When did this happen?
One year and 22 days.
That’s how long I’ve been submerged in the world of breastfeeding. I had big, huge plans on when and how I would wean Brynna from the boob to bottle or sippy cup. I pictured nights of endless crying on all our ends as Brynna would be crying for her comfort; I’d be crying from frustration and guilt, and Alex because he had to deal with an angry baby, sad wife, and lack of sleep.
I intended to start scaling back from one afternoon and one night feeding a day to just one feeding before bedtime. It was going to be difficult but I was ready for it. No matter how cute the pout or heartbreaking the cries, I was ready to stand strong.
Then Brynna turned one and all those plans fell through as many of my elaborate plans tend to do these days. (Remember my last post? The one where I vowed to carve pumpkins? Brynna almost ate a pumpkin seed then freaked out when I snatched it away. The end of pumpkin carving.)
On Saturday, Brynna simply stopped asking for it (Chi Chi or Chi Cha as she’s come to call it) both throughout the day and most surprising at night. Alex and I contemplated the next step:
“Should we see if she wants Ch-,”
“Don’t say it!”
So we ignored the evening nighttime ritual and gave her a bottle of 2 percent milk instead.
The same thing happened on Sunday.
What the heck? Wasn’t this supposed to be a drawn out battle with me on one side pushing independence on my 1-year-old daughter and her fighting back, refusing to give up her reliance on me?
I guess not.
It’s only been a few days but I already miss it. And I never never thought I would say that. I don’t care what the parenting books say: Nursing is effing hard. Forget the fact that you’re exhausted, sore and still recovering from the memory of contractions and pregnancy, but the pressure to constantly be pumping out milk is incredibly stressful. At least it was for me. Some moms enjoy nursing from the get go but I’m positive there are those of us out there who took a while to warm up to it.
The beginning was the toughest for me since Brynna had some difficulties latching on the correct way. Who knew the importance of a “proper latch?” I remember asking (okay, crying and begging) Alex to order packs and packs of those cooling pads from Amazon after having a particularly rough night when Brynna was feeding every 2 hours. He was instructed to order as many as possible and get next day delivery. No matter what the charge
I cried a lot those first two weeks when I learned how sensitive nippl es really are, how strong a newborn’s jaw really is and the importance or correct positioning.
Then there was the constant worrying if the baby was getting enough milk. Was I producing enough? Was I starving my baby? Although the doctor said everything was fine, I worried that I was lacking in the milk supply department. So, I did everything the blogs and parent forums recommended to do to help up the supply. Oh Mother’s Milk and Fenugreek, how I miss you. NOT.
Oh and don’t forget the wonderful feeling of engorged breasts. This was particularly fun once I went back to work where meetings, calls and interviews had to be scheduled around pumping. I still remember the first time I covered a ridiculously long council meeting and spent the majority of the time worrying that either, a) milk would seep through my shirt and everyone, everyone would know I was a nursing mother or b) I’d explode. Both embarrassing end results.
But like all things parenting, I got used to it. Nursing became second nature. I learned Brynna’s schedule, she learned how to latch (thank gawd!), I learned how to nurse discreetly in public, and she learned to take a bottle.
I actually enjoyed coming home to a daughter who reached for me – or rather my shirt collar – and asked for chi cha. We spent at least 30 minutes together snuggling on the couch before I even had time to change from work clothes to PJS. (Yes I come home and put on sweats. Don’t judge me) It was our routine. Our special time together.
And I admit it was nice feeling a little superior to others in that I was her comfort. Boy was I wrong.
So while I’m glad that my daughter is growing up and gaining more independence in subtle ways, I’m also a little heartbroken. It was so easy. So quick and painless.
It was only this past weekend that I realized how much I loved nursing my daughter.
I thought she’d be the one shedding tears during this milestone.
But it’s not her tears that I’ve been wiping away.