.  Maybe I can finally buy a bra and wear it for longer than 6 months.  Maybe I'll finally know my actual size.  I'll  never again have sore nipples or engorged breasts.  I have completely enjoyed the 4+ years I've nursed my babies and I will always look back at those times as some of my most precious.  I will forever remember the sound a nursing baby makes, the feeling of let down, and the smell of milk breath.  But everything has to end, and I'm glad I was able to do it on my terms.  I am thankful for that and ready to take the next step.
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