This has been an unexpected transition (yet it's also completely expected, in some respects). We began the weaning process as soon as you had your first bite of food. Around eleven months old, you night weaned (on your own) and we all started getting more sleep at night. At fourteen months, your nursing frequency suddenly decreased, and I feared you were weaning completely then. I wrote about it for the Nursing Past Infancy series at Code Name: Mama, as I started to process the fact that our time as a nursing dyad would come to an end at some point. Fortunately, we had close to six more months after that to enjoy this aspect of our relationship together.
|Our last nursing photo|
In the final month of us nursing, you had cut back to just one early morning nursing session per day (with a few extra now and then). The first day that you didn't ask until before your nap, I knew the time was coming that you wouldn't ask anymore. It was at that point that I realized that if I boosted my milk supply with herbs and other lactogenic foods, you might start nursing more frequently again. I made the conscious decision to continue not to influence the weaning process with my own reluctance to accept this impending change, and to let it happen naturally and gradually.
The morning after the last time you nursed, you didn't ask, and I knew it was over. I had talked with Papa about this moment many times before, always fearing that it would come before I was ready. When I talked to him about it that night, we both knew that you were finished.
I offered the next morning because I was feeling some discomfort, and after getting excited and snuggling into me, you signed "all done." It was heart-wrenching and totally OK at the same time. I hugged you close and told you I loved you. For several days after that, you would pat my chest to sign "nurse," only to sign "all done" after I lifted my shirt. I know you have fond memories of nursing because even when you knew you were finished, you didn't know exactly how to let go of it. In those moments I offered you hugs and kisses, and now you ask for those when you want them, instead.
|I've been drinking lots of (less milk) mint tea.|
One of the things I realized during that reflective time is that I've been sharing my body with you for close to twenty-nine months, Dearest Daniel. That's almost two and a half years! It's been a strange transition for me to have my body be my own again after sharing it with you for so long. I'm not using my body to grow you or make food for you anymore. I don't have to wear clothes that help me do those things. This stage of mothering feels a little bit unfamiliar and new to me.
Despite the sadness and discomfort that has come with this transition, we're all doing fine. I'm OK with this stage (of your life and of my mothering you) coming to an end. I enjoyed nursing you very much, and it's been sad to experience the end of that time. But ultimately, it follows the natural course of life for you to wean. Change is normal and inevitable, and I welcome it. I'm still trying to decide how, but I promise that we will do something together to celebrate this transition.
One thing that will never change is how much I love you, sweet Daniel. No matter our stages in life or what changes may come (expected or unexpected) I will always be your Momma. I will always love you unconditionally and with all my heart.