I’ve hit a major milestone here and I’m not referring to Vinny’s first birthday. While that is truly a feat in itself (Come on, I kept a baby alive for a whole year while teaching a toddler how to deal with the reality that she was no longer the only little person in the center of my universe. Not always easy, folks. Not always easy.), but I’m now at the end stages of weaning my little baby from nursing. And, Lordy, Lordy, am I experiencing emotional highs and lows.
On the one hand, I’m extremely pleased with myself. Since I finally disciplined myself to wean hardcore, and by that I mean no nursing all day long – not before naps or even bedtime and no bottles of milk either (he drinks from a sippy cup instead!), he’s actually taken to the change quite well. In fact, after reading books and plopping him in the crib before bed last night, he only fussed for less than 2 minutes. I’m not exaggerating.
But on the other hand, I’m so sad to end this phase in my life. I LOVE nursing. I absolutely LOVE it. I know some people struggle with nursing, but luckily for me I did not have any major issues with it for either of my children. I love the emotional bonding. I love the convenience. I just plain love it. Anyone who knows me knows I had no shame in nursing. I’d whip it out anywhere! And as my baby aged, I stopped using covers because a squirming baby underneath a nursing cover…let’s just say he wasn’t having it. Regardless, I’d say I still nursed as inconspicuously as possible!
That’s not to say there aren’t the downsides to it. I hate to pump; therefore, in the early stages the sole responsibility of sustenance for my baby came from me. And while that is kind of a really cool thing, it’s also very tiring! It also left me with feelings of great guilt if I ever wanted to go out of the house without him. I know this is unique to me, but I often wrestled with being able to enjoy myself without him nearby (I’m over that now!). Plus, I’m sure postpartum hormones played a role with those feelings.
What this milestone signals most of all is the end of his baby stage. He’s gaining his independence from me. He doesn’t need me the same way he did as an infant, which I am extremely grateful and happy for, yet I mourn the change. I am always reminded how fleeting these young years are for my kids. Sometimes they go by in a blurred frenzy – sleepless nights, first steps, new foods, coos and words. There are days when bedtime can’t come soon enough and the mess from the day remains until the next because I’m too tired to do anything but sit down for a moment of peace. But then there are the small everyday moments, like nursing a baby to sleep and holding him close to your heart, when I realize and know there’s no place I’d rather be.
So soon I’ll have my whole body back to myself again. It’s been awhile, but I don’t mind. In the span of my lifetime, it’s barely a blip. The whole cycle of birth, from conception, through pregnancy, and lactation is just an amazing reminder of God’s awe-inspiring grace.