snuggled in nursing on our family trip to Acadia National Park
Today is kind of a sad day but I’m taking it in stride. After 23-months of exclusive breastfeeding, my toddler has self-weaned. Earlier this morning, she snuggled up next to me in bed like she does most mornings and tried to nurse but after a moment shook her head sadly and said, “this no working” while she signed “broken.” It was shattering. It’s the end of an era.
I still have some milk coming in actually but I think we’re closing the chapter on almost 2 years of exclusive breast feeding. As much as I’ve longed for a break and to have my body back before our second child arrives late this spring, I’m finding it bittersweet.
Weaning my toddler couldn’t have been easier since I let her take the lead and wasn’t in any rush. We were down to only morning nursing session as of December with occasional nursing during the day or in the evening on very rare occurrences. Only in the last month and a half or so have I gently encouraged stretching out nursing a bit if she didn’t really seem interested in the morning. It was often as easy as asking if she wanted to go make cinnamon toast for breakfast or build a castle with her blocks.
I will share that as we passed the year and few months and then the year and a half point, I did feel a little uncomfortable sharing that I was still breastfeeding my daughter. I often rolled my eyes or made a joke about it or made to sound exasperated if it came up in conversation among family or other moms but the truth is, I am really happy to have made it well past my goal of a year.
When I remember back to how much we struggled in the beginning and how often I wanted to give up; of the pain, the bleeding, the tears, the exhaustion, the toll on my spirit and body having to respond to the grueling routine of being the sole food source in those veery early months, it feels like such an accomplishment and one I’m incredibly proud of and want to celebrate. That those dark early days and physically demanding first few months gave way to so many beautiful moments snuggling, doting on and adoring my daughter, well… I can’t begin to express my gratitude for having been lucky enough to experience them.