This is an emotional topic for me, partially because I’m pregnant and the hormones are flowing and partially because I think for those of us who nurse into toddlerhood the nature of breastfeeding changes.
Arabella began weaning around 7 months when we first started solid foods, but we practiced baby-led solids/weaning which meant she didn’t eat purees but went straight to age appropriate foods in size and type.
Fast forward to April when we find out we’ll be blessed with another child. I have these wonderful visions of nursing through pregnancy and tandem nursing when the baby arrived. I was graciously given a copy of and immediately started to read. This book does a great job of dispelling any myths around pregnancy and nursing your toddler, as well as delves into the emotional aspects of what mom might be feeling.
I guess I should say also that we (I) planned on having Arabella self wean fully. There was no reason why she shouldn’t keep nursing. Nursing for us was so much more than nutrition. I can’t describe that part of my relationship, but those who have nursed a toddler know what I’m talking about. Again, the wonderful visions of self weaning without tears, or heartache (at least from her) was my goal. I knew she wouldn’t breastfeed forever and I wanted her to choose when she didn’t need it any more.
This is the hard part. The sun is setting on our nursing relationship, much sooner than I envisioned. It started when we went with Gary out to Nevada when he was doing some training. At first I didn’t believe it was happening, but she started sleeping through the night. Yeah, this doesn’t happen away from home…it’s totally a fluke. No no. We come back home and she continues to not wake at night. This cuts out one or two nursing sessions, coupled with her decreased day nursing, which was cut back even before I became pregnant. Then, she started to not need nursing to sleep. Our night routine would be: nurse/rock/hum to sleep, then lay her down. If she woke when I placed her in bed I’d nurse her again real quick to settle, and walk out. How strange was it have her requesting just songs and cuddles, but it works. She falls asleep, not asking for “ma”.
That’s where I begin to lose it. I can feel that we’re coming to an end. But I’m not ready!!!!!! The one no fail parenting tool that fixes everything is slipping out of my grasp. Couple this with pregnancy emotions and I’m a wreck.
I started out writing this in the morning, another bedtime has gone by with no nursing, and just the request of 2 songs (2 is the favorite number here, and everything is in twos).
I think each day that goes by it gets a little easier to grasp that my baby is now a toddler with independent thought, and this distinct personality that makes you want to know more.
The sun is setting on today, and our nursing relationship but I do feel like that unique bond has set us up for an amazing future relationship.
I feel truly blessed that we were able to nurse this long, and every day she continues to nurse is just icing on the cake.