Although the “firsts” in raising a child are the most fun — first smiles, first steps, first words — the “lasts” can be important, too. After almost 17 months, Nora and I had what may well have been our first last recently: last nursing session.
She has been showing signs of being ready to wean for a while now. We’ve been down to only one nursing session for a couple of months, and she has been losing interest even in that. I initially intended to wean around her first birthday, but decided when we got there that neither one of us was quite ready yet. Now we are — both of us.
This is a bittersweet moment for me, especially considering the rough start we had with breastfeeding. I was so committed to nursing that it was my singular focus for the first couple of months of Nora’s life. She had issues learning how to latch, and she was so tiny that I worried constantly about her getting enough and gaining well (she did fine).
Once we got the latch issues and my oversupply sorted out, I briefly thought I might be dealing with undersupply (I’m pretty sure now that I wasn’t). Soon it was time to start throwing solid food into the mix, and then teeth started appearing — oh my! It was a constantly changing landscape, but finally, eventually, I felt like I was on top of it. And then, it was time to start thinking about weaning.
Don’t misunderstand me: I have not always loved breastfeeding. In fact, sometimes I downright hated it. There were times I ached to be finished with nursing and finally have my body back. Although it created a special bond between me and Nora, I sometimes resented that bond, because it meant she needed me (and only me) so much. All of that said, I’m so glad I stuck with it, because eventually it became the easiest, most natural thing. I’ll always remember the sweet, contented grin she’d give me when she was finished nursing — there’s nothing else quite like it!
“Bittersweet” is definitely the word for this feeling. It’s the beginning of her not needing me so much anymore. She’s a little less of a baby and a little more of a kid now. I know she is ready for this, but sometimes it takes Mama a little longer — kiddo is always one step ahead of me.
So, goodbye to my little baby, and hello to my little girl. I’ll miss our nursing relationship, but I can’t wait to see what the next chapter holds for us!