Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Winding Down

The end is finally near!  The end of nursing my first baby that is.  I remember before I even had Addy that I was determined to breastfeed, and I set a goal of six months for myself.  That seemed like an awfully long time.  Especially with all of the difficulties we had at the beginning.  I kept telling myself, "Just six months of your life.  You can do it."  There were so many tears and so much frustration when Addy was a newborn, that I wanted to quit, but was too stubborn to do so.  I had set a goal for myself and I was going to accomplish it, come hell or high water.  So we pushed on... through lactation appointments, and pain, and feeling like my body was not my own.  I hated it, and I hated that I hated it.  I heard all of these stories about how beautiful and bonding nursing is, and I'll tell you, I was not feeling those things.  The first two months of Addy's life were by far the hardest for me in that respect.

But slowly, as the months went by, nursing my baby became less of an all consuming thing in my life, and I truly didn't mind it any more.  I couldn't tell you when this happened, all I know is that when it did I thought, "Six months?  I might as well continue for a year and then I'll never have to buy formula."

So we plugged along, past the six month mark, heading toward a year.  And now I feel like I blinked my eyes and here we are.  Addy will be a year old in less than two weeks!  And she never had a drop of formula.  I'd be lying if I said I wasn't proud of that.  It was not an easy road.... in fact it was probably the hardest thing I've ever done, but I did it!  And those long, frustrating days in the beginning are becoming more and more blurry in my mind.

Once Addy started eating solids and I was slowly weaning her off of nursing, my life (obviously) became so much easier.  I remember once I had her down to just four times a day I thought, "This is easy.  I could do this for a long time."  And then we went down to three, and on Christmas, two times a day.  Only when she woke up and before she went to sleep at night.  Now that wean was by far the most life changing for me.  Just morning and night?  Nothing during the day?  That meant I could go out all day if I wanted to!  Something I haven't done since before Addy was born.  I felt like myself again and I loved it! 

I truly could have continued nursing her morning and night for longer than this, but Mike and I are going to Ireland for five days at the end of February, and that is my set date for having Addy completely weaned.  She will be just about 13 months old at that point.  No sense in having her be a week without it and then start it back up again. 

So two nights ago I cut out the before bed nursing session.  I was so excited as we were nearing bedtime.  Mike gives Addy her baths, but then I was always the one to take over from there and nurse her and then put her to bed.  There was never one night that I was home (not working) that I didn't put Addy to bed.  I thought,"Wow, once he takes her up for her bath, that's it for me!  I'm done for the night!"  But then as I was cleaning up the dishes and Mike was getting Addy ready for bed I started feeling twinges of sadness.  It's an overwhelming feeling, knowing that your nursing relationship with your baby is almost over.  Meaning your "baby" will no longer be a baby. 

So instead of taking the time for myself and relaxing while Mike put Addy to bed, I found myself upstairs standing secretly in the doorway watching and listening.  Hoping that she wouldn't cry, because that would make this process so much harder.  The first night we tried giving Addy whole milk in a cup before bed, but she didn't drink much, so last night we thawed one of my frozen bottles and gave her that (which she did drink).  I have about 7 more frozen bottles, so the plan is to mix it with more and more whole milk every night, until she is just drinking whole milk.  We'll see how it goes.

But there I was, standing outside the door watching as my baby girl no longer "needed" me to go to sleep.  It was both a happy and a sad moment. 

Mike gave her a bath, gave her a cup of milk, read her a book, and put her to bed.  And she was fine.  No crying, no emotional turmoil.  Right to sleep.  Thank goodness.  But I think the real test will be when I have to put her to bed without nursing  her.  Which might happen tonight depending on what time Mike gets home.  Addy is used to going to sleep without nursing when I am at work, but when I am home and putting her to bed myself?  I don't know how easy that will be.  I'm gonna cross my fingers and hope for the best!

1 comment:

  1. I hope it goes well for you tonight! I'm proud of you!