Warning, boring + wordy post below! I understand not everyone will be interested in reading this, but I really wanted to document my feelings on such a significant day for me.
Yesterday marked the last time I nursed Adele. It had been a few weeks in the making and I knew the day was coming soon. She’s 7.5 months old and it was becoming harder and harder to produce milk for her. I was nursing her morning and night and pumping during the day. But for the past few weeks, I’d pump twice and get a combined 3oz… then it dropped down to 2oz total. I even went out a few weeks ago and bought new parts for my pump thinking maybe that would help, but it didn’t make a difference. Last week I decided to stop pumping all together and just stick with my morning and night nursing sessions. And a few days ago, I dropped the night session too. Truth is, Adele doesn’t even seem interested anymore. I’d struggle to keep her latched on, but she got too distracted and didn’t want to sit in my lap anymore. She prefers the freedom of the bottle now, I think. And in the mornings, she’d nurse on both sides and then still want more, so we’d give her a bottle too and she’d gulp down 5oz! Clearly I didn’t even have enough for a morning session either. I knew it was time to end, but I didn’t really know how to stop. I read about how to physically finish nursing, but I couldn’t come to terms with it mentally. I had to get to a place where I could be emotionally ok with letting go and I just didn’t know how to get there.
But yesterday, on Sunday, January 27th, it became clear to me. Adele (who usually wakes up between 7:30a and 8a everyday) uncharacteristically woke up at 6am. Bleary-eyed, I went into her room and tried to calm her, but she was still a little fussy. So I scooped up my baby and carried her to the couch in her room and I nursed her for about a minute (literally). Instantly, she fell back asleep in my arms. I let her sleep there for a whole hour. The two of us in a dark, quiet room welcoming the start of a new day. She looked so peaceful and so happy. So content. And then I realized the significance of it. Adele was giving me a gift. For the first time in a couple of months, she let me nurse her to sleep. My normally excited, squirmy almost-toddler let me cradle her in my arms as she sipped. It was almost like she was letting me end on a totally happy, totally satisfying, totally rewarding note. She knew that I needed that morning more than she did. As I sat there looking at Adele, I reflected on how much she’s grown and how much she’s taught me.
I knew in that moment that it would be the last time I nursed her and I suddenly felt ok with it. I knew in my heart it was time. So this morning, instead of me nursing her in bed when she woke up, we gave her a bottle (which she proudly held by herself) and I enjoyed the extra few minutes to get myself ready for the day. Part of me is sad. I’m grieving the loss of the last physical bond the two of us had exclusively. Her growing urge for independence is getting stronger, and I’m sure this is the first of many milestones we will overcome together.
I allowed myself to cry a few times today. And as my mommy-and-me teacher recommends, I let myself off the hook for feeling guilty. I know in a few more days I’ll be fine. It was a hard decision to make. I take solace in the fact that even though it was a difficult decision to make now, it would have been equally as hard if I stopped at 3 weeks or at 24 months. It would have had to stop eventually, I just have to get through it now. I’m proud of my almost 8-months of nursing. I will always cherish those moments together. I do know for a fact that when I nursed, I was in the moment and present for Adele. I was rarely engrossed in a tv show or checking my email during a session. I knew they were special and never took it for granted. If I could do it again, I wouldn’t change a thing.
Now, Adele and I will find other ways to bond. Tonight, she was crawling around on the floor in her bedroom and I was sitting on the other side of the room. I said “Adele, come to mommy” and she happily scampered over to me and crawled up my legs. I know she will love me for all the other great things I bring to her life and I’ll know she’s not just using me for her food. haha kidding. Irving’s found amazing ways to bond with Adele and now I’m excited to do the same. We’ve got great things to look forward to.