I think tonight is the last night I’ll nurse my baby to sleep…

Tonight, as I lay in bed nursing Sophia, her warm body snuggled next to me, she happily drank my milk without any idea these times are coming to an end. I kissed her hair and breathed in the smell of her sweet, sweaty little head.

I was so overwhelmed with emotions that I worried I’d have a panic attack.

I am so thankful to have both my girls, but so sad that my time with them as babies is ending. Sophia is almost twenty months old and weaning her feels like such an ending.

I am fortunate to have been able to nurse Julia for 25 months and Sophia for 20 months, so perhaps I sound spoiled when I say I’m sad.

But what feels so strange is that, despite how sad I am, I can’t cry… my anxiety medication plugs up my tear ducts. I suppose it’s a good thing that I’m not sitting here a blubbering mess, but it actually hurts that I can’t even really ‘feel’ how sad I am. It really is bizarre… for those of you who’ve never experienced muted emotions because of depression or anxiety medication, just take a moment to be thankful that you can taste your happiness and sadness. My mouth is dry.

So why am I weaning you ask?

Because the cost of toting my tots and a babysitter with me to conferences is no longer in the budget. Last year Janice and I broke the bank to bring our nursing babies to BlogHer and to other conferences we attended. Janice weaned Olivia several months ago because of recurring mastitis and has been doing most of our traveling while I stay home and nurse Sophia.

But BlogHer 09 is creeping up and a week later is StomperNet. I cannot afford to bring my girls with me.

When I bought my BlogHer 09 ticket, it seemed so far away and was easy to say, “Of course I’ll wean by then.” But the saying was much easier than the doing.

I’ve been slowly reducing the number of times per day she nurses, but ending it all will still be a shock to us both.

A friend suggested that I don’t wean, that Sophia will still remember how to nurse when I return. But I can’t bear to leave her to try to fall asleep without her nightly nurses. To know that while I’m away she’s frantically signing to nurse. The thought sends panic through me.

So I think that what is best for Sophia is for me to wean her. (Well, I guess what would be BEST, would be for me not to go to the conferences… but tickets have been bought and I must go.)

I’m going to try to keep telling myself that she was able to nurse for 20 months and that she’ll be okay. I’ll be okay. We’ll be okay. But I’m not easy to convince.


Comments

  1. says

    I know the feeling! While my first son only nursed 7 months, I weaned my second at 30 months, but only because I was pregnant. I think if I wasn’t, I probably would have nursed him even longer!!

    Cuddles are almost as good, though, right?

  2. says

    I know how hard it is to finally give up that precious experience, and my heart goes out to you. I ALSO know what it is like to have “muted emotions” (love how you phrased that) because of anxiety medication. I am going through that exact same thing right now. I can’t remember the last time I cried, and sometimes I even try to make myself cry just to prove that I still can, and it doesn’t work. It’s very disturbing. In fact, I’m looking to cut back on my medication just so I can experience a little more “raw” emotion. I’m sorry you’re going through the same thing, but it’s nice to know that someone else totally understands how I feel. I wish you the best of luck, Susan!

  3. says

    oh Susan, I so understand. I haven’t been able to wean my Olivia yet BECAUSE of those emotions… although I too am on meds. It does feel final and it is tough. It is coming time for us too though.

  4. says

    Huge hugs to you. I understand fully what you mean by muted emotions. I am still breastfeeding (my baby is 6 months old) but your post made me so sad to think about the future. Honestly, I am hoping she weans on her own.

    You will get through this and so will your precious little girl. Offer lots of hugs and kisses and she will be okay.

    I will be thinking about you both.

  5. says

    I had a similar experience. I nursed my oldest daughter for 23 months, and my youngest son for 21 months. It was so difficult to make that decision to stop. With my first it was easy–I got pregnant. With my last, I knew I’d never nurse again, and my heart ached. I loved nursing my kids.

  6. says

    I didn’t nurse my girls so, I can’t be in touch with that emotion. However, I do know what it feels like to move from one phase of their lives to another. It is natual and we all know that but it doesn’t make it any easier. I have compassion for you in your time.

  7. says

    OH man…..you are drumming up some raw emotions in me!

    I guess I can only remind you of this saying I have on my fridge

    “Don’t be sad that it is over,…..be happy that it happened”

    Peace~
    *~Michelle~*

  8. says

    Thanks for the post! I love nursing and it was hard for me to wean my daughter at 14 months but had to because I was pregnant and high risk. I still miss that closeness and it was so hard for her – I felt so bad. But she has easily adjusted and still loves mommy best :-) Just have those cuddle times still – you’ll make it. I’ll be thinking of you during this time.

  9. says

    Thanks for what you said about the muted emotions. I was on Paxil for a long time, and people don’t understand how it is both good and bad. When I went off the medicine, I cried nonstop for about 3 months!!

    I have a 7-month-old, and the nursing relationship is so precious. I am sad for you, but I am sure there are also great benefits to having your body to yourself!

  10. says

    I nursed my daughter until she was 20 months old (until one morning when she almost bit my nipples off). It was hard at first but we were ok after a week. You can still snuggle and comfort her at night. I wish you won’t have painful breasts and fever when you do that (I did).

    Twenty months is enough. When she grows up, she’ll be grateful for the long nursing time you gave. Good luck Susan and Sophia!

  11. monica says

    (((( Hugs)))) I also had to stop nursing my little girl at 24 months. It was hard on us both. I missed the cuddles and her falling to sleep while nursing.

