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.

Screen Shot 2011-12-09 at 2.24.05 AMMs 1 when she was less than a month old.

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.

Co-sleeping is the new Voldemort

Parenting, at least in the US, is all about protecting your children from the 8 million and a half things that could kill them daily.  At least if you believe the media coverage of parenting, which is always filled with DEADLY RECALLS and WHAT ARE YOUR CHILDREN SEEING/HEARING/EATING/etc…FILM AT 11.

I’m not an attachment parent per se, although I do practice some of the behaviors espoused by the philosophy, such as baby-wearing (ie, using slings) and more often than not co-sleeping.  My parenting philosophy, such as it is, is best described as “whatever works.”

After the tragic death of a baby in a sling in the last year, suddenly slings are dangerous devices, and most slings come with safety warnings.  One death and suddenly all kids are in mortal peril.

Co-sleeping is something that can be done well or dangerously.  Outside of the US, in fact, co-sleeping is the norm.  However, Milwaukee has a high SIDS rate, and rather than address issues like poverty, they’ve decided that poor people sleep with their children because they’re too poor to buy cribs and that’s why there is a high SIDS rate among certain (*cough*minority*coughcough*) populations.

They came out with a charming ad to scare parents into submission….

And hey–since you’re poor, we’ll give you a free pack n play!

As a mom who often co-sleeps (and often with both girls…the LM likes to climb into our bed in the middle of the night, and the BG is next to me in the bed itself or in a co-sleeper pushed against my side of the bed), I was very offended.

We need to talk about co-sleeping practices-what is safe, and what isn’t.  How to do it well.

But in the US, rather than address a problem with subtlety, we’d rather ban it outright.  See the recent ban on ALL drop-side cribs for proof (Yes, I own one, and I’m using it with the second child, too).  I find this frustrating.

Dear friends–when parenting, read the recommendations, but use common sense and do what works for your family.

**This reminds me…I’ll need to talk about co-sleeping and sex at some point.  It’s a valid concern, unlike the idea that my safe for co-sleeping bed is the equivalent of a butcher knife against my BG’s throat.