I'm writing this letter with tears streaming down my face. I don't want to write it. I knew eventually I would have to, but I never really thought the day would come. This is your weaning letter.
For 2 years 8 months and 8 days, you have nursed. In fact the very first time you ever missed a day nursing was when your baby sister was born and I was in the hopsital. You had just turned two the day before and it killed me leaving you knowing you would be wondering where your na-nas went. Since then, you have skipped out on nursing here or there.
Before you were even conceived it was my desire to nurse you. I heard all sorts of nursing horror stories throughout my pregnancy with you. For whatever reason, I never let nursing worry me while I was pregnant. Thus you and I don't have a horror story, we have a beautiful story of an incredible nursing relationship.
It all started the minute I pushed you into this world. You came with three little holes in your heart, but I was still determined to at least get to nurse you before they whisked you away for numerous tests. Amazingly enough, they let me. You started on my right side. Which is funny because I now realize you have favored that side all along. They only let you nurse for a tiny amount of time and only on that side. In that time though, you figured out the most perfect latch. I did not get to hold you or try to nurse you until 24 hours later and I am convinced that it was because of that first nursing session, that you were able to latch right back on again later.
The first few days were filled with engorgement, but I never had sore nipples, and I had no pain while you nursed. Sure it felt strange to have you on my breast drinking breast milk, but it didn't hurt, and for that I was grateful! In our two years of nursing, I did get plugged ducts. At one point, I am pretty sure I developed Mastitis, but I pushed through it by doing my research, as I always do.
It is because of that research that I ended up nursing you as long as I did. At first my goal was just like everyone else. Just get through the first six months. I told myself I would re-evaluate at that point and try to make it to a year. One year later, our nursing relationship was going so well, I decided why not try for 18 months of nursing? At 18 months, I had done enough research to know that I wanted to let you wean on your own timing. It was sometime in the months before your sister was born that I started doing the "don't ask, don't refuse" way of nursing. I have pretty much exclusively done that since. Thus bringing us up to you no longer asking. At the age of two I asked you if you were ready to wean and you declared with tears in your eyes that you were not ready and that you needed to nurse. Today you tell me you haven't weaned yet, but sweetie, I am pretty sure you have. It's been over two weeks since you last asked and you don't seem to even mind.
I have so many incredible memories together. I will never forget you hungrily gulping my breastmilk in those first few days. Nor will I forget my milk spraying all over your face and hair. I remember so many times lovingly playing with your hair (the little you had) and in my head I kept saying, I never wanted to forget that moment. The moment of looking down and seeing you sleeping, drinking on your na-nas. I still love the fact that when you are tired, sad, scared, you come to me and play with my hair. Some of my favorite memories are of when you first learned to smile and you would latch on, look up at me and smile and latch back on. That cycle would repeat and repeat over and over again. You soon grew so big that you were curious to your world around you and if daddy was in the room, you would try to turn and look at him while nursing. That hurt! However, you were a very good little girl when it came to nursing and teeth. I think you bit me a few times, but that was it. You knew that if you continued to bite, I would not continue to nurse! I also remember around 9 months of age, your daddy bringing you down to me and you looking at me and screaming "Nurse!" when up to that point you hadn't said that. At a year, I had a professional photographer take nursing pictures of us because I did not want to forget what that was like. I do not regret those pictures, they are some of my most treasured memories.
My only regret with nursing is how our relationship changed when your sister was born. For that I am truly sorry. I'm sure alot of it was because I was overwhelmed with two little girls. I was tired from giving birth. I also all of a sudden no longer saw you as my baby. You grew up overnight in my eyes. In yours, you were still a baby in need of the warm milk from your mama. I often got frustrated and didn't want to nurse you. I wish I wouldn't have. I wish I would have cherished you just a bit longer. I miss our snuggle times in the morning because even though we have special snuggle time, it just isn't the same because you don't snuggle into me as deeply, or for as long.
You are growing up honey. I love it, but I hate it. That is why I title this as bitersweet goodbye. I am happy in a way to no longer be tandem nursing. I am happy to have you just wake up in the morning and eat breakfast, and not have to nurse. I'm proud to see you grow up, see the choices you are going to make. However, I am so sad. I know the first step to goodbye was the second you had solids, but this seems so final. It truly is goodbye. I am almost panicky thinking of you never nursing again sweetheart. I've actually had this written for a few weeks, but haven't had the heart to click on publish post because once I do, it is final. I'm sad. On the otherhand, I couldn't be more pleased to how it all happened and that it was a painless weaning process.
So goodbye to sweet breastfeeding, but hello to more incredible moments with you to come!