So it looks like we’re winding down our breastfeeding relationship. Which is good. I think. I mean, right? This is what I want, isn’t it? She’s almost 17 months old. Old enough that I personally don’t feel comfortable feeding her in public and haven’t for around 6 months or so. Which is not say I have anything against extended breastfeeding, but I certainly have found my own comfort threshold with it. Eloise and I are starting our first step to growing apart as individuals. And while I will forever and always be Eloise’s mother - a permanent stamp on my identity, Eloise will become more and more Eloise, plain and simple (though far from plain and far from simple is she).
I can now get her to nap and sleep without nursing. A feat I have tried for near on 7 months off and on with no luck. Finally this last week, Eloise and I were ready. I had more resolve to stick it out and she no longer felt this was a battle worth fighting against so hard. So she signed for milk and I calmly gave her a beaker of cow’s milk instead. And I rocked her in my arms and she kicked and screamed and pointed at the old chair we usually nurse in, but I rocked and shushed and patted and after 10 minutes she laid her cheek against mine and started to fall asleep. And the next day it was 5 minutes of screaming. And that night. That night I held her and rocked her for maybe 30 seconds and she indicated that she wanted to be put down in her bed, so I did, and she curled into a ball, butt in the air, and I put the blanket on her, patted her back and left the room.
We are now embarking on day 5 of not nursing and there have unfortunately been many a moment at 1:12am, at 2:29am, at 4:38am that tears have sprung to my eyes while Eloise wailed and thrashed - because of teething, because of a cold, because of a tummy ache, because she likes a good challenge - and I thought I should just give in and sit in that chair and nurse her. But we both need to learn how to calm and be calmed by other means than my milk - and while cutting 2 molars without being able to nurse her through the discomfort has been a baptism of fire, we have stuck through it and she has woken every morning, happy and cheerful and slightly more independent to two very tired parents.
Will I be able to stay as strong tonight if she does the same thing? If she wakes up 4 times and takes a good HOUR to get back to sleep each time? I don’t know. I’m tired. I honestly don’t know. But I do know that Eloise and I are growing up. And I’m a little sad and a lot relieved. Because do you know what stopping to nurse means? It means that I can drink as much sparkling water as I want without it upsetting Eloise’s stomach. It means that I can wear bras that don’t pretend to hold my boobs up by flimsy Lego snaps. IT MEANS THAT I CAN DRINK DURING THE DAY
AGAIN. IF I FEEL LIKE IT. IF I AM NOT NAPPING.