  12. says

    My meds wont let me cry for you but Im crying inside,I remember the last times with all my kids and knowing that closeness and special bond will have to come a dif.way.hug her,hold her and remember.

  13. says

    wow. props to you for nursing so long. personally, for me, nursing is just feeding my babe. i always heard that weaning a baby was so emotional, but for me, it wasn’t. i guess b/c i work full-time and i HATE pumping, but that’s great and sweet that you have that special bond with your kiddos for so long!!! i couldn’t imagine!! way to go!!! let us know how it all ends!

  14. says

    This made me tear up.
    I weaned my 2nd around the same time, and it went much better than I expected. I relied on my dh’s help. It was harder for me than him, no doubt.

    Good for you for nursing so long. You will enjoy those new ways of bonding. :)
    You’ll be in my thoughts & prayers! Hang in there.

  15. says

    Oh, hugs to you! I vividly remember the last time I nursed my son and I DID cry…all over his head! It’s such a special time and a special thing we do for our babies and it is sad when that time comes to an end. Kudos to you for nursing both your girls for so long!

  16. says

    I feel so sad for you!!! My one-year-old weaned herself about three weeks ago and it about killed me, especially since she is my last baby. :-(

  17. says

    I got so sad reading this post. I had to stop nursing my son at about 5 months. I was already back at work and between trying to pump, and not actually nursing, my supply got really low. Then he caught a cold and couldn’t breath so he wouldn’t nurse. I dried up immediately. I am still sad to this day, he 10 months old. I so enjoyed nursing.

  18. Shannon says

    You have so many, many, many special times to look forward to. This seems so devastating right now, because it is happening now. I have four children, 10, 7, 4, and a just weaned 16 month old. Count your blessings and get ready for the next adventures with your toddlers.

  19. says

    You absolutely touched my heart (and I cried for both of us) with this post. My hope is that this will be good timing for both of you and the transition will be smooth. Not easy, just smooth. (((big hugs)))

  20. says

    How lucky that you were able to feed her this long, she will be one healthy girl. I dried up after the 4th month with all three of my kids.
    I had the same sadness when I weaned off my last child, because I knew she was my last. You’re right about not being able to cry but rather a deeper feeling of seperation and anxiety.

  21. says

    My baby is only nine months and I can see she is weaning down the number of times per day she nurses. Only to sleep now. But I am sure we have awhile before those go. I am sure it will be sad but we will be okay. And so will you. And so will Sophia. Sending you warm thoughts and hugs.

  22. says

    I never thought I would be a woman who would enjoy nursing or miss it when I was done. I nursed for 13 months, and that picture makes me so homesick for nursing! Weaning must happen sometime, though, right? It seems like this is the right time for you, so you’ll be ok!

  23. says

    I never thought I would be a woman who would enjoy nursing or miss it when I was done. I nursed for 13 months, and that picture makes me so homesick for nursing! Weaning must happen sometime, though, right? It seems like this is the right time for you, so you’ll be ok!

  24. says

    Aww… you made me choke up too! My baby is 1 next week and while he shows no signs of giving up his nursing I know that day will come and I’ll miss that special mommy/son time we have together!

  25. says

    Sigh…us moms go through so many of these growing stages…there is a bittersweet feeling as we go through each – joy that our kids are growing normally, healthy and strong, but a lost for us in missing that period of life.
    My son just graduated from college, not unlike weaning a baby…

    The most we can do is to enjoy each moment of whatever stage you’re in.

  26. says

    I think it’s great that you were able to nurse her that long. With my son I could only nurse for 3 months and I dried up. I pumped, I nursed him, I drank special tea…less than 1/2 a mL in a half hour via pumping out of both breasts. It was hard and it made me feel like less of a woman and mother. *hugs* You can do it.

  27. says

    I was sad when My Izzie weaned at 23 months in Feb. She weaned herself and I don’t think I was ready.

    Thankfully, the new baby will be here soon and I’ll be back to nursing.

  28. says

    HUgs! It brought back the sadness I experienced when my daughter weaned. She is my 2nd and last. While I am happy I am no longer nursing…I really miss the interaction that goes along with it. Hugs.

  29. says

    I had a similar feeling when weaning my third child… I still feel nostalgic about it. I also know exactly what you feel about the meds kind of numbing the feelings. I can’t remember what was bothering me the other day, but I could feel the sadness without the emotion. Sometimes it’s very helpful not to give into that and other times it is frustrating.

    Both you and Sophia will adjust. It may be a little rocky in the beginning, but it will turn out great. You’re such a wonderful and loving mommy. Enjoy the conference and, dare I say it, the new freedom.

  30. Melissa O. says

    My baby boy is almost 15 months and I can’t imagine weaning him yet. I feel like it would be too hard for him to give up (maybe harder for me). Even worse is I am going to Paris for 3 days in September and he will only be 17 months. I fear leaving him in general not to mention without his boobie for so long and I fear for my sore breasts although I will be pumping like a madwoman!

  31. says

    You know, it’s a funny thing. I weaned my baby girl last year when she was 21 months old “in preparation” for BlogHer too (http://metropolitanmama.net/2008/07/i-cried-the-day-i-bought-my-plane-ticket-for-blogher/)…so I empathize with you. Weaning is so bittersweet.

    But don’t worry – that beautiful bond between you will stay strong. You’ll still be close…just in a new way. But I know that you already know that…you’ve done this once before.

    Sending hugs your way,
    Stephanie

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