The End of an Era

When Megan was eight months old she refused breastfeed. It was like one day she loved it and the next day she didn’t. I was also pregnant at the time and I am pretty sure I hit a hormone surge and the milk started tasting different. Megan HATED formula so I called the pediatrician and asked if we could try whole milk (she was off the charts in everything) and he said that would be fine. She became a milk lover right on the spot and has been ever since.

Tyler nursed like a champ from day one. He latched in L&D and was an efficient eater from the start. I know this is not how it is for the majority of breastfeeding women, but it did come very naturally to me and I was never stressed or overwhelmed or anxiety ridden about it. I never had a goal of how long I would nurse him; I just decided to nurse as long as he wanted to.

…I should preface this post by saying I am not a crunchy mom nor am I a Ferber mom or a by the rules mom…I just do what I feel is best for my kids. Every child and every parent is different and I feel strongly that we are all just trying to survive and looking for our children to thrive in whatever stage they are in. All moms are doing their best and that is all anyone can ask for…

So, when a year passed and Tyler was still nursing, I was fine with it. We had cut way back (two “feedings” per day, morning and night) and he was eating solids and drinking cow’s milk. He nursed more for comfort than anything else…once in the morning and once before bed. Ty is a cuddly little guy and I know he loved to nurse just to be close to me; the boy loves his mommy!

When I went to camp last year with my school I thought the day I left was the last day I would nurse him. I was convinced that in three days away my milk would dry up. When I got back the first thing he wanted to do was nurse. The same thing happened with Washington DC in May; when I came back he wanted to nurse. Moving forward to his second birthday approaching I started to feel uncomfortable about nursing him. At this point he was asking to “NUR!” and that sort of weirded me out (I promised myself I would NEVER EVER EVER nurse a child after they could ask for it!!!!!). At this point he was down to once a day, before bed, and there was no nutritional value for him.

The funny thing is, each week I would get so annoyed with myself and say “just one more time.” Or, “he might be my last baby and I want to relish in this last baby thing.” Or, “it is no big deal, lots of people extend nursing.” When we went for his two year check-up I was embarrassed to say I still nursed and that is when I knew I had to stop. If I wanted to keep it from the pediatrician then it was time.

Camp was last week. On Tuesday night I spent a few extra minutes with Tyler. I knew in my heart it was my last nursing session with him. I knew that when I came back I would not offer anymore. I allowed myself to be sad about it and to feel the hurt of this part of his babyhood being finished. I knew that Tyler would freak out…and he has. But this is just one of many rites of passage that he is going to have to endure in his lifetime.

This is not a post about how society makes breastfeeding women feel…if I am being honest I was never embarrassed or felt uncomfortable nursing in public. It is also not a post about how long a woman should nurse (do it for as long as you feel comfortable, more power to ya, sister!) or that nursing is better (bonding happens whether the kids is feeding off the boob or not!) or anything along those lines. It is simply about my life and my feelings and since this is MY BLOG I will write what I want!

I know I have been rambling but I do have a point. My point is, I will never look at a mom again and judge her for the decision she makes. I will never say, “I WOULD NEVER DO THAT!” to any mom (either to her face or behind her back) when I see someone doing something different or unexpected. I am not about feeding into mommy wars or comparing my children to anyone else. I just love them and sometimes that is the best I can offer on any given day.

Tonight when I put Tyler down to sleep I will be a little less sad then I was the night before. I do miss the closeness of nursing, but I know there will be other things that will bond us in a different way throughout the years. I don’t know if I will have any more children, but I know that I will do my best and be my best for the ones I have.

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