It’s been three years, six months, and some change since we brought Emma home from the hospital. That means it’s been three years, six months, and some change since she and I embarked on a breastfeeding journey together. A journey which has now, after three years, six months, and some change, come to a close.
It’s only been a couple of weeks now, and already I can’t remember the last time she climbed in bed beside me and asked to nurse. I know it was some time in the second week of October, but I can’t remember. I always sort of imagined I would remember.
I never intended to breastfeed a toddler. Never when Emma and I sat out to learn one another did I imagine I would practice extended breastfeeding. I thought “a year…maybe two…” and that eventually she would just stop. Which she did. Just about a year and a half later than I thought she might.
To be fair, nursing her at this point wasn’t really nursing. She was being provided no nourishment, nor is she lacking in that department. It was just…comforting for her. It was a habit. It lasted about 10 seconds first thing in the morning, before either of us were truly awake. It wasn’t a required part of our day and she was fine without it. But it was a comfort I was able to provide and so I did.
I don’t regret it. Our breastfeeding relationship lasted way, way longer than I ever dreamed, but I don’t regret it. The reasons for hanging on are many and there’s a whole ‘nother post kicking around in my brain about that.
I haven’t had the crash of hormones that comes when moms stop breastfeeding, and I don’t suspect I will. Probably because my milk supply began dwindling and drying up a while ago. (Leftie gave up the ghost nearly a year ago. Rightie just kept hanging in there, stubborn as ever.)
Believe me. I don’t miss it. I do not miss nursing a preschooler or toddler. I’m glad this chapter is over. We don’t need nursing to be connected. No one does, truth be told. Never listen to the jargon that says the only way to bond with a baby is over the breast.
Emma and I are forever connected simply by virtue of the fact that I’m her mother. I grew her inside my body and gave her life. Beyond that we’re connected by the way her birth healed me. No breast or bottle could shake that.
She’s no longer asking for “mo-mos” but she’s still as demanding of her morning snuggles as she ever was. The crook of my arm is still one of the first places she comes when trying to start her day. But it’s different now. Sort of. I think. Or maybe it isn’t.
Maybe ask me again in another six months.