From the moment I became pregnant there was never a question of bottle or breast. The thought of formula never once even crossed my mind.
Lovebug had reflux, as well as an intolerance to the protien in dairy and soy which is passed thru breastmilk so at 7 weeks I cut out all dairy and soy. The thought of giving up was still never a thought I had. There were days, even weeks when I felt like she was on the boob all day and some of them she really was! I learned to ignore other peoples’ discomfort when I happily nursed, without a cover, in reastruants, parks, and even once while sitting on an endcap in target. After all I was comfortable and so was my daughter.
My goal was two and yet her birthday came and went with no end in sight. Lots of people asked “really, you are still nursing her?”, “isn’t she off the boob yet?” And an array of other questions which faded when they realized I really did not care what anyone thought and was going to follow my gut to allow her to self wean.
Over time she became too busy to nurse during the day other than to go to sleep. I grew too tired to nurse in the night and slowly night weaned her around 2 1/2. Her night time nursing became just a few minutes. Nap time nursing went away as she began to fight sleep until she won, gaining a second wind or fell asleep where she was. I savoured our morning nursing sessions, breathing in her sent, gazing into her eyes, feeling her hot weight against me as she rolled the skin of my breast between her fingers, feeling her heart beat in sync with mine.
It felt like I had been nursing her forever and it would never end yet it felt like I blinked and my tiny baby became a toddler winking at me before drifting off to sleep while nursing. She was Only nursing about two minutes before bed. She began to tell me there was Only a sip of milk, sometimes no milk. Her latch changed, I lost what was left of my milk. For a month she dry nursed to sleep, while I clinched my teeth, skin crawling. I did it because it was two minutes of wanting to jump out of my skin vs two hours of screaming, because I knew the end was near, because I knew she was not ready yet even if I was. She would fall asleep on the couch, or latch then instantly say she was done and go to sleep on her own.
And then it happened. We went to bed and she latched, let go and told me she didn’t need boobie anymore. That was 8 days ago.
3 years, 4 months, and 12 days.
It’s not bittersweet, I’m not sad. I’m satisfied. I’m proud that I surpassed my original goal, that I let her choose and wean when she was ready. I feel thankful for the experience and everything it brought with it, for all I learned, for the moments I would otherwise not have had and for the amazing bond it nurtured between us.