The Day We Stopped Nursing
I nursed you every day for one year, five months, one week and six days…
The last evening I was able to hold you in my arms and nurse you to sleep was Friday, June 9th 2017. I was so afraid to let you go that evening after you drifted off to sleep. I didn’t want to lay you down in your crib just yet, because I didn’t want the moment to end. That bond that you and I have created has been an absolute blessing and I’m so grateful for every day you were in my arms latched on to Mommy. We had a pretty rough start, but once you and I got the hang of it, it was one of the most rewarding feelings I’ve ever had. They say that nursing is the most natural thing a mother can do, but I’ve never worked so hard for something in my life. I honestly can’t believe I made it this far, but every day, being your Mommy and being able to nourish you from my body was a gift. Somehow, through the pumping, engorged breasts and sore nipples you and I made it work. I’m so broken up about having to stop. When in reality I should feel like a freakin’ superhero, Wonder Mommy – Goddess of Lactation! However, you and I both know that isn’t how Mommy’s brain works. Instead, I’ve been anxious for weeks about the end of our nursing days. I know it is a silly feeling for a mother to have, but I felt if you didn’t need me for nursing, that you wouldn’t need me at all anymore. This was the one thing that only I could provide for you, and now what am I good for? I was worried that our bond would somehow be shaken up and that you wouldn’t be Mommy’s little girl anymore. Irrational, yes, but those are the thoughts that were going through my head.
As I watched you sleep in my arms it was difficult not to break out into a full on sob, but somehow I managed to cry quietly and gracefully before I finally laid you down. As I closed the door behind me and started walking towards my room I was overwhelmed with feelings of guilt and disappointment. My beautiful baby girl, we’ve had sleepless nights, sick days, growth spurts and countless boo-boos and I’ve always been able to take you in my arms and nurse you until everything was all better. I nursed you until you were calm, until your boo-boo was a forgotten memory or you fell asleep in the comfort and safety of my arms. If we were no longer nursing, how was I to get you to sleep, how was I to calm you down and make you feel comforted? What if I couldn’t be the Mommy that you needed and deserved anymore? Thankfully, as soon as I opened the door to the bedroom, your Daddy was there to catch me in a hug. Most days, being in his arms is all I need to feel calm and safe and I prayed that my arms would still be that for you.
The next morning I still felt completely broken inside, Baby Girl. You are currently at the stage in your toddlerhood, that means everything you see Mommy eating, you have to eat as well; even if you don’t like it. If Mommy is eating it, so are you. So, Daddy made us breakfast and you made your way onto my lap even though you had already picked through the breakfast we gave you. You sat on my lap for a “bite” which meant, you grabbed my fork and helped yourself. Your little body was so close to mine, I could smell your curly hair. That sweet and semi-sweaty baby aroma I’ve grown to adore. You were so happy. Laughing and smiling, thinking you were such a big girl eating Mommy’s food. You are a big girl baby, you are a beautiful, smart, big, baby girl and I need to realize that. I wasn’t upset with you for finishing off my breakfast, I actually didn’t have much of an appetite, but at that moment I completely broke down. I held you even tighter and Daddy got up from the table within seconds and had us both wrapped in his arms. You thought we were playing a game, and never skipped a beat. I wish I could say that now, two weeks and two days later that I wouldn’t feel as broken, but I do. The thing is, every day it hurts a little less, because a piece of me gets put back together by your chunky and sticky little fingers. When you climb into bed with us at O’dark:30 in the morning and snuggle up to me and say, “Momma, Momma, Momma!” Like you are singing me a song. When you find your way through the rubble of toys and books to run up to me and squeeze my legs so tight, like you haven’t seen me in days. It especially warms my heart when you sign and say “Please” when you want a snack, and say “Thank you,” as you walk off when you’ve convinced me you should have one. When you say, “Bless you!” when someone sneezes or coughs and how sweet and thoughtful you are, always being the first to run up to one of your daycare friends when they are upset to give them a hug or “pat-pat” on the back. Baby girl, you are the sweetest, and most polite, semi-well-mannered toddler I’ve ever met. (I know, Mommy’s biased). There are just so many little things that you do every day to save me.
As each passing day comes to an end I realize that whether or not I am able to nurse you, the bond that we have already created is so strong and unbreakable. You still want Mommy to read to you and tuck you into bed every night, and you still call out my name first when you get a boo-boo or aren’t feeling well, and your face still lights up when you see me at daycare pickup. I know I’m going to have to get over the fact that you are growing up so fast and learning so many new things, because one day you really won’t need Mommy anymore. Don’t worry, Daddy will be there to catch me in a hug and make me feel calm, safe and comforted. For now, and most likely forever, in my eyes you will still always be that tiny little baby they put on my chest a year and a half ago who I promised to love, keep safe and help grow. So, grow baby girl. Keep learning, keep being fearless, stay curious, keep laughing, always be polite, don’t ever stop walking with a purpose, and don’t be afraid of your wings. I’ll do my best not to be either.
Your Daddy and I will always be here if you need us.
Your Adoring Mother,