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.