Tag Archives: Motherhood

Extended Nursing: That’s a Wrap!

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The past week has been bittersweet. It’s the end of an era between my son and me. An era I never imagined surviving a year much less three and a half. 

Apollo never took to bottles or pacifiers, so I served as both. My husband couldn’t help with feedings since, quite frankly, he wasn’t the one with the milk-filled boobs; and when Apollo figured out that boobs not only provide milk but pacify too, it was mama, mama, mama, and only mama from then on out.

Throughout the first year I:

-was sleep deprived.
-had sore, cracked nipples.
-leaked a lot.
-was supper emotional (see: sleep deprived).
-dreamt about the one year mark, when I’d begin the weaning process.

But when he turned one, I wasn’t quite ready to initiate weaning. I knew some resistance and crying would be involved, and since I’d become a pro at pacifying his qualms (with boobs) I wasn’t ready to replace this challenge with a new one. We’d gotten into a groove, a routine, and dare I say it, a bond. Besides, we were about to embark on a cross-country move (Hawaii to Maryland) and I wanted to preserve as much normalcy for him as possible.

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Okay, so on our way to Maryland from Hawaii we made a month-long stop in Texas. He bit my nip one day while nursing and it hurt so bad I shouted. It scared him and he wouldn’t nurse for three entire days. Crabbiness ensued and nothing would pacify him. I was afraid it was the abrupt and unexpected (i.e. I wasn’t emotionally prepared) end of our breastfeeding bond. I captured a moment of him resisting the boob. I was an emotional mess. That is probably mascara on the blanket. Ha!

Once we were settled into our new state/home, he was pushing two. What the hey, I thought, I’ll just wait until after his second birthday to initiate weaning. But by then I had read about the benefits of extended nursing for both baby and mama. What? I’m reducing the risk of developing breast cancer? I’m still boosting his brain development and resistance to illness? I’m not particularly crunchy, but that sounded like a sweet deal. 

I’m not gonna lie—I was dead tired. Constant night wakings and co-sleeping in uncomfortable positions took a toll on me. I swear I’ve aged double-time. But his nursings throughout the day gave me a break too. I enjoyed taking a moment to slow down, be present and catch up on my own rhythm (slow and deliberate).

Before I knew it we were celebrating Apollo’s third birthday. The white flag was completely thrown and I decided I’d let him decide when we’d be done. I had long stopped caring about the well-meaning, though misinformed, comments by relatives about how spoiled he was and how he was too big to be nursing. I knew I had already done what was best for both of us.

Last Sunday we were in bed and on a whim I said “Mama’s chichis are tired, and you’re getting to be such a big boy. Let’s just snuggle.” He turned around, went to sleep and that was that.

It’s been a challenging, deliriously sleep-deprived, beautiful, learning curve, but we did it together. Our bond is physical and emotional. It will always be one of the best things I’ve ever done.

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(Side note: I really wish I would have taken more photos of me nursing him.)

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