breastfeeding: the end of an era…

HAPPY NEW YEAR!
[For reasons unbeknownst to me, I’m not one to make big holiday posts. But with everyone excited about a new era, I thought I’d celebrate a recent one.]

I’ve been saving this post for awhile. While we made it a year, we didn’t get much further. I’ve got mixed feelings about that. I was happy the week we weaned, and then heartbroken in the weeks that followed – especially when we learned it was twins. I feel like I’ll never have the singleton nursing relationship again. I know I’ll adapt to breastfeeding twins, but it’ll definitely be different. I have a feeling it’ll take even more hard work and patience and grace (towards myself) this time around. Here’s a little note I wrote (& edited just now) when Ames weaned, shortly after the start of my second trimester.

___________________

a letter to ames…
NOVEMBER 4, 2010
I think we’re done breastfeeding.

It’s been awkward & painful for awhile now. Ever since I got pregnant again, it’s been more sensitive. You’ve been biting more. I can tell my supply has tanked, too. We’ve been nursing morning and night, with a random few extra sessions throughout the day on the four days I’m off work. I’ve been off the pump for a few months now. I never feel full anymore, and I have to work pretty hard to manually express any milk. I was comfortable with all of that, though. It felt laid-back & natural. However, the last few weeks have been especially hard. You aren’t happy when you’re with me unless you’re nursing, but you don’t stay latched long enough to eat & be satisfied. You fuss and bite and laugh and bite. You don’t snuggle with me. You don’t even ask to nurse, but it seems like the right thing to offer you when you’re upset.



I decided to entertain the idea of weaning… I wanted to give us both time before the new baby comes (although I’m okay with the idea of tandem nursing you guys, if you show interest). I wanted to give my body a bit of a break before I have to start all over again. I wanted to remember the last time we nursed, and I wanted it to be special. I didn’t want the end of this beautiful relationship to be bitter or painful for either one of us. 

The decision is definitely bittersweet, but I made up my mind yesterday. I ran a hot bath, and Chris brought you to me. I nursed you for what I think might be the last time. Chris took pictures (I look at them often). I memorized your face as you gazed up at me. You didn’t bite. You were so peaceful, legs sweetly kicking in the water. It was the first time in weeks that you relaxed in my arms.

I wanted this last session to be one etched in my mind and heart forever.
I think we succeeded.

I want you to know, this has been a sweet, sweet journey. Thank you for teaching me so much, and for being a most precious nursling. I will look back and smile on these days for the rest of my life.

__________________

It’s possibly a blessing that we weaned when we did. Growing twins is hard work! I’ve had issues with iron and nutrition, and it might’ve explained my sudden decrease in milk supply. I’ve also been contracting regularly, and breastfeeding would only exaggerate that now.

I’ve had no physical “symptoms” of weaning. If anything, things have gotten less sensitive (and quite fuller) up top, but I can’t really give an accurate review due to the pregnancy. Ames has not asked for it or tried to nurse at all. This gives me a peaceful feeling, like we were both ready. I think about it all the time, though, and I definitely miss it. I’m open to letting him nurse again when the twins are born, though I have no idea how Ames will react. We took a bath together the other day, and he pointed & laughed when he saw “the ladies.” I doubt he’ll want to nurse again, but we’ll cross that bridge when it comes.

He snuggles with me now, which is huge. I don’t think he lay his head down on my chest one time during his first year of life. Totally serious. It was like clockwork – breastfeed with Momma, snuggle with Daddy. Now, he randomly leaves his toys and crawls into my lap for a quick cuddle-break during playtime. One hand in his mouth, one hand on his ear, head against my chest – goodness, it melts my heart.

I look back fondly on this breastfeeding relationship, and I look forward with anticipation towards the next season – I can only imagine the stories that await me, nursing twin girls!

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10 thoughts on “breastfeeding: the end of an era…”

  1. way to go making it as far as you did!

    we are talking about weaning soon…which makes me totally torn up inside, but lately when stella nurses it is horrible un-quality time. she just wiggles and kicks and latches on and off in distraction making it no fun for anyone and she leave hungry.

    i am going to try really really hard to make it another 2.5 months to her 1st bday…but i feel we’re at the end :(

  2. Oh this turned me into a sobbing fool! Especially the part about the way he gazed up at you while nursing- that is absolutely my favorite part of nursing Pru. Her doughy eyes are somehow doughier while nursing and they melt me into a puddle.
    I think you did the right thing by weaning him for the toddlers. Not that my opinion matters. But this is a great post- I have never thought about the last nursing session I’ll have with Pru- although I know it’s approaching. And now I’ll be able to think about it a little bit more seriously and make it special like you did. Beautiful!

  3. This post was so beautiful and I am so inspired by how you went about weaning so respectfully. I start to cry just thinking about being done, that last nurse… you described it so sweetly. Thank you for this post.

  4. What a special memory! The pictures are great, too! I never thought about nursing in the bath, that might make for some great relaxation.

  5. What a sweet post! I admire you for being so honest about your feelings when it came to weaning. I think it can really be helpful for other Moms, especially to ease any potential guilt.

    Congrats to you for breastfeeding, even when it was tough.

  6. Oh my goodness. this is beautiful. I started crying reading about you nursing him in the bath. I’m nursing my 6 month old daughter now (first child) and plan to have a lot more kids and am already dreading the end of nursing. You have such a beautiful family. I hope to have the same type of successful longlasting nursing relationship with my children.

  7. How beautiful! I breastfed Cash until about 7 months and I still miss it from time to time. But for us, it was time to wean. One of the things I’m most excited about in thinking of having another one is the chance to breastfeed again.

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