22 August, 2013

A Journey

That's what breastfeeding has been for Charlotte and I - a journey. 

I've been meaning to write this post for weeks - if not months now - but for some reason just never got around to it. Okay...that "some reason" is probably Charlotte herself. Haha! Let's be honest: toddlers are demanding and busy little people. Cute, but needy.

Our breastfeeding journey has been full of ups and downs. We've had great, sweet, cuddly moments and I-want-to-rip-my-hair-out moments. That's just life, and breastfeeding is part of ours. We had a rough time in the beginning, but thankfully it got easier as my body adjusted to doing the breastfeeding thing and finally healed up. There were days when I felt like nothing but a milk-maker....and days when I was the one who needed the cuddles. 

3-4 months old. Life is tough for a baby. ;-)

After almost 17 months, our journey has come to an end. I breastfed Charlotte for the last time on Monday morning. I had known this moment was coming for a while, so I tried to enjoy every nursing session I could. Even if she was pulling my hair, shoving Bunny in my face, or putting her fingers in my eyes/mouth/nose (she's big on pointing out facial features and showing off). 

I probably could have stopped nursing her weeks ago and she wouldn't have minded much. But I really wanted to wait until she completely refused. That way, it was her idea to stop. Even though Babywise (our go-to parenting method) is all about the parent(s) deciding these things, I felt like it would be easier on both of us if it were her idea. I did wean her down to 2 feedings a day back in June, but she never seemed to miss nursing throughout the day. (Well, with the exception of the stomach virus she - and I - had in July. She nursed like crazy that week! And I was happy to do it considering she wasn't eating and barely drank anything.) She's a busy little thing, so I can't I was surprised she didn't miss her mid-day nursing sessions.

6 months old, nursing in the doctor's office. One of my faves.

She stopped nursing before bed a few weeks ago, which I found kind of odd. Most babies hang on to that feeding for a while... Charlotte was the opposite, though. She hung on to the morning feeding. Can't say I blame her, though. I don't wake up ready to go first thing in the morning, and I like cuddles too! :)

Also around 6 months...another sweet favorite. :)

I'm sure the real reason behind her end to nursing is that my body is producing colostrum now. I feel pretty certain that she'd still be going strong if it weren't for that. Part of me is sad that our breastfeeding relationship has ended....but the other part of me is really glad that she did it on her own so that I didn't have to wean her before December. I know some moms tandem nurse their toddler and newborn, but I personally don't feel like I could handle that. Now, if Charlotte asks to nurse after Amelia arrives....? I have no idea how I'll respond. Haha! I'm not totally opposed to the idea of it, but it doesn't 100% appeal to me, either.

Last breastfeeding picture of us - 16 months old. ❤
 An impromptu feeding on the couch, recovering from the stomach virus.

Anyway, I have mixed feelings about this. Overall, I've enjoyed breastfeeding her. Every single moment wasn't fabulous, perfect, or wonderful, but it was a great way for us to relax and bond. That's what I miss. But even now that she's not nursing, we still have a great bond. (I know...it's only been a few days. Humor me here, okay?) She definitely has an attachment to me, and she obviously still needs me for lots of things. She just doesn't need my milk anymore. And...I guess that's alright. 

10 comments:

Chantal said...

Congrats on nursing so far! It's so bittersweet, right?

Now I'm a teeny bit jealous that you're done, because weaning has been much more difficult than I hoped!

Lisa said...

You did a great job of working with her for this long! And isn't it awesome that you're this much closer to having a little sister for her?

Katie said...

Wow-- 17 months is a long time! Good for you!

Kathryn B said...

Wow! That's awesome! I have to agree, I think the child picking the time to stop can make things easier on everyone involved. :)

Heather said...

17 months is awesome!! You rock! And I don't blame you-- I don't think I could tandem nurse either.

Ashley said...

Way to go making it 17 months! I think its great that you let her wean when she was ready. Because of that, you'll find she probably wont ask to nurse when the baby comes. Just explain to her its for the tiny baby to help it get big and strong so she can play with her!

Jessica Lynn said...

17 months is AMAZING!!! There are days (recently, unfortunately), where I think about throwing in the towel. We'll have a series of several bad nursing sessions and then one really great one that makes me change my mind. I never ever knew how hard breastfeeding could be! Great job on sticking with it for so long!

heather said...

I was only able to nurse my son 14 weeks and I nursed my daughter 7 months. She and I have an amazing bond. Not saying I don't have that with my son but its a totally different bond. I'm ALWAYS the one that can calm her. I am the one she wants when she cries. I believe it's from nursing her. She became attached to me. She needed me for everything. My son never did what she was doing and yes I know kids are different but I believe it's the breast feeding. I miss it 100% and would probably still be doing it if I could. Luckily you don't have to wait that long to nurse a tiny baby again :)

heather said...

I was only able to nurse my son 14 weeks and I nursed my daughter 7 months. She and I have an amazing bond. Not saying I don't have that with my son but its a totally different bond. I'm ALWAYS the one that can calm her. I am the one she wants when she cries. I believe it's from nursing her. She became attached to me. She needed me for everything. My son never did what she was doing and yes I know kids are different but I believe it's the breast feeding. I miss it 100% and would probably still be doing it if I could. Luckily you don't have to wait that long to nurse a tiny baby again :)

Katy said...

It's awesome that you 2 had that bond for so long, even through the hard points. It was bittersweet when I finished breastfeeding with each of my 3 too, and a bond I will ALWAYS cherish. Breastfeeding Amelia should go smoother from the beginning. Your body is only getting a short break so that initial pain you felt shouldn't be as bad. And of course you've got more confidence now on what to do when issues do arise :)