Y’all, I made it.
Last month we celebrated World Breastfeeding Week and Myles’s 1st birthday back to back. What big things to celebrate! I love that society now sees breastfeeding as wonderful, important and worth having a whole week to say ‘Way to go momma!’. My own personal breastfeeding goal was a year and we made it! Whew! In all honesty, I almost gave up 2 weeks in. I was overwhelmed, frustrated, scared and adapting to a lot of newness and nursing…it was just plain HARD. I would never, ever fault a woman who decided it wasn’t best for her family because I completely understand why it may not be. I didn’t want to quit without exhausting all my options first. So, finally, at 6 weeks postpartum I sought help and it changed my life. One support class, one teacher and Myles and I started to understand each other, we never looked back. As time moved on, nursing sort of just became a habit, and super convenient. So as we started to approach his first birthday and I knew we would be winding down as I had planned, I started to have a lot of mixed feelings about it.
Don’t get me wrong, I was ready. So ready. Ready to have my body back, ready to not have to worry about whether that spicy meal is going to give my son a bad diaper rash or whether I’m getting enough vitamins or if I have waited long enough after that glass of wine with dinner. Ready to not have to stress about how much milk I have in the freezer if I was gone or whether I was producing enough for him or not. I was ready, and then I wasn’t. Anxiety set in when 2 weeks before his birthday he had regressed to nursing to sleep! So many thoughts and emotions flew through me. I didn’t think he was ready, I didn’t think I was ready, what if he refuses cow’s milk, what if it makes him sick. Oh my gosh, I’m going to be nursing him forever! Then his birthday came and went. I had my plan, I just had to go for it.
Week 1 turned into week 2 and then 3. And letting go was starting to get just a little harder each day. We started out rough; Myles wouldn’t touch whole milk, cried hysterically, and pulled at my shirt every hour it seemed like when we started with cutting just one day feed. To be fair, he was sick sooo week 1 was pretty much a waste. Then we found a cup he liked and milk became not so bad and we quickly moved from 4 feeds to 2, morning and night. I knew when I started this weaning journey, cutting the morning feeds would be worse for us than nights but I also knew they needed to go first. This was the only feed that was still nice for us. Still sweet and successful, we could cuddle in bed and I could get a few extra minutes of light rest while he filled his empty tummy. I am NOT a morning person, so not having a few minutes to pep myself up to get out of bed is really hard, especially when your spouse is bringing your wide awake, raring to go kiddo into your bed. We (and by we I mean me) are adjusting slowly to this new morning routine. I still have this pipe dream of waking up before my son to actually get something done (like showering) in the morning. Maybe one of these days but don’t hold your breath!
I didn’t know the last time would be the last time. I thought I would try it one night and see how it went to let Myles go to bed without nursing. He slept fine, he didn’t even notice. So I did it again the next night and then the next. It’s been one week since I last nursed him and just like that, another chapter in our story has come to a close.
Little Myles who would barely drink an ounce of cow’s milk now downs (and I mean seriously chugs) easily over 20 oz of milk a day. What an exciting time in our lives to get to move forward and get to know each other in other special ways. Now, when Myles gets upset it’s not pulling at me to nurse, it’s pulling at me to just hold and hug him. He finds comfort sitting in my lap to look at books or play with his toys and this fills my heart far greater than nursing ever did. I am so proud of myself for sticking with it as long as I did but I am happy that at 13 months I get to ask, now what?