A letter about nursing.

I've been meaning to write this for months, but life keeps getting in the way. My sweet Miss Hadi, you stopped nursing back in January- you were 2 years and 4 months. If i'm being honest, part of me thought you would never give it up, and I would have kept right on going. You, my dear, loved nursing. And even now, 7 months later, you still like to compliment me on my "ah-see-na-night's."

Nursing you was such a joy and a blessing almost the entire way through. We started out rough - lots of cracks and bleeds and pain on my part. But thankfully after that first month those things went away. There was also the 6 month period where you demanded I give up all forms of dairy and chocolate. So, I have that to hold against you later on down the road.. Besides that, we were blessed. More than enough supply (too much at times), no biting problems, no latch issues. When you were hungry, we ate, and it was usually as simple as that. Watching your legs and arms and chin get more rolls by the day was so gratifying and exciting. You and I were doing that together! My body was giving that to you and you were thriving from it. Talk about being blessed.

And then slowly you starting eating solid food more, and little by little different nursing times were cut out or forgotten. But you held strong to morning and night time and it didn't look like you would ever give it up. Around 18 months, as a last attempt at getting you to sleep through the night (yah, EIGHTEEN MONTHS), we dropped nursing before bed and replaced it with your "juice na-night" (keifer/water sippy) and you went a long with it better than I thought you would.

That still left us with nursing once a day - in the morning. Something that we both looked forward to. This is where I really noticed how awesome it was to nurse a toddler. In public conversations I usually stayed away from the topic, simply because people have pretty strong opinions on nursing kids after they can start asking for it. "It's weird," "that just seems gross and wrong," "there is no way I would nurse that long" were things I heard all the time. It was too special of a topic to me that I didn't want to get into it with people who didn't understand. Because what they didn't get was when you are nursing your child every day, several times a day, it doesn't suddenly become "weird" one day. It's the exact same as yesterday or the day before. You don't look at your baby after they say their first word and think "she's going to start asking to nurse soon, I better cut her off." And for me, taking away something that gave you so much comfort was a little heartbreaking to think of. Because that's more what it is about when you are nursing a toddler: security, comfort, bonding. It's a time where you can get away from the overstimulation and craziness and just relax and breathe. You were no longer dependent on me for calories. If I would have taken nursing away, you had plenty of other food sources to turn to. But seeing you go from waking up in the morning, covered in grumpiness and grogginess - to a happy, excited, ready-for-the-day girl after nursing made it impossible to take away. So I ignored what anyone thought and I let you decide. even though a small part of me was sure I would have a nursing kindergartener on my hands and I just don't know if I could go that far.

You slowly (we are talking over the period of a few months) went from nursing each morning, to forgetting about it some mornings, to then going 3-5 days before you wanted to nurse when you woke up. I got pregnant and it all sort of happened at the same time that you just stopped. I didn't think too much about it until I stopped one day and realized it had been almost 2 weeks since you had asked about anything. So then we were done. As simple and as easy as that. After we miscarried that baby, I felt sad that you were done. You were still going to be my baby a little longer but that part of our relationship was over. And I won't lie that the first time (a few months later) that you asked if you could nurse and I had to say no broke my heart. You were fine with it, but I was sad. Part of me still misses it, but you don't need it anymore. You are that happy, confident, excited girl without it, and you get your comfort now in other ways. With how special this whole experience was, I pray with everything I have I am able to nurse your little brother. I worry that since you and I had such a relatively "easy" time with it, something will go wrong and I wont get the chance to nurse him or nurse him as long. We'll see how it goes. While writing this letter I realized I have next to no pictures of you nursing and I really hate that. I wish I had some sort of visual representation of it, but that is something I will just have to be better at next time around.

I am so thrilled to be your Mom, Miss Hadi. You bring so much goofiness, love and happiness to this family- right along side your attitude! I learn things from you everyday, and it is incredible watching you grow up and change. Thanks for letting me be apart of all of this with you. I can't wait to see you become a big sister because I know you are going to take on that roll so well. I love you more than you know!



smwaters said...

Wow! Tears in my eyes. I have an amazing daughter and granddaughter.

What do you always remember?

Katy said...

Beautiful Dani. Just beautiful. Hadley is lucky to have you, baby brother is too.

Jessie said...

What a sweet and personal letter. Levi is a year old now and we can't seem to kick the morning feedings either. And I don't want to!

Courtney B said...

You are so right. Nursing used to freak. me. out. But now that I've been doing it for 8 months? It's no different to me than drinking water out of a sippy.
I must admit though, I don't think I'll be sad when we are done nursing. I love the calorie burn (so selfish of me!) and that it's free... but I don't feel like we have bonded through nursing. Part of it is my personality and part of it is Mia's.
But I'm so happy that you had such a wonderful experience! And I have no doubt that it will be just as wonderful with your boy!

Jeannette & Brandt said...

Beautiful...loved this!