It’s been a week, and there has been a BIG change. But, on the other hand, it doesn’t feel like much has changed at all. My previous blog was primarily a breastfeeding blog. For the past four and a half years, I have eaten, breathed, and dreamed breastfeeding. I know that sounds weird, but I think it’s true. From working through my own struggles to breastfeed my sons to moderating a breastfeeding support board, I can’t even count the hours I have spent thinking about, reading about, and breastfeeding my own kids. And, now, I’m done. They’re done. For the first time, since November 2005, I am not nursing anyone.
One of the first things my friends have said when I told them is, “How do you feel about that?” In my head and my heart, I am so happy for both boys. Kael nursed until just a few days before he was 4 1/2. Asa nursed until about 6 weeks before his 3rd birthday. Kael started off as a 4 week pre-term baby who struggled to latch. He was a sleepy baby. He had jaundice. Then, somehow as he grew, day by day, we both became more comfortable and more confident in our relationship. We both began to depend on on breastfeeding as a major part of our lives. When I got pregnant with Asa, Kael was almost 12 months old. He persevered and nursed through my pregnancy with Asa. He nursed like an infant when Asa was born. Asa was a high needs baby when he was born. He had reflux and a dairy sensitivity. He was also very anxious around people other than my husband and myself. He spent a lot of time being held and in the Ergo. At the time, it was hard. Very hard and very draining.
Both boys weaned on their own, and they both chose the day to be done. We had talked ahead of time about when they were ready to be done the celebration we would have, and it would be a very important day. Kael chose his day at the end of April. Never did I imagine that Asa would choose his only 4 weeks later! When Kael was born, I had a goal of breastfeeding him for six weeks. As you can see, it went a lot further than that. By the time Kael was 3 months old, I knew that I wanted him to be able to nurse for as long as he wanted. I am so happy to say that he did.
So, on the one hand, while I am so happy to have breastfed them until they were ready to be done, and I am proud of them for knowing when they no longer wanted to continue having “Mommy Milk,” I am also sad knowing that this is a chapter that is finished. They will never be my little babies again. Also, for the first time in 4 1/2 years, I am not a breastfeeding mom. There was a time when I was pregnant with Asa that I thought Kael was weaning. We’d had a busy day, and he didn’t nurse at all, not once, during the day. I felt really sad about it. I felt like I had let him down by getting pregnant with Asa and affecting my milk supply. It was also around that time that I first read the essay Weaning Ella from Brain, Child Magazine. It is a touching essay of a mother’s decision to stop nursing her daughter. When I read that essay, I felt nothing but sadness. I felt sad for myself, for Kael, and for the mother and daughter in the essay.
Even though I thought I was done nursing Kael at that point, he apparently didn’t realize that. 🙂 He picked up his nursing again before Asa was born and nursed like crazy after his brother’s birth. When I think back to that time, I know there is a great difference between how I was feeling then and how I feel now. Even though I am sad for the relationship to be over now, I don’t feel any sense of regret or guilt. I feel like he was ready, and I was ready (sad, but ready). I know that both of my boys are ready for their independence. I know that they are ready to move away from me in their own ways. I know this, but darn it, there’s just something I’m not ready for in all that!
So, while there are times when I am sad, and I’m not even really sure I can put my finger on the reason for the sadness, I am also excited. I’m excited that we have Baby #3 on the way in October. I’m excited that Kael and Asa are growing and changing every day. Even though one relationship has come to an end, I know that I still have so much to learn about them and from them as they grow.