Bye Bye Breastfeeding …

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Bye Bye Breastfeeding
source: Tara Faul via Flickr Creative Commons

Until Friday, I had been breastfeeding or pregnant for all but six months since February 2008. For a few months when I got pregnant with Joshua, I was even both!

I’d been ready to wean Joshua for awhile, honestly. You might think that’s strange since I nursed David until he was 20 months old. And really, I think David just gave up because I was pregnant and there wasn’t much there. He is my most dependent child. And that’s OK! We were mutually OK with nursing.

Joshua is a fierce biter when it comes to nursing. I’ve tried every trick and tool in the arsenal to get him to realize that this isn’t allowed. Nothing works. He might stop for a little while – a few weeks, maybe – and then as soon as he is teething again it’s back with a vengeance. This has been going on since he was about 9 months old. At 10 months, though, he was rather feisty and refused to take a bottle, which hampered any weaning. At 11 months, we were better with the bottle … and then he got the flu. He wouldn’t eat or drink except for nursing. So that’s what we did.

For the last six to eight weeks, I’ve only nursed him once or twice a day. And he hasn’t done much chomping down, but he thinks a little gnawing isn’t too bad. I beg to differ.

Baby monkey nursing
source: George Estreich via Flickr Creative Commons

Friday he pretty much demanded to nurse (it’s amazing how insistent a nonverbal person can be, isn’t it?) and then didn’t actually drink anything, just tried to chew. He likes to do this with his bottles – drink some, then chew on the nipples and walk around with the bottle hanging from his mouth. It’s cute when it’s the bottle. Not cute when it’s my body.

After repeating this twice, I gave up. And decided that was that. We were done.

We’ve now gone four days with no nursing. He hasn’t asked, either, so that helps. I thought I would be jubilant. In a way, I am. I will be glad to have my body back. I am sincerely hoping my chest will deflate a little.

But then I saw my Boppy. Someone had tucked it away in the linen closet. It made my heart sink. Because I am guessing Joshua is probably our last baby. I am not 100% sure, but it’s probable. And I do love nursing. I love that connection. I am mourning the fact that I didn’t have one last sweet nursing time with my Joshy. (Not that I remember any “last times” with the other two.) I’m sad that it might be the end of this part of mothering for me.

Like every phase in parenting, I think, there are many times you wish it to be over. And then it is. And you mourn, deep down, soul-sinking kind of sadness. Just one more time, you think.

One more toothless smile.

One more time that he sleeps in your arms.

One more bang on the high chair.

One more glittery shoe.

You wanted her to eat solids, him to sleep through the night, to get rid of that high chair, to stop seeing glitter all over the carpet each day.

But then those pieces of parenting are gone. And you miss them.

Four days without, and I miss the nuzzle of a baby at my breast already. The feeling of accomplishment, that my body nourishes my baby, it does what it’s supposed to do. The sweet wisps of baby hair on my hand as I rub his precious head. Tiny hand beating me like a drum, happy at his milky time.

Please excuse me. I’m going to go sob now.

11 thoughts on “Bye Bye Breastfeeding …

  1. I honestly never thought I’d nurse past a year. But then I fell in love with it and there’s not an end in sight yet. I don’t see weaning being easy either. We are still pretty much doing on demand which includes night time :/. Sweet post, Jessie! 🙂

    • That is great! I never thought I would be an extended nurser, either, but I only nursed Libbie to 11 months and I regretted that later. So David I intended to nurse longer and he was happy to comply!! I know with Joshua I may regret it some but since he is not asking it has been easier to stop.

  2. (((Hugs)))) I wasn’t able to breast feed any of my 3 girls.. But yes, I do know the sadness attached to other parts of baby/mother bonding… It hurts when it’s ur last one…my last one.. 12 is still my baby.. Even though she is preteen.. I miss the footed pj’s.. The binky’s… The cuddles..

  3. Hugs! Yep, totally feel that – wishing it was over but missing it when it’s gone. Going into thinking about a third child, and it probably being our last, I get sad just thinking about last pregnancy, last baby… It makes me want to have 10 kids, but then I have 3 sleepless nights, and I’m ready to move on.

    • Ha. I totally get that. I always say I would probably have 10 kids if I didn’t have to be pregnant with them. I love babies but not the pregnancy. But then I think about all the sleep deprivation … and how I am already losing my mind …

  4. I’m in a similar place (but thankfullly without the biting). I don’t know if baby 3 is our last but she probably is. She’s just over a year now and is showing less and less interest in nursing. Who knows when will be our last time. It is a little sad. (OTOH, I’ll be glad to get all those breastfeeding hormones out of me. I don’t gain weight when pregnant, but breastfeeding makes me put on weight every single time. I’ve already noticed my appetite calming down now that she’s nursing less.)

  5. My “baby” decided he was done when he was a little over a year. It was sad, because I knew he was my last. And he wasn’t really snuggly, so that was my snuggle time with him. At least it was an easy process. And once he got a little older, he became more snuggly, so I still get that time even though he’s 8!

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