Friday, August 14, 2015

On concluding breastfeeding

Two weeks ago, right before Wilder's bedtime snack. Love this pic of him!

This week was bittersweet. Sunday night was my last time to breastfeed Wilder. With baby #2 headed our way in October, I knew weaning would happen at some point because I don't plan to tandem nurse Wilder and Felicity. Wilder will be 22.5 months when Felicity is born. After we found out we were pregnant, I told myself we'd wean by 20 months, even though I had originally hoped for 2 years. We made it to nearly 21 months, and I think this was the right time for us.

I thought we'd have to wean when we left for a trip away from Wilder for 9 days in May. We had been dropping nursing sessions here and there trying to prepare, and were down to three times a day. He was nearly 18 months, but the week before our trip he got hand foot and mouth disease and nursed CONSTANTLY. I didn't feel either of us were ready, so I pumped on our trip religiously, even on the plane, just in case he wanted to nurse when we got back. I haven't pumped since he was a year old because he stopped taking the bottle, so it was unfamiliar, uncomfortable and time consuming. And I got barely anything out, so I didn't know if it was doing any good. Wilder didn't drink any of the milk I had pumped and frozen, so I didn't know if he'd still want to nurse when I got back.

But he did want to nurse, very much, and so did I. We dropped the nap time session and kept going for a few months. At first, someone else had to put him down for his nap because he would ask to nurse--he would just pat my chest and point at the rocking chair. But eventually I could put him down too. At 19 months we dropped his morning session. That was harder than I expected. I learned to have breakfast all ready before I got him out of bed, because he was STARVING the second he got downstairs, missing his milk. I also learned that I needed to change into regular clothes vs. pajamas, or he'd figure I was open for business. Once we learned how to work with that, it was mostly ok, but there were some fussy breakfasts there.

The last two months, we've just nursed before he went to bed. He started to nurse and would finish without falling asleep, then he'd sit up in my lap, point to the bed and say "bed? night night." and be completely happy going to sleep on his own.

A few weeks ago, Zach started putting Wilder down after he nursed instead of me. Soon after that, I started shortening the amount of time Wilder was nursing, a minute at a time. We talked about how he's getting to be a big boy, how milk is for when he was a baby, and for Baby Felicity, and how it will go bye bye soon.

So by the time we got to this past weekend, I felt like we were both OK with saying goodbye to breastfeeding. Sunday night we nursed for just a minute each side and I told him it was our last time. Monday night, we did our bedtime routine (we started adding reading books at bedtime again these last few weeks) and I rocked him for a few minutes. He asked to nurse while I was waiting for Zach to come in, but he didn't fuss about it when I said it was just time for rocking. Zach had to read some books too... but eventually Wilder went to sleep. :-) It was strange to not nurse him at all, and I felt like my snuggle time with him has become so abbreviated. It makes me sad!

We followed that routine for a few days. Yesterday Sharon, Wilder and I drove to San Antonio and Zach stayed home for a meeting. So last night I put Wilder down myself for the first time since weaning. We read our books and he asked for more books. He also said "call dad" but we had already talked to Zach on FaceTime a few minutes earlier. We rocked for about 10 minutes and he went down to sleep!

Tonight he also went down without a fuss. He's starting to invent ways to stay up though. :-) I'm pretty sure he would read every book in his library twice if he could.

Overall, the transition went really smoothly. I got emotional about it, because it was SO hard to breastfeed at first (read my recap of those excruciating early months HERE). I almost gave up on it at that point, but things did get better and better. I treasure that bond Wilder and I shared for nearly 21 months. I will always remember those hours spent holding him close, just time with the two of us. I'll never get that much snuggle time with him again, and that is what makes me the saddest, but I know those days were only temporary. I'm thankful God designed my body to provide nourishment and comfort to my baby and grateful I was able to do that for him. We have a really great relationship and I know part of that is thanks to breastfeeding. I'm very sad this time is over for us, but know it was the right time to end that season.

Looking forward to Felicity's arrival and getting to nurse her! I know I won't get all those uninterrupted hours of nursing, but it'll be worth it to have both my babies with me.

No comments:

Post a Comment