Wednesday, July 01, 2009

Closing a chapter

This week was a momentous one in this educator's household. Actually, Monday night was a momentous night.
I finally weaned Aliza.

Let me back up a little here....when Aliza was born I was determined to nurse her for a full year. I didn't expect it to be the easiest thing in the world, but I also didn't expect it to be all that difficult either. I was right on both counts. Nursing is easy in some respects: no bottles to prepare and warm up, no expensive formulas to buy and keep on hand, nothing to lug around with me when I went places.....but it is also difficult: waking in the night while your husband sleeps on peacefully, leaving breakfast, lunch, dinner, parties etc to nurse, not being able to drink or eat certain foods, carrying around a pumping back pack, finding places to pump, disinfecting pumping equipment, and so on.....

I asked around and discovered that no one my age nursed their children. No. One. This still surprises me to this day. I loved nursing Aliza. Even in the middle of the night. Everything about it felt natural, and right, and good.

At the same time, I hated pumping. HATED it. Nothing about it felt good. The only thing that kept me going was knowing that, ultimately, it was the best thing for her. And I did keep going. I kept going when I returned to work and literally had to sit on bathroom floors to pump. For ten months I kept at it and I stopped only when my body made me.

Then I made the decision to let go of the morning nursing when she turned one. It was time, I was ready. But I wasn't quite ready to let go of the nighttime one. She'll cry, I told myself. She needs that snuggle time with me, I said. I think that really, I was the one that was not ready to let it go.

Until is out, it's been thirteen months and the time had come. And here is why I think my daughter really is brilliant: I told her what was going to happen. The night before I was going to wean, I let her know, this was her last time nursing. The next day I reminded her a few times that she'd have milk. I put Russ on alert that night, told him to come and rescue me if it sounded like it wasn't going so well, I prepared myself for the crying, steeled my nerves, got ready to be tough and hang in there....and Aliza had absolutely no problem at all. She drank her milk, snuggled in my arms and fell right asleep. She understood, I'm sure of it.

And I sat there in the dark, listening to her lullabies and cried. My baby is growing up. This is one more thing that will define her transition from babyhood to toddlerhood. And while I am happy she took to the transition so well, and proud of myself for nursing for as long as I did, I am also sad.
She's growing up.
And I'm not sure I'm ready for her to.


Dianna said...

Good for you! I've found that as a parent all you can do is follow what feels right for you. No book or no one can lead you in a better direction! You are doing an amazing job for that little girl and I can't wait to see her!

Remember, closing one door opens another...

Enjoy your summer at home!

Kelli said...

This post gave me chills.
Good for you AND Aliza with her sharp, attentive listening skills!

Anonymous said...

The time was right for both of you.
I am so proud of you,for sticking it out.Follow your instincts,they won't lead you astray.It worked for me (look how great you turned out!)She is a happy,bright,inquisitive baby.All good things.

Mom S said...

I am overwhelmed by your post today. Still a bit teary too...
I am so proud of YOU. Your unselfish determination and patience gave Aliza such a beautiful start in life. You will always have those magical memories as she grows up. Something no one else can know about "you and Aliza".
My heartfelt congratulations!
Love Mom S xoxoxox

JaxMom said...

Hang in there girl. You will develop new rituals. Each chapter ending leads to wonderful new ones. You will see. And at least for the next 4 years, she will still need snuggles, and prescious time to climb in your lap and meld to your body as if she was made to fit there. Because she was.

Helena said...

Hey silly goose! I'm your age, and I nursed Alexis for 9 months, 7 months of it pumping when I went back to work! So you DO know someone your age who nursed their children! :) Anyway, I know it's heartbreaking when it's over and I also cried on our last time and even when I put my pump away in the closet, I broke down in tears, even though I hated the pumping part of it. Your post really hit home for me. Thank you for sharing and good for you for doing it for over a year! That's awesome!

Anonymous said...

SO proud of you Lis. I miss it so much too. You went much longer then I did. I loved every minute of it. You gave me such great advice.

Miss you lots,