It's been over 48 hours, and I'm calling it: after 1,367 days, my milkies are officially retired.
I was afraid we wouldn't make it past the first 3 weeks, but we survived thrush, teething, night feedings... And then there was a new baby - learning to nurse a newborn while in the same room with her still-nursing sister. Learning why God gave us two?
3 years 8 months and 26 days of interrupted nights so I could nourish and comfort and bond with my babies. Countless sour looks and tilted heads when I answered "Yes, we're still nursing" as the weeks and months and years ticked by...as if I were doing something wrong, something unnatural. The early days when it was ridiculous for me to not be giving them bottles full of rice cereal at 3 months, completely wrong for me to not feed them purees from jars at 4 months, just weird for me to give them whole pieces of banana and avocado at 6 months...I've been feeding them all wrong from the get go. "Just give them a bottle, it'll be easier." "They'll sleep better if you'll stop breastfeeding and give them a bottle with cereal." "They're too old to still be nursing, Natalie."
I did what I thought was the best. I do every day. I wake up every day and make the best choices I can in the hopes that I'm making a good start, a good life for them. It's been time to end this, but I needed, for myself and for Cora, to make it to Cora's second birthday. I also had to find a way to cut them off near that date without it becoming "Cora turned 2 and the milkies went away," because Geneva is serious about her milkies and I could honestly see that becoming a therapy talking-point in her later years if I screwed this up. We've been talking for a few months about how milkies are only for little babies, and when babies grow bigger, the milkies dry up and go way. So when we were driving home Wednesday evening, and I told them that the milkies were almost all gone, they didn't freak out. That night, we nursed before bed as usual, and I told them that was the last time. The next morning, they asked, but didn't fight me when I gently told them no and redirected them. Same at bedtime last night, and again this morning. I was out tonight when they went to bed, but G was still awake when I got home - she asked me to lay with her, but didn't ask for milkies. This is a huge positive and it makes my heart so happy - I've dreaded and delayed this because of my fear of how the transition would go. Once again, my kids are better than I give them credit for - they understand when we talk to them, and if we don't give them room for argument, they don't argue. Well. Sometimes.
This has been such a huge part of my life for so long; I'm sad that it's over, but only because it's always sad for me when chapters close. It's exciting too - maybe now the girls will start sleeping through the night and we can get some actual sleep and not be zombies all the time! But also, the girls are growing up, and that's so exciting - they're such neat little people, and I just love watching them turn into the awesome people they're going to be. And I'll always be so grateful and proud of my amazing body - I didn't just grow them inside me and bring them into this world, I nourished them and kept them alive, too. That's miraculous. I got to be an active part in two miracles. That's a pretty good feeling.
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Please don't make me cry.