Tuesday, July 31, 2012

They Exist

When Emberly was a toddler and I'd visit a parenting community for similarly aged children, sometimes they'd do a nursing roll-call.  Who's still hanging in there with their nursling.  And moms would come forward with these stories of toddlers who were steadily cutting back and how precious these last few months of breastfeeding were.
I had no idea what the hell they were talking about.
I've written before about the differences between Emberly and Bauer as nurslings before.  At 2 years, Emberly was still very attached to nursing.  And while I felt passionate about child-led weaning, there were many touched-out days where I contemplated giving her a hearty shove in that direction.  She did begin to cut back on her own around 2.5yrs, but I still wonder if the actual weaning would have been so smooth had my supply not dried up in pregnancy.
Bauer, on the other hand, he's only nursed upon waking up in the morning for probably about a year.  He's had periods of teething or travel stress where for a week or so he would request a couple times a day, but that was hardly the norm.  And for a few months now, he'd skip a day every once in a while.  And last week, he only nursed 3x.  This is all happening with absolutely no prodding from me.  This must be what they were all talking about!  These kids *do* exist!
When Emberly weaned, I already knew I had 2+yrs of nursing another in front me.  So with Bauer possibly being our final child, I anticipated these days being more bittersweet than they are.  But it's actually been surprisingly nice.  Bauer's affection previously often felt like it was all about the milk.  Sure, I'll pet you and twirl your hair, but where's the ninny?  In the last few weeks since he's skipped days at a time without a request to nurse, he's wanted more hugs and snuggles from me.  Sometimes at nap time, he asks, "Mommy snuggle?"  Which I was immediate wary was simply a classic delay tactic, but no, he really wants me to lay next to him with his arm around my neck, staring drowsily at me while I rub his back.  Some days he tells me "all done" and I leave, other days I give him a kiss and leave after a couple minutes.  It's all incredibly sweet.
Sometimes I feel a bit of regret that I didn't feel quite so lovely about the end of Emberly's nursing days, but I recognize there's always trade-off.  Bauer is quite the tantrum thrower.  He HAS to be such a sweet, ideal little nursling, otherwise he might find himself living under the stairs!
{if you think about that one time, down by the river... you'll realize it has nothing to do with this post. (any ATHF fans?)}


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