We haven't nursed in over a week now. It's been pretty sporadic for the past couple months, and now I think it might be over. I decided that throughout this pregnancy I would practice the "don't offer, don't refuse" principle of gently weaning, which would allow my toddler to decide when he was ready, emotionally. However, I think it turned into more of a "don't offer, lets find something funner to do, keep him extremely busy, please take this cookie instead" principle of distraction. I admit nursing during pregnancy isn't ideal for me. Painful breasts, barely any milk, that feeling of extreme irritation when someone is in your bubble--I've experienced all that and more these past months, and have actually been eagerly anticipating this moment. This is our conversation this week:
Mom: Odin, would you like some "milkies?"
Mom: Why not?
Odin: All gone.
Mom: So there's no milkies in there?
Odin: No milkies.
Mom: What about when the baby comes? Then will you have more milkies?
Odin: No! Odin big!
And that was that. There was a time last week when we we were nursing one of our last nursings (i didn't know would be), and I felt that hormonal rush of oxytocin, once again. It was that strong nurturing hormone you feel when your baby is at the breast. I hadn't felt that for a long time, especially as I've been pregnant. It came so suddenly, and so powerfully, that tears filled my eyes. I looked down at my big boy and just adored his little face all over again, trying to imagine what it was like when he was just a baby, nursing quietly at my breast.
That time goes by too fast, as everyone says. It really has.
One of my favorite paragraphs from the Womanly Art of Breastfeeding, about a weaning toddler, is this:
"While many people see weaning as the end of something--a taking away or deprivation-it's really a positive thing, a beginning, a wider experience. It's the broadening of the child's horizons, an expansion of his universe. It's moving slowly ahead one careful step at a time. It's full of exciting but sometimes frightening new experiences. It's another step in growing up."
So run my little boy--go explore the world, and Mom will still be right there with you, just like from the very beginning.