I consider myself a very lucky mama in the sense that breastfeeding each of my babies came very easily and naturally. Of course, there was the occasional hitch, but nothing that required outside help or even much adjustment. On the contrary, it seemed that most of my problems came from being a little too good at the job: none of my babies ever took to a bottle (despite following all the “rules” about introducing one early on), making it difficult to leave them for more than a few hours at a time. But as my days of breastfeeding dwindle, I can honestly say that I would not have done it differently. The time flew by, and having a baby attached to my hip (or within my belly) for the better part of the past 6 years has been nothing short of amazing.
I chose to breastfeed on demand, often offering the breast as much for comfort as for nourishment. With each baby, nightly wake-ups were many. Nursing to sleep was common, and I often had a baby in bed with me, curled to my chest, breath warm against my skin. Andrew was kicked out of his own bed more times than he probably would have liked, poor guy. But it flew by, really it did.
Emil is 16 months and down to breastfeeding about twice a day. Trust me, if it were up to him, he would still be nursing every hour! But leading up to my surgery, Andrew and I discussed that the best plan would be to wean or nearly wean him so that others could help in his care, and I could rest and recuperate properly.
I had originally planned to nurse Emil all the way until his second birthday, but the surgery made me reconsider (doctors said I would need to refrain from breastfeeding for 24 hours after the surgery to avoid passing on any unpleasant drugs from anesthesia). So, plans change and I am happy with the experience. There is, of course, a part of me that is mourning this stage coming to an end. It has been such a wonderful way to be close and establish trust. So yes, I will miss breastfeeding. But Emil is also showing me that he is ready for the next stage. Just recently, in the middle of the night, after I gently told him “No more milkie. It’s time to go to sleep,” he cupped my face in his little hands, leaned in, and gave me the biggest, loudest smooch right on my mouth. Then he leaned toward his crib and let me tuck him in without the slightest objection.
Yes, I think hugs and kisses will do the trick.
P.S.- Thanks for your kind words– I’m still feeling pretty sore, but hopefully after a restful weekend I will be closer to normal. Happy Friday!