When I first started nursing Nolie I didn’t have any real time frame in mind, no date for it to end. Or, no date to “make it to” I just nursed. My Mom nursed me till I was four so the idea of “extended breastfeeding” never freaked me out or made me uncomfortable. And best of all, for Nolie and me, nursing just clicked. There wasn’t intense pain or horrible engorgement, her latch was prefect, no weirdness or naysayers about feeding her in public or uncovered. I was only met with support, encouragement and growth on the part of my baby and a huge happy hormone release every time I did it.
It wasn’t until she was around a year that the idea that we should stop had ever been introduced. We took her for her one year doctor visit and at a slim weight the doctor encouraged I wean her and switch her to formula. . . I was shocked. Why would anyone encourage me to quit a full year before the American Board of Pediatrics and the World Health Organization advised us to nurse to? Why would I switch her from milk that had agreed with her body, grown it well and is specially designed for her to something completely foreign? We resisted, researched and found a new doctor, one who was supportive and caring. Nolie flourished, grew at her own rate and is still as healthy as can be (never been really sick, at all).
Now, coming up on that two year recommendation and blowing through this pregnancy like wildfire I am starting to think about the end. Or at least the slowing down. We night weaned a few weeks ago and it went like a dream. The combination of her being ready (she wasn’t the last time we tried and it was pure horror) and my milk dwindling for a week or so created the perfect situation to night wean. I am so glad we didn’t do it any earlier and I am so (SO) thankful for the glimpses of sleeping through the night that we are having now. However, along with the dwindling milk supply that pregnancy has brought, Nolie has taken to nursing for as long as I will let her during the day. I have started to say “no” to her (for, pretty much, the first time) when she asks and she is responding really amicably to it. We have gone from 8 nurses a day down to 4 and sometimes 3.
She is growing up and big and I am in awe of how much she has changed in her ability to understand. I hope that she keeps these few nurses throughout the pregnancy and then some (we are hoping to be able to tandem nurse) but I am starting to see her slowing down with nursing and gaining more autonomy and desire to be off of me. There is no doubt that nursing a toddler comes with a lot of struggles but the payoff, for us, has been so huge that I can’t imagine ending this relationship prematurely.