Some moments when I’m nursing my child I take pause and realize what an absolutely amazing journey this is. Perhaps the most special journey along with pregnancy I have ever experienced. I cannot describe the bond it has created between us. The closeness that we have because of it. Touch is my most prominent love language and I can not only speak this language to her, but she speaks it back to me at the same time. The other day I was nursing her for her nap, we lay there in silence, tummy to tummy. She wasn’t wearing a shirt so our skin was touching. I exhaled as she inhaled and I inhaled as she exhaled. She gently drifted to sleep and not long after that, so did I…but not before I was able to treasure that moment.
I felt compelled to write about this. I don’t want to forget how special this time together in our lives is. I don’t want to forget the little moments.
Over the weekend this post popped up in my Facebook memories. Three years ago I was so anxious that introducing mixed feeding into our routine would cause a sudden and abrupt ending to our breastfeeding journey. I never imagined that I would find myself nursing my 3 and a half year old toddler all this time later.
I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, I never expected to successfully nurse past six months…or to a year, never mind 3.5! Gabby still loves to nurse and I still enjoy nursing her…most of the time. It can be very frustrating at times. On Sunday she was particularly needy and she was at the breast almost all day. I have felt irritated by this in the past, only to realize later that she was getting sick or needed to nurse for another reason. I try to be patient, but when you have a lot to do it can drive you insane. On the other hand when we you feel like you need some downtime, it can be a wonderful escape into doing nothing but being close to your nursling.
I do think about weaning. Whenever Gabby has engaged a poor latch and hurt me, I think “This is it. I can’t take this anymore!”, until I am no longer in pain and thoughts of weaning are forgotten again. We have clear boundaries that she undertands. We were out with my bestie and her baby at the mall and we stopped at a restaurant for lunch. Gabby looked at me and said “Mommy, no boobies here?”. I replied, “No, no boobies here”. “Mommy, boobies only by home?”, “Yes, Gabby, boobies only by home” and she ran off to play. She demands to nurse when we are at a neighbours house, but it is a venue I have conceded at before. Sometimes we will visit there and stay quite late, so I have tried to nurse her to sleep, but mostly she doesn’t fall asleep and is content with a nursing session. Our neighbours don’t mind, so if we are there and she needs to nurse I excuse myself for a while and return once Gabby’s needs have been met.
In the past week or so she has started doing something that she has never done before, where she nurses for a short while and stops to declare “Me done!”. I am usually the one to decide when we are done. It leads me to wonder if she is on the road to self weaning, or it might just be a new game for her to play. I really think she will be a long term nurser. I have, at times, thought that I might nurse her till 4…but that milestone is rapidly approaching and I don’t know if I will have the heart to wean her if she has not self weaned at the time. Perhaps I’ll have one of my “I’m DONE!” periods after she is 4 and actually start weaning her, but I cannot commit to that.
I have started employing some weaning tactics, without the intention to wean. If she asks to nurse and I am busy with something or not in the position to nurse her for an extended period of time, I’ll tell her “Two minute boobie” or “Count to 20 boobie” and most times she will just take what she can get and agree. It works quite well and she will end her nursing session when I say two minutes is up (it isn’t always) or once I count to 20. Sometimes her brother will count for us. Sometimes she will resist unlatching, but I reinforce that it was the agreement when we started and she relents.
There are things I mean to do before our nursing journey ends. I want to have a nursing photoshoot with her and I want to have a momento in the form of a breastmilk pendant or something before she weans, but I haven’t really had the funds to do either yet. I fear time will run out before I manage to get around to it, but at least we’ll always have the memories.