The end of an era.

This post was originally started in August 2014, but I never got around to finishing it. In an effort to restart this blog, I’m resurrecting some old/half-finished content.

Yesterday, Theo turned 16 months old. And this morning I nursed him for the last time. I’m sure most of our friends and family are thinking, “it’s about time!” but I’m sad about it.

It’s funny, I never saw myself as an “extended breastfeeder” – a term used to describe those who go past a year. I knew before I was even pregnant that I wanted to breastfeed, and I had hoped to make it to a year, but I never thought I’d go past that. A year always felt like an ambitious goal – and God knows we had our share of hurdles to overcome in the beginning – but once we got into a routine, nursing became something that just felt natural and even easy. I loved the bonding aspect and the fact that I never had to remember to take bottles with us when we were out and about. We never once gave him formula, which I’m sure saved us tons of money. And the emotional benefits were really great too. Anyone who knows Theo knows he is a kid who does not sit still. Like ever. But the nightly nurse and snuggle before bed became our special time, and it was something I cherished and would look forward to after a long day at work.

I happily gave up pumping at a year. Good lord, I hated pumping at work. But he still seemed like such a baby to me, so I figured there was no reason to give up nursing him while we were together, as long as my supply would hold up. It did, so we just kept going. Along the way we’ve dropped nursing during the day, and for about a month now we’ve just been nursing first thing in the morning and at bedtime. And even the morning session was sporadic. That basically came down to when he woke up. If he woke up before I was ready to get up, I would pull him into bed to sleep-nurse and he’d usually let me get another hour or two of sleep (which was amazing on the weekends!). During the week, if I woke up for work before he was up, I’d let him sleep and we didn’t nurse before dropping him off at daycare.

***June 2015 addendum***

Those last 4 months – between a year and 16 months – were the best part of nursing. Unlike in the beginning when I was uncomfortable and worried about things like supply and whether he was eating enough, this period was just… easy. It was like extra credit at this point. I had already reached my goal of a year. I was nursing because we both still enjoyed it; not because he had to eat. And if my supply dropped and I had to give it up, it was no big deal. No pressure. To be honest, the only reason I stopped when I did was because I had a five-day work trip and there was no way I was bringing the pump. I knew five days without nursing or pumping would be the end of my supply — and I was (mostly) fine with that.

Okay, I’ll be honest, I cried, hard, through that last session the night before my flight — watching him peacefully drift off to sleep, snuggled up against me, knowing it was the last time. But at the end of the day I can only be happy that we had that time, as I know a lot of women aren’t able to breastfeed as long as they’d like to, and at one point I wasn’t sure if I would be able to either. But babies have to grow up sometime, don’t they?

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