Weaned

Big boy!  He can eat by himself!

Big boy! He can eat by himself!

Dear Courtney,

We crossed a major milestone in our house– I weaned Guy.  He’s growing up, and it’s really bittersweet.

You see, I love nursing.  No, I loved nursing.

I know lots of people who don’t enjoy it.  They struggle with infections and pain, with milk supply and time, but for me, nursing always clicked.  It was always easy, and with two late-term preemies, it was the ONLY thing easy.  But now I’m struggling to let it go.

There’s a part of me that’s excited; there are some big benefits to it.  As soon as I weaned, Guy Guy began sleeping through the night (major score)!  I can wear any shirt I want again– not just the ones with easy access or the ability to stretch.  My body is back to fully mine.  Yet something feels a little empty.

I remember feeling a loss when I weaned Bugaboo too, but this time it feels greater.  Maybe it’s because I didn’t work after Guy was born, so I spent more physical hours nursing him than I did Bug.   Maybe it’s because I miss the quiet, intimate moments with him snuggled close against me.   Maybe it’s because I fought so hard to nurse him in the first place; the NICU was anxious to give him formula, but I went toe to toe with neonatologist and insisted he receive nothing but breast milk in his feeding tube (a decision I’m glad I fought for!).  But most likely, I’m mourning infancy.

Barring divine intervention, Guy is our last baby.

He will be 16 months this week; he is a walking, talking, laughing, climbing, spoon using, cup drinking little boy.  I’ve given away the door jumper, the floor mat, the exersaucer, the bottles, the baby swings, the bouncy chair, the bumbo.  We’re nearly ready to take the tray off the high chair and have him eat with us at the table.  One by one the contraptions that mark infancy are falling away.

Even his fat rolls are receding; giving way to a lean toddler body.  And now he’s weaned too.

I know it’s just nostalgia.  Babies grow up; it’s not some secret of nature, but with Guy, more than with Bug, the end of every era feels deeply significant.  It represents a little piece of life I’m finished with forever.

Creating a family was my goal since childhood.  In high school I wrote a career research paper outlining the reasons I wanted to be a teacher.  My number one reason?  The schedule and hours were convenient for motherhood.

Having children was my life’s goal.  And suddenly, in a flicker, it’s done.

Clearly that’s a bit melodramatic; I mean, my kids are still very little; there’s a lot of motherhood left ahead.  But they are here.  I have had them.  That particular mission is accomplished.  And for me, over.  I’ll never again experience the euphoria of a new baby laid on my chest or nursing to sleep in my arms.  That chapter of my life is closed.

Is this letter depressing?  I’m sorry if it is, but I do feel melancholy about it.  It all just goes so fast.  Sometimes I wish there was a pause button; a way to slow it all down and savour each stage just a little longer.

Sigh.

Natalie

3 thoughts on “Weaned

  1. Sasha says:

    This really touched me! I’m in almost the same boat as you, close to fully weaning my second and most probably last child. It is such an emotional process being a mom, exciting and wonderful and yet heartbreaking at the same time. I am so glad to find a fellow sappy mom! 🙂

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