Monday, May 7, 2012

A Bittersweet Ending.

I've been taking my time in writing this post. In fact, it's about five weeks behind schedule, mainly because by typing these words, I have to admit the fact that it is actually over. And, though two and a half years ago I never would have thought it would be the case, I am sad about it.

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 closed-minded a-hole anonymous commenter criticizing how long we breastfed in the first place. Sure, we nursed longer than your average duo, but the time that I spent with Ava at my breast, both as a baby and as a nursing toddler, was some of the most beautiful and loving time I can think of.

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.


  1. Aww I'm sorry! I know how hard it is when they stop. When my babies stopped their nighttime feedings I remember crying. It's a sad time :-( But you really did a good job doing it for so long.

  2. I can't say that I experienced this at all since Bennett never really took to breastfeeding, but I can imagine it was hard. Props to you for going as long as you did and just going with what Ava wanted and needed. You are a wonderful Mother.

  3. I've FINALLY gotten a chance to read through your latest posts and had to comment on this one. You are an amazing mother and an inspiration to other moms for sure. 27 months is wonderful!! Reading your post brought tears to my eyes though as I've shed a few myself over the last few months now that my oldest is becoming more independent too. I've felt the ache in my heart that comes with knowing such precious time is passing by so quickly. I'm so glad Ava is doing so well, but also wanted to send you a cyber hug for the loss of that special time alone with her. It's a wonderful accomplishment for Ava, but also bittersweet. {{Hugs}}


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