Thursday, April 29, 2010

Farewell, nursing.

Last Friday was a very sad day in my household--that was the last day that Aubrey and I nursed. With this recent lupus flare, I needed to finally wean Aubrey so I could start a new medication that isn't compatible with nursing. We were already down to just 2 nursing sessions a day, at nap and bedtime, so I weaned her to once a day for 3 days, then we stopped. 

Our final nursing session was bittersweet. Although I'm not yet ready to completely rule out having another child, I also know that with my increasing age and health problems, it probably wouldn't be the best idea. I also know that the next few years, there will be quite a few moves and deployments, Brad and I both going to school, so another child just doesn't make sense. Knowing this made it even harder to say goodbye to nursing--it will probably be the last time I ever nurse a child.

Breastfeeding has created such a special bond with my children. I have two very active, rambunctious children, and once they became mobile, finding quiet time to hold them and cuddle became next to impossible.  The great part about nursing--it forced us both to stop, to shut out the rest of the world and the to-do lists and toys vying for our attention, and just sit quietly together, gazing into each other's eyes.  Aubrey and I always played a silly game when she nursed: I would look at her and just say "Don't you smile!" and she would grin. "No laughing!" I would tell her, and she'd giggle hysterically, that big belly laugh that she reserves for the special occasions of humor. It was such a fun, silly time, and I'll miss it now that it is gone.

Aubrey has coped surprisingly well with the weaning. There have been only a couple of times when she would tug on my shirt and fuss to nurse, but I have been able to easily distract her. Surprisingly, the times I expected to be the most difficult--nap time and bed time--have been the easiest.  I just wrap her in a blanket and hold her to my chest in her rocking chair, and she sucks her thumb contentedly for a few minutes, and then settles right into bed to drift off to sleep.

I wish I could have nursed Aubrey for a few months longer--these little ones grow up so fast, I treasure every bit of "baby time" I can squeeze out of them.  But now that we are weaned, I look forward to a few things--being able to finally go out and buy some new, pretty bras that will actually fit right and not have industrial-looking snaps and fasteners on them.  Not having to worry about pumping, so I don' lose my milk, when Brad and I try to get a little break from the kids. I'll miss the special time we had nursing--but I look forward to getting hugs and kisses and cuddles that don't lead to being a food supply, and the new "grown-up" relationship I'll have with my baby girl.


Becky said...

Nursing was such an incredible moment with me and the kids. I know exactly how you feel. Weening Ashton was extremely difficult, especially since there was no doubt we were not having anymore. My heart aches for you.

Katie said...

Don't be too sad. With my diabetes (although extreemly well controlled, we thought it best to stop at 3. I'm now on my 5th. You just never know.....

Starr C. said...

You go girl! Kudos to you for nursing so long. I completely understand you when you say that nursing was the one moment you could shut out the world and really be with baby. I truly miss those moments and really have days where I wish I could nurse Corinne again (I nursed her until she was 6 months old). It's one thing to wean a first or second child knowing you are going to have more and quite another when you know this one is your last. It is indeed bitter sweet. :)

Want to hear more about the Pack?

Check out A Belly in Bloom, a page devoted to Angela's pregnancy with Aubrey. You can see belly pics, sonograms, and learn more about how Aubrey (formerly known as "The Bean") came to be the lovely little girl she is! You can also find Angela's favorite recipes and newest food experiments at Cooking with the Parker Pack.