Wednesday, February 20, 2013

A Very Merry Un-Birthday

Dear Delilah,

February 20th has long been a significant day for me. It is my "half-birthday," and since I had a summer birthday, I always used my half-birthday as an opportunity to bring treats to school and celebrate. It's been a long time since I've celebrated a half-birthday (33 and a HALF just doesn't have that ring to it, y'know?) but this date has become significant for other reasons.

On this date in 2009, four whole years ago now, you were conceived. This is the date on which my beloved daughter, the daughter I'd always longed for, was created. You were so loved, from the moment we found out we were pregnant with you, and that love has grown and blossomed in ways neither your father nor I could have anticipated. There are many nights after you go to bed at night that we look through photos of you, from infancy to present day, and talk about how smart, funny, sweet, and beautiful you are, and how overcome we are by our love for you.

The significance of this date doesn't end there; last year on this date, you nursed for the last time, weaning at just over 27 months old, a few months past my breast feeding goal of 2 years. On that day, I didn't anticipate that I'd be sitting here a year later, a few weeks into my second and final breast feeding journey with your brother. In preparing for his birth, we looked at books and talked about how he would drink Mama's milk, but you didn't seem to remember having done so yourself. I had read that older children who had weaned would sometimes ask to nurse again after seeing their infant siblings eating, and i wasn't sure how I'd handle that if the time came.

Looking Very Grown Up!
February 2013
Last week, that time came. As we sat snuggled up on the couch, reading a book while your brother was eating, you asked if you could have some "boobah milk." I hesitated for a moment. I had read that often, older children just want to know that the answer is yes, but won't even attempt to nurse. Others will attempt to latch on and get frustrated, having lost the ability to do so. Still others will just gently touch or kiss the breast. As I contemplated saying "yes," I was filled with uncertainty. I wasn't sure I'd be comfortable with it if you did attempt to nurse, and I'd be lying if I said I wasn't nervous about getting bitten.

Ultimately, I said that you could try if you really wanted to, but that it might not work. You smiled and leaned in close to me, looked intently at my breast like you were trying to figure out what to do, and then finally you giggled, pulled away, and hugged me. I offered to express some milk into a cup for you to taste if you wanted, and you enthusiastically agreed. Upon tasting it, you exclaimed "yum!" taking just a small sip before putting it down and losing interest.

Since then, you've asked for milk two other times, and each time, again took just a small sip of it. It has been a few days since you asked, and in those few days, you have taken to nursing your stuffed animals and dolls when I feed Canon, and have even requested the use of my pump a couple of times!

While you don't seem to remember breast feeding yourself, I'm grateful that you have had opportunities to see other babies, including your brother, eating at their mother's breast, so that you will grow up knowing that breast feeding is a normal way to feed babies. I am so proud of the little girl you are growing into, and the way you have embraced your little brother. The transition to our new family size has not been without some challenges and growing pains, but your love for your brother is clear.




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