Spilt Milk

One week ago today, I sat in my glider-rocker and rocked and nursed my sweet 2.5 year old for the last time.

We nursed for nearly half an hour, until she had completely zonked out in my arms. Her mouth was partially open, she was breathing hard and deep. I massaged her scalp, rubbed the dimples of her fingers with my own. Placed the sole of her foot in my palm. She’s getting so big. Soon, it won’t fit anymore.

I laid her in her crib, and arranged her limbs among the various stuffed animals and blankets. Kissed her forehead. And quietly left the room.

I’ve been ready to wean for the past few months. My goal was to nurse until the 2-year mark, and then to wean her when my husband and I went away on a trip. But the trip fell through. So we kept nursing.

She was an adamant nurser. Though she was down to 1-2 times a day, these were times she needed desperately, and an attempt to distract her led to massive temper tantrums.

So I waited, patiently, for Arizona. And the chance at a physical separation I hoped would do the trick.

The first night was a tough one for my husband — she usually nursed to sleep. But after that, she no longer asked. When I came home on Thursday she said, “Mom, I want your nurneys.” When I told her they were broken, she looked back curiously, squinting her eyes, trying to find some sort of solution. But she didn’t ask again.

The following day my own heart was broken. For nearly 5 minutes she beat my chest and begged. I hugged and cuddled and kissed, and nearly gave in. But eventually, she stopped. Since then, there have been only a handful of requests– only half-serious and easily distracted.

I guess that means we’re done.

I have nursed for over 7 years of my life– 2 years 3 months with my first daughter, 2 years 6 months with my second daughter, and 2 years 8 months with my third. Nursing has provided me with some of my best moments with my daughters, and for this reason I’m so grateful I was able to do it.

But I’m looking forward to the next chapter in our lives. One with filled millions of kisses and hugs and cuddles– without the presence of my milk. And if I’m lucky enough, someday, one of my daughters will become a mother and nurse her child, and I will get to experience, from a different perspective, what I have found to be one of the most amazing experiences I’ve had as a mother.

She's only played with a doll a few times in her life. But when she did, it was to nurse it.


3 thoughts on “Spilt Milk

  1. awww…. I can’t read this without feeling a tiny bit heartbroken and utterly nostalgic for our nursing years. I breastfed uninterruptedly for 5 and a half years and it was the most amazing experience I had. It just made motherhood something truly special, magical even. I feel a little bad to this day because I didn’t let Linton nurse until he was four like his brother. K suggested that I wean him after he turned 3. I was away from him twice in July/August 2007. We were in Brazil and I went to one conference for three days and then to another for five days. But when I came back he still asked a few times.

    Well, I need to write a post for NaBloPoMo, so I’ll just go ahead and blog about this. Sigh.

  2. P.S. In the end I had a draft of a post, so I wrote about something else, but I should revisit this topic soon. Let’s see if I can find the emotional energy to do it.

  3. Oh, it’s such a bittersweet moment. Mine nursed until the night before she turned three, and she still pats them sometimes. It was hard to cut her off, but it was time.

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