Sometime back in May I nursed my daughter for the last time. I don’t know the exact date. She would have been three years and three months old, give or take. There was no decision, no cut off point. She just gradually lost interest. She would “forget” to nurse, let it go for a day or two, and them come back, full steam.
Ajay Shrivastava – Fotolia.com
After her third birthday I did tend more towards the don’t offer don’t refuse side of things, as I will admit I was feeling ready to move on past breast feeding. Yet I feel a sort of small sadness for not clearly remembering the last time we nursed, but then I do remember the nine thousand and some times that came before.
I worried that one day she would go to nurse and it just wouldn’t be an option, as she wasn’t using my breasts on a regular basis. So I sat her down and tried to explain to her that she was getting to be a big girl and it was ok if she didn’t want to drink mama milk any more. I tried to explain the concept of my milk “drying up” to her, but her vacant expression told me she wasn’t grasping it.
One day after having not nursed for 3 or 4 days in a row she climbed into bed with me for a nap and wanted milk. Worried, I warned her that there might not be any, but I let her have a try. She was so excited when she found that there WAS still milk in my breasts. Like it was Christmas and Halloween and her birthday all rolled up in one. She popped out of bed shouting with joy, “You have milk mama, you do!”, and then ran downstairs to tell her sister. But amusingly enough, she never actually drank any of the milk (or took a nap either, much to my disappointment).
About a week after that at bed time she came up on my lap in the rocking chair and asked for milk and there was none to be had.
She was outraged. She thought someone had stolen her drink. “Somebody drank all of the milk!? Who drank it mama? Who?!”
I told her, “No, honey, no one drank the milk it’s just gone. Because you are getting big and mama has no more babies. It’s just drying up… it’s empty.”
“Oh…” She paused and thought for a bit. “Your breasts is empty?” I could see an idea dawning on her, and she blurted out. “I drank ALL the milk. I drank all of it. It’s gone. It’s empty.”
I had a hard time not crying as I answered her, “Yeah baby girl that’s it, you drank all of the milk. Ever since you were a little baby, you drank so much, you drank all of it.”
“Oh.” She paused for a brief second, and I thought she might fuss, but instead she just asked, “Read me my story?”
She wasn’t sad or fussy about it at all. I on the other hand did feel a bit lost to have closed that chapter of my life, after having nursed one girl and then the other for over 6 years straight. It felt odd. But I was glad to have had her lead the way and decide when we were finished.
For those of you that breastfeed (and have weaned); did you feel sad when your nursing days were done? do you remember the very last time you breast fed your baby?