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Weaned

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It seems that we’re done with breastfeeding. The Bear is 13+ months old, and yesterday was the first day in his life that he didn’t have “bubbies.” We were down to one feeding every day, usually around 5 a.m. He would wake up, eat for about 15 minutes, and then go right back to sleep for another hour or so.
But it had reached the point where I felt like a big pacifier. I wasn’t sure he was actually getting anything to eat. It seemed he was just sucking to soothe himself back to sleep. Besides that, his teeth were hurting me a bit, even if I re-did his latch. And so, I think this is it.
I’m happy that we made it to the one year mark that is recommended, at a minimum, by the American Academy of Pediatrics. I know the World Health Organization recommends breastfeeding for two years, and that many people breastfeed their toddlers. But I’ve decided that I’m comfortable stopping now. It just feels right.
I’d like to sear in my memory the last time I breastfed The Bear. I have a bunch of impressions, but I’m not quite sure if they are specifically from the last time, or simply an amalgamation of the past few weeks. Of course it doesn’t really matter. To me, this will always be what I remember.
It was around 4:30 in the morning. He started to whimper from his bedroom, so I walked down the hallway, making sure to avoid the stroller parking lot, and got him out of the room before he woke up his brother. I climbed back into bed and propped a pillow under my arm that held his head. I know he found my breast in the dark and I barely had to look to see that he latched on well. After a year of practice, we knew our routine by heart. I know he fussed a bit when I switched him from one side to the next, and that I winced when he bit me by accident. I know it was still dark and that I could hear the rain and thunder. Flashes of lightening lit the room periodically. I think I also heard some birds chirping outside our window, but I don’t know if that makes sense. Would the birds have been out if it was raining? And besides, I’ve never noticed a ledge outside our 20th floor window where they could perch.
I know that once his sucking and breathing slowed, and he became heavier in my arms, I stuck my finger into the corner of his mouth and he popped off. He started to cry again, annoyed at the disturbance, and arched his back as I carried him to the Pak n Play in our room. I put him down on his back and he promptly flipped onto his stomach. I stroked the back of his head for a few seconds, whispered sh sh sh, and then slipped back into bed.
Will he remember any of this? No. His older brother, The Bortsky, certainly doesn’t believe me when I tell him that he used to “have bubbies” once too. As far as he’s concerned, “bubbies” are for babies, and he’s been drinking from a Dora cup since the beginning of time.
But isn’t that the way it’s supposed to be? As moms, we remember almost everything. The smell of pajamas just washed in Dreft. Rubbing lotion on pudgy thighs. The wailing that kept us up at nights. And certainly, the bliss of a baby that has breastfed and fallen asleep.
Even though The Bear will never recall these 4 a.m. feedings, I imagine, on a certain level he’ll remember that sense of contentment. Those were our moments together. Our moments alone, in the middle of the night. And our moments alone, even when we were surrounded by the outside world on a park bench.
Bye, “bubbies.” The Bear may not miss you, but I think I will. Now I just have to figure out how to wean myself.



7 Responses to “Weaned”

Congrats on 13 wonderful months of nursing!
It’s nice that you’ve documented your last nursing. I have friends who are very sad they can’t remember their last nursing session and remain very wistful about that!

This entry made me cry. Beautiful thoughts beautifully written, Andi. Congratulations on a very successful year.

What lovely memories! And although he may not remember the same things you recall about your breastfeeding moments together, subconsciously he will never forget :)
Congratulations on breastfeeding for so long and for such a gentle weaning…

Your post on weaning brought tears to my eyes. How precious and sweet a memory. Congratulations on your 13 months – that’s a great accomplishment. The wonderful bonding makes it all worth it!

I had a similar experience with weaning back in January – we went on a trip when my son was 15 months old. He forgot to ask for it and I forgot to offer. I nursed him on the flight home, but I figured, why push it after that, if he was okay with ending it? He hasn’t asked since that flight.
I think weaning was easy for me and I didn’t get too teary-eyed. However, I’ll admit it’s probably because I get to do it all over again when my daughter is born in July. We’ll see how casual I am about weaning her, since she will be my last. Sniff.

Way to go mama!!You made it 13 months. Thank you for your heart felt blog. It really touched my heart. My daughter is starting to not want “milk” as much as she once did. It makes me sad. Like you wrote, it is our time together. I, too, will miss it!! I think weaning is more about the mother than than child…

That’s such a sweet story. I’m glad you had the forethought to remember it. I hope I will be able to remember my baby’s last time breastfeeding with such detail.

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