Ms 1 and I are reaching the end of our nursing relationship after 15 months. She’s down to about once a day, and that once is largely about comfort and not nutrition. My supply is clearly dropping. While I may be in some discomfort after about 24 hours, I no longer have the excruciating agony of a too full breast. I have not accidentally wet my shirt in a few months. The end is nigh.
I always pictured myself struggling to hit six months. That if I did make it to one year, I’d be done. That I would “want my body back.”
The thing is that, contrary to what people told me to expect, I never felt like I didn’t own my body. I never felt that my breasts “belonged” to the baby. The only real difference between a breastfeeding baby and a non breastfeeding baby is that I’ll be free to wear bras (I’m lazy and found skipping a bra to make the whole thing easier-remember I live in an equatorial climate, so skip the bra, wear a tank top and just pull the neckline down-as in the photo above-has worked well for me).
At a year, Ms 1 was nursing, but not terribly frequently. I’m still at home with the girls, so it wasn’t a huge imposition to keep nursing. So we did.
Ms 1 is my last baby. I’m in my mid-30′s and I have had a miscarriage and two very difficult pregnancies. Ms 1 was a month premature for both our health. I’m at a high risk of another premature birth, possibly a dangerously premature birth. I’d likely be on bedrest in or in a hospital for most of a pregnancy. It’s just not worth it. My family feels complete at the moment, but if we were to decide to add to it, we would choose another route.
Ms 1 is also the only baby I’ve nursed successfully. We’ve had a relatively easy relationship. A few latch/position issues in the first few days. One (maybe 2) case(s) of thrush. But other than that, it’s been smooth sailing. Nursing has been very pleasurable (when you nurse, you get a rush of oxytocin-the love hormone-which for me makes me very relaxed and zen). Now that she’s a running climbing active toddler, nursing is also one of the few times that she is happy to snuggle/cuddle close with me.
Knowing she’s my last baby and knowing that I’ll never get another chance to nurse has also been a reason I’ve yet to let go. I’m not in a rush to have this all end. I know my baby, and I know she’ll decide to end the relationship soon enough. When that day comes, I’ll be sad, but proud that nursing worked out for us.
On the plus side, her slowing down to once a day has meant that we have moved her (although not her crib) out of our bedroom as of a few days ago. If the new sleeping arrangement continues to work out, we’ll move the crib in a week or so (she’s in a pack n play at the moment-moving the crib was too big a project to do before we knew if it would work). While I’m ambivalent about weaning, I’m thrilled to pieces at the idea of a bedroom without a crib in it.