A nursing relationship is sacred.

A nursing relationship is sacred.

One of my biggest regrets in life is weaning my daughter when my son was born.  By the time I got pregnant with Z we were down to only nursing to sleep. While my nipples were extremely sore from the beginning, I was content to nurse her. But something happened towards the end of my pregnancy: I began to feel nauseous every time she latched.

With every day and every latch the feeling grew stronger and stronger. It was completely out of control. I could only explain it as some undeniable biological force at work. It really confused me…how could nursing my baby girl, which I had been happily doing for nearly three years, cause me such distress all of a sudden?

I started asking V when she thought she would stop nursing? Without fail she would say: “When the new baby gets here.” Even though she would say that, I knew that it would probably not go that way, and to be honest, I was looking forward to her being able to help me avoid engorgement.

As luck would have it, I went into labor with Z on V’s 3rd birthday. He was born a couple hours later in our bedroom as V was having her birthday party in the backyard. We had cake for her and opened presents on my bed while Z slept and nursed. That night as usual, I laid down to nurse V to sleep only to find that it was more uncomfortable than either one of my labors After she fell asleep I tearfully told my husband that I couldn’t nurse her anymore.

I tried one more night hoping that it would’ve resolved itself overnight, but it unfortunately did not. That would be the last time I nursed my baby girl. The next day I talked with V about how it was time to drop that last nursing before bed and we planned out all the different cuddles and songs we would sing that night in bed. When bedtime rolled around things did not go according to plan. V cried for milk and I cried saying no – and so it went for what felt like an eternity. In her three years of life we had gotten by never using any ‘cry-it-out’ methods and here I was watching my little goose cry herself to sleep. I was right there with her crying and apologizing. When I think back on that night now, I cannot believe I did not just give in and nurse her. I can only imagine that my mind had somehow been made up during the hormonal roller-coaster that was my 3rd day postpartum.

The next night she asked at bedtime, but did not cry when I held her close and started singing. The tears rolled down my face (as they are now just remembering that night) because although it was what I wanted, I was heartbroken. I couldn’t believe how in that instant she became a kid, not a baby anymore. I’d like to say that my decision to wean her at that point didn’t have any adverse affects, but I’d be lying. I know that her transition to big sister was harder and she became distant from me. It took me a long time to gain her trust back.

Two years later she still talks about the last time she nursed. Thankfully she remembers it fondly because it was just like any other night. I haven’t brought up the night that followed that one and neither has she. I have discussed this with people close to me and always with an air of shame. Like all parenting decisions, I did the best I could at that time, but I really wish that it didn’t happen the way it did. I’m owning this choice by speaking it here and hoping that one day I’ll forgive myself fully.

Much love,                                                                                                                                                                      K