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Tonight I nursed you for the last time. At 13 ½ months old you are no longer nursing for the nourishment I provide. You drink whole milk like a champ and the 600 oz I have of breast milk in the freezer will keep giving you a daily dose of that liquid gold for quite some time. At this point I’m only providing you with three ounces at your nightly nursing session, my body has slowly stopped producing milk as you have slowly stopped needing it. Our nightly nursing session isn’t about the amount of milk you are drinking. It’s not about your caloric needs or about you needing a little snack before bed. It’s about so much more than that.
You are my third baby. My days are so busy. There is a rushing of the day that I did not experience when I only had one, or even two, children. I’m always needed. Always torn in several directions at once. But every night at 7:00 I sit. I sit and I savor you. Your soft skin. Your tender hands. The way you feel pressed against my chest. Your eyes looking up at me while you drink the milk that I provide for you. In those moments the world stops. It’s our time. No interruptions. No responsibilities. I can just enjoy you and enjoy that moment of pure peace in a day that is filled with so much chaos.
I have nursed all my babies but it’s been such a different experience with you. I’m so thankful I pushed through the many obstacles I faced when nursing your older siblings. Not only am I thankful for the nourishment my breast milk gave them, but I’m thankful for those trying times because it made me appreciate my nursing experience with you all that much more. From day one you were a natural nurser (so much so that you pretty much refused to drink from a bottle…) and we fell into an easy breastfeeding routine.
Even as you have gotten older you have always loved to nurse. You enjoy our special time as much as I do. You never, not once, have rushed to feed. Or wanted to get down. Or have had any distractions. Neither of us have anything we’d rather be doing during that time. It’s our favorite part of the day.
To be honest, I’m not ready for this phase to end. For 9 months you lived inside of me. I provided you with your home and met every single one of your needs. And the 13 months following your birth I continued to provide for you. I gave you life and I have continued to give you nourishment. Stopping breast feeding is the first of many apron strings that will be cut as you grow older. You will need me less and less and you will be come more and more independent.
While I’m excited for the many firsts to come, I just want to hold on a little longer to my sweet baby girl. Being my third baby I understand how quickly time passes. How soon you will be doing so much on your own. How quickly the day will come when you wipe away my kisses and don’t need my hugs when you fall.
Our nightly nursing session has been a chance for me to cherish you and savor you in this stage of life. Holding you in my arms and showering you with my kisses ends each day with so much joy. The way you smile at me and lay your head against me after you are done nursing melts my heart. I never understood how mothers would nurse their children well into their toddler years, but I do now. Our moments of you sitting in my lap and giggling with me are so precious. I wish time could slow down and that we could make those moments go on forever.
I know that soon we will both forget about our nursing time together. I wish so badly there was a way to capture the way moments feel. I wish I could constantly replay the way it feels to have your hands against me and how it feels to play with your hair as your skin is pressed against mine. There is simply nothing sweeter and nothing that can fill the void that will be left by this experience.
I’m so thankful that God gave me you and gave us the bond we have formed through breastfeeding. For so long I looked at breastfeeding as just a way to give my children the best nutrition possible. I now have been blessed to have this close nursing bond with my baby and I pray that if we are blessed with another child that I too will be able to have this type of experience again in the future. I’m so thankful that your daddy and siblings have been so understanding and patient with me. They have understood that breastfeeding you has been my top priority and I’m so appreciative of their support.
I know it’s time for both of us to move forward. Even the greatest of moments can’t last forever. As tears fell from my eyes during your last time nursing, tears also fell from yours. It’s as if you knew that this is the end. In your final nursing moments you held your hand to my lips for me to kiss it and then you waved bye bye to me. While I’m always going to be your mother and I know so many wonderful adventures await us in the future, we are saying goodbye to such a special time we have shared. My hope is that the bond we have formed through our breast feeding journey will only continue to provide us with a close relationship into the future. It will take my heart a long time to heal from saying goodbye to nursing you, and I am so thankful to have had this experience together.