hi my name is bananie. i am a lactating mother. i last breastfed my child nine days ago. i am pretty sure that nine days without nursing warrants official wielding of the term “weaned”, right?
i wanted to nurse jude until she was 2. then i got pregnant. and i realized that jude would turn 2 three months before i gave birth. the likelihood of tandem nursing seemed pretty high. and daunting. and holy hell my boobs sure did hurt from all those pregnancy hormones.
i thought that jude might wean herself, that my milk would completely dry up or change flavor. however, she held on with gusto. she only wanted milk at night, before bed, and usually for less than 5 minutes. sometimes, she’d have a moment on the couch in the morning. it was all comfort, little to no nutrition. and though i remained hesitant to let those precious moments go, the act itself was becoming more physically uncomfortable.
a few weeks ago, jude’s nose was stuffy for several days, which meant even less nursing. i took that time to introduce a sippy cup of water or milk at bedtime. she didn’t really ask to nurse. [quick digression– bedtime these days looks like this: i read jude a few books, we turn out the lights, she has a little milk, and then she asks to go into her bed. i cover her up, say goodnight. the end.]
and then the weekend of awful sleep happened in dallas. she regressed a bit, wanted to be babied a lot, and in the middle of the night she wanted to nurse. i did what i used to do in a cosleeping situation: i whipped out a boob for her and went back to sleep. she fell asleep while nursing, and proceeded to BITE THE FUCKING FUCK out of my nipple. i yelped, squeaked, squawked, tried to unclamp her. but she was out cold and wouldn’t let go. jude has never been a biter, thank GOD; this was a total sleep-chomp. but the pain was ridiculously intense, and came only hours after she accidentally pinned my nipple to the bed with her elbow while throwing a tantrum. i’m guessing that the experience was akin to a good kick in the balls. i was immobilized for a bit.
…and sore for days after. too sore to nurse, in fact.
when we got back from dallas, jude wanted to nurse again. she asked for milk at bedtime, and when i offered her a cup, she clarified her preference by pulling up my shirt. when simple distraction no longer worked, i pulled out my trump card of no return: sorry, baby. mommy’s milk is all gone.
the first time i said it, she looked at me quizzically, but when i immediately offered a cup of milk, she was totally fine with option number two. nine days later, she sometimes forgets and asks for mommy milk, but all it takes is a reminder, and she is okay. no tears. no tantrums. in fact, at bedtime most nights, she is opting out of beverages altogether, and just wants book and bed.
so. yes. jude is weaned, just shy of 22 months old. i am so proud of our breastfeeding relationship, that we made it last this long. i already experience nostalgic moments with an air of wistfulness and finality. a montage of jude nursing through the ages plays through my head with a soft glow. it abruptly ends with these thoughts: she will never nurse again. that season is over now.
i grieve a little bit, feel a bit of relief to have my boobs back for a few months, and i celebrate what a rousing success we’ve had. i’m more at peace with the change than i thought it would be. and the best part? she snuggles me for the snuggles alone now. there’s no ulterior motive of, “if i get close enough to mommy, i’ll totally score some milk”. she just wraps her arms around my neck and goes limp on my growing belly. bliss.