In which we cross a milestone

We’ve crossed a major milestone this week. We’re finished breastfeeding.  And yes, I’m a wreck.

We’ve been on just one feeding a day – at bedtime – for months now (Anne is 18 months old). But Anne has been winding down on her nursing (or “nummers” as she calls it) for the past month or so. She’ll just nip on every other night for a snack but really hasn’t been dependent on it for a long while, preferring her food and drink or blankie or books. Some night she was too busy and other nights, she’d run over and say “Nummers”.  So it’s been more of a comfort thing. This last week, she just didn’t really bother before bedtime. So she hasn’t nursed all week long but I never thought anything of it as I’ve been rather tired and out-of-sorts myself.  But last night, she had a bit of a meltdown (well, actually, I had one first and she just joined in). So before bed, I sat down to nurse her for comfort. She wouldn’t lay down and wasn’t at all interested. I didn’t really realise what was going on so thought it was just the wrong position or something. After wrestling with each other for a while, it suddenly dawned on me that she just didn’t want to nurse – and that she hadn’t nursed for a week. She then reached over and covered me up and hopped down. She went over to her own bed and said “Sleeps”. So I just lifted her into her bed and she popped her thumb in – off to Neverland.

Meanwhile, I went out to the living room and cried. I don’t remember the “last time” I nursed her. I’ve spent hours and hours of her life, nursing her and holding her, a million memories and quiet moments together and yet I don’t remember the “last time” now because it ended before I thought it would. It seems we’re really done.

Breastfeeding has been my favourite, favourite, favourite part of parenting so far and now this stage is over. Right from the first hour I gave birth to her, we’ve had this special connection. There was nothing more satisfying that feeding my daughter, seeing her grow, knowing that she was healthy. Over the months, even nursing a squirmy toddler has been fun. And I just can’t believe that she’s finished. I was still crying about it this morning when I told Brian about it (he was at class last night). We had a good cry in the bathroom together but soon Anne came in and sat down on the potty.  So then we turned around and cheered ourselves hoarse over her newest accomplishment. She clapped along at our obvious delight and even got to flush the toilet herself.

I think I see glimmers of my future ahead. Me still clinging to her while she, unwittingly and easily moves on, grows up, changes and leaves me a little more every day. I might have a lot of moments like last night; realising that we’ve crossed a milestone and grieving while she, blissfully unaware, just keeps moving forward.



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  • Sarah

    Comments (8)

    awwww… I'm sorry. I know I'll be a wreck when that day comes. It's so wonderful that you let HER wean herself though. I plan to do the child led weaning thing as well… so long as she isn't still nursing when she goes off for college HA.
    2/21/2008 9:45 AM linzi424 (message) block delete reply

    I only nursed Maggie for a few months, but I find myself being very clingy to her lately as she is getting so much more independent. She was having a bad time the other night and I offered to rock her to sleep. It was so comforting and brought back that flood of baby memories. I think I liked it more than she did!!

    2/21/2008 10:05 AM coleminer (message) block delete reply

    It's been 30 years ago but I do remember how much I enjoyed nursing my babies. I remember the last time I nursed DS2….we were in the car on the way to Easter Sunday church. (no car seats back then). After that day, he just didn't want to anymore. It was disappointing. He was only 8 mos. old. He also left my nest before I was ready….

    Praying for you today! Q.'

    2/21/2008 10:21 AM QMTJ (message) block delete reply

    "Glimmer of the future ahead…" As painful as it is, it actually means that we are doing a pretty good job if they can move forward to the next thing. "Roots and wings" is what it is all about.
    2/21/2008 7:37 PM Covchic (message) block delete reply

    Oh my. As difficult as it is for you, I don't think expecting and nursing go together. I remember it greatly contributed to a very difficult and overwhelming fatigue for me.
    2/21/2008 7:46 PM momaoge (message) block delete reply

    Aww- I remember the last time I breasfed my daughter. I still feel sad about it and she is 14!
    2/21/2008 9:09 PM Laoshi (message) block delete reply

    Awwww…lol Martin was my only one to go the full 18 mos. Sweet boy. I still remember once when he was just more than a year old, he had a terrible cold, and woke up in the middle of the night to feed which he never did…he lay down next to me and said pitifully, "Mih pee" (milk please). Still brings a tear to me eye! ROFL

    Philip weaned himself when he was 12 months. (Horrors!) And my girls have been nightmares to feed…so it was bittersweet, anyway.
    2/22/2008 5:41 AM shegoespublic (message) block delete reply

    Ohhh…so sorry!! Those were some hard times for me as well. Good for you to let her wean herself–18mo. was about the time my youngest two stopped as well. (((Hugs))) Emily and I started "pillow-talk" just before/after (can't remember) she stopped. We cuddle on her bed and she she chatters away! Precious times! Your a great Mom and have a strong special bond with Anne~you'll find another way to maintain that closeness!
    2/22/2008 10:28 AM newlifesong (message) block delete reply

  • Kassie Rew

    I think slowly I will make it through your whole blog. You write so well and honestly! I enjoy it!

    This post made me tear up a bit. My boys 7 months old, but he’s already so big and it breaks my heart a little every time he is able to do something new!

  • Woody1620

    just discovered this post as it was linked to the one you wrote today about anne’s haircut (so awesome, btw). i wanted to share that i could tell my daughter was done with nursing for a while — she stopped asking for it. so we whittled down to once a day like you described. and then, i consciously picked a “last time.” and i cried through the whole thing. i think there’s no way to avoid the tears, whether you remember the last time or not. and as you say, our kids have so many of these steps away from us in the future. i can’t imagine kindergarten, much less college. i’m going to be a disaster.