Tuesday, January 31, 2012


Dear Delilah,

First Latch-in the Recovery Room
I've written before about my desire to allow you to wean in your own time. Lately, this is a decision I've been struggling with. While I still feel strongly about child-led weaning, I also feel strongly that a nursing relationship should last only as long as it is mutually desired by mother and child. That's the part I'm struggling with. I'm not sure how much longer I'll desire it. This brings up a lot of feelings in me, and most of them aren't good feelings.

I've been mostly following the "don't offer, don't refuse" rule, which some say is a form of mother-led weaning. Perhaps that's so, but I've been comfortable with it, as it means I'm not denying you my milk when you ask for it, and it's become very predictable when you'll ask for it. With the exception of times of illness or distress, you mostly nurse right when you wake up in the morning, before nap time if I'm home, and before bed. You usually nurse only for a minute or two. Still, even with the limited amount of nursing that you do, I'm starting to feel...done.

Delilah Nursing-3 Months Old
I've been looking forward to, even hoping and wishing for, the first time you didn't ask to nurse at one of your "regular" times. Sunday night, it happened. Your father and I tucked you in as usual and sat down on your bed to say goodnight and tell you that we love you. That's the point at which you usually start signing and asking for milk, and I nurse you for a few minutes before saying "Goodnight." Sunday night, there was no signing, no mention of milk. You blew me a kiss and said "nuh-night!" I kissed you and left the room before you could change your mind. When I left I heard you start crying softly over the baby monitor. I listened for your soft cries to escalate, or for you to ask for milk, but you didn't. You just settled down on your own and drifted to sleep.

When you woke up in the middle of the night, a rare occurrence these days, your father went in to change your diaper. No crying for mama, no asking for milk, you just rolled right over and went back to sleep.

Yesterday morning when you started to stir, I went into your room, expecting to be greeted with enthusiastic signing and requests for milk, as I usually am. No such greeting. You smiled and said "Hi!" then "Up! Eat!" I hugged and kissed you, changed your diaper, and still no requests for milk, so we made our way downstairs and ate breakfast together.
10 Months Old

As I thought to myself that this might be the beginning of the end, I once again found myself feeling conflicted. I do want to be done. I want you to be ready to be done. It's been nearly three years since you were conceived. That's nearly three years that my body has been dedicated to your growth and nourishment. There's a reasonable chance that by the end of this year, it will be dedicated to the growth and nourishment of your little brother or sister. Maybe it's selfish of me, but I want it back to myself for a little while first. For a long time, I thought I'd nurse through pregnancy and even tandem nurse, but as that possibility becomes more real, I don't think I'm cut out for it.

Even so, the idea that you might be done nursing soon is bittersweet. While I'm looking forward to moving on, I'll miss the special bond we've had through nursing. I'll miss the way you gently pat my chest. The way you look up at me with pure love in your eyes. The way you smile and say "Mmmmmm!" as if my milk is the most delicious thing you've ever tasted. The way I could magically make everything better with "boobah".

2 Years Old
Weaning is the beginning of an end (and an end of a beginning!) but it's also a new beginning. We will find new, special ways to bond. You will still look at me lovingly. I'll find new ways to magically make everything all better. Who knows how long this will take? Maybe you'll nurse for a few more days. Maybe it will be a few more weeks. Maybe months. Knowing that the end is probably near, I will be mindful to be present each time you nurse, and take snapshots in my mind of those special moments to tuck away in my memory and cherish forever.I will always treasure this time. I will always be proud that I nursed you into your third year of life. I will always be grateful to you for being my partner in our special nursing relationship, a relationship that healed me and helped me overcome feelings of inadequacy after your cesarean birth.

When we tucked you in last night, tears started to well up in my eyes as I wondered if you'd ask for milk. Throughout the day, I was thinking about Sunday morning, the last time you'd nursed. I decided that, if that was indeed the last time you would nurse, I was at peace with it. Sunday mornings are my favorite part of the week; me, you, and Daddy snuggling and sleeping in a bit together, warm and cozy in bed with nowhere to rush off to. You progress from nursing, to patting Daddy's back, to trying to rouse us by pulling back the curtain to let in the light and starting your "Hi! Up! Eat!" refrain.

Miss Independent

As it turned out, that wasn't the last time you'd nurse. Tucking you in last night, fighting back those tears, I let out a small sigh of relief when I noticed your hand opening and closing in that familiar sign: milk. This time, I lingered a bit longer, cuddling you and kissing your sweet head, knowing that before too long, mama's milk will be but a distant fond memory for you, one that some day, you'll likely forget altogether. That's alright though, I've got enough fond memories for both of us.



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  1. Lovely! A good reminder for me to put down the iPad & be present while my 18 month old nurses.

    1. Absolutely! I remember when I always used to nurse Delilah on the couch with my laptop in front of me. Now that we pretty much only nurse while laying down in bed together, it's must easier to stay present in the moment. :)

  2. I just weaned my 18 month old little girl and it has been so hard for me. I wrote about it on my blog as well and gave my thoughts and advice. You have to follow your heart.

    1. I just read your post, great advice, and I'm glad it's going smoothly for you! Since I wrote this, she has been nursing just as much as usual, so perhaps we aren't quite there yet. Time will tell!

  3. I just found your blog and have just read a few entries, but so far I'm really enjoying it. (I also love the name Delilah). This is such a sweet post. Although I hope we are far off from weaning (my son is only 8.5 months old), I can see having these same feelings. Nursing can be so hard and uncomfortable, but I love these moments with my son. His loving gaze, the way he plays with my hair and grabs my fingers. I'm sure I am also going to be conflicted when this time comes and I hope we can nurse as long as you are! Best of luck to you. I look forward to reading more of your posts!


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