It’s official, Tommy has weaned. I blame my work a little bit because a very busy period in April caused us to drop his morning nursing session when I had to leave before he woke up. But when I was home again in the mornings, he never made any indication that he wanted to nurse. So that feeding was dropped. Over the last few months he nursed less and less each day, whittling down to just a few minutes before bedtime. It has become sheer habit that he tugs on my shirt once Bill closes the bedroom door and we cuddle in our rocking chair. Last week he started shaking his head no when I asked if he wanted some milk. There was no struggling, no frustration and no tears; at least not any tears of his. Instead of nursing, he sits on my lap, snuggling with his blanket and talking to me while we listen to music from his My Pal Scout. I’m guessing he tells me about his day, but I have yet to fully translate his language. After a few minutes of this, I hug and kiss him goodnight and place him in his crib with blanket, Scout and his paci close by. He’s fully awake and doesn’t put up a fight anymore. Most nights he sleeps ten to twelve hours too. If you know our history when it comes to sleep, you’ll understand how wonderful this is.
The sleep alone is making weaning much easier on me. When it dawned on me one day last month that Tommy hadn’t nursed in over eighteen hours and my breasts didn’t feel full, I understood that weaning had begun. Babies will often pull a nursing strike if they are sick or teething, but Tommy wasn’t either. At first I felt a pang of panic… was something wrong? I even went so far as to wonder if I was pregnant again (I wasn’t). Then it evolved into sadness. This journey of ours was ending and I had to take a moment to evaluate if I was really ready. Obviously I didn’t have a choice, he was the one calling the shots here, not me.
Now that he’s weaned I find myself having thoughts of, “what am I supposed to do now?” Almost like nursing somewhat defined me as a mom for the last nineteen months. Now that I am no longer this comfort and source of nourishment for him, I’m not sure what kind of mom I am. It sounds weird, but I don’t know how else to describe it. The other night, as we were getting ready for bed, he tugged on my shirt (again, I think it’s just a habit). When I asked if he wanted some milk he shook his head no. He then rested his forehead on my chest and made a fake sucking noise. Then he giggled. I guess he was telling me what he used to do and it really made me laugh.
Either way, I am proud of myself. I made it through serious latch issues and pumping while he spent three nights in the NICU at one week old. I made it through a painful oversupply of milk. I pumped two to three times a day at work for a full year, stressing over ounces and obsessing over any spilled or wasted milk, and then nursed nights and weekends. I mastered nursing in public without a cover and without flashing the world. It has been one hell of a journey and I have no regrets.
My big boy!