Ava is no longer breastfeeding.
OK you extended breastfeeding haters: feel free to check out now. I respect all opinions, but I'm so emotional over this, the last thing I want is some
I was lucky. Ava took to breastfeeding really easily, and despite some early issues with my production and a wicked case of mastitis mixed in, it was smooth going for us. In fact, when the time came for her first birthday - the goal I had set for our nursing relationship - I wasn't bothered in the slightest that she showed no signs of stopping. Add in my own sentiments on breastfeeding with the fact that she had a terrible milk protein sensitivity that barred her from any dairy, and we were a match made in lactation heaven.
I've not been without my critics. Sure, there are some I know who would ask, rather pointedly, "Are you EVER going to stop nursing that child?" But, in staying true to my gentler parenting philosophies, I knew early on that I would let her choose when we weaned, and she never showed any interest in quitting.
She nursed less and less between her first and second birthdays, with her going from nap and night time nursing to strictly night time. When we chose to night wean her, and to allow her milk only before bed and when she woke up, she quickly adapted, and I knew that the end was near. But rather than getting any other hints that our time nursing would soon be over, it happened suddenly. A week before our wedding (you know, with just enough time to ensure my boobs would be smaller in my dress on my wedding day - damn it!), I went to put Ava to sleep, and when I offered her "mommy milk" like every night, she simply said, "No." I responded cheerfully and laid with her while she fell asleep, but once those eyes were good and shut, the waterworks came.
I know it's silly. She's not a baby anymore, and we were ready. 27 months of breastfeeding is no small feat, and I'm so very proud of the time and effort that I put into that relationship with her. But I'm still sad about the ending of what was undoubtedly one of the most special bonding periods in our life.
Thank you, Ava, for the 27 months of nursing we shared, and for allowing me a two-and-a-half year extension on time with you that was only mine. Thank you for teaching me about parenting, and for teaching me about love, and for teaching me to be open-minded and to embrace change in myself. I simply adore you.