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I’ve breastfed my daughter for 14 months now, and plan to continue as long and she and I both feel comfortable. It was difficult in the beginning when we were both learning how to do it, and I ended up pumping to establish my supply because she was a little bit of a sleepy nurser. That was tough. I grew so delirious from the pumping and nursing that I became convinced I heard voices in the rhythmic undulations of my Medela Pump In Style. I guess I’m just lucky they never commanded me to, for example, kill the Queen. That said, once breastfeeding took off, it really took off. I’ve loved it since about, oh, three months in, and hope to do it again with my next child.
In the meantime, this baby is growing up, much as I hate to admit it sometimes. She doesn’t so much nurse for nutrients anymore; she nurses mostly for comfort. But lately I’ve been noticing that she doesn’t nurse as much. It used to be the first thing she did when I picked her up after work, but some days, she beelines to her animal safari puzzle instead of my lap. The first time this happened, my instinct was to touch my shirt and ask her if she wanted to nurse, but I stopped myself. It’s in her hands now. I won’t refuse her, but I’m no longer offering.
Last night, I nursed her to sleep and then rocked her as she lay dozing and content in my arms. I thought about those 3:30am pumping sessions when she was two months old, and how, at the time, I missed life without breastfeeding. Now the thoughts of weaning her make me cry. When the time is right, I will do it, because it’s part of my job as her mother to never let my own hang-ups interfere with her development. And I sure am damn proud of how much she’s grown. But I won’t pretend it’s easy.
Sure, there have been times when I haven’t enjoyed nursing. I just wanted my body to be mine alone. I just wanted to relax on the couch with a book for 10 minutes. I just wanted to be able to eat dinner without worrying about dripping marinara sauce on my baby’s head.
But nowadays as I sit, nursing and rocking my baby, on these warm spring nights, knowing these nights are numbered, I try to hold on to every second. Because it all goes by so fast, so fast. Too fast.