Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Time To Stop

We have an every-morning tradition in our family. When the boys wake up, they come to join us in bed for a "morning snuggle" and lately, we pretty much take up the whole bed. Yes, the boys are that big now. *sigh*

It is during this time that I've always nursed John. And for the last six months or so, it's been the only time he's asked to nurse all day. At 21 months it's not the most important thing to him and recently, I started feeling ambivalent about the whole nursing thing too--which was a real change in attitude for me. When John was born, he was physically unable to nurse, and I tried every manner of medicial/therapeutic intervention and exclusively pumped and bottle-fed him until, at 8 weeks, the physical therapy kicked in and he could nurse on his own.

When people would ask me how long I intended to nurse him, my stock answer was "as long as he wants to," because, in truth, it wasn't a big deal for me. I nursed Sam for 14 months, right through the first trimester of my pregnancy with John, with no intention of stopping then either. I only stopped because my doctor told me I needed to. With a history of pre-term labor, it could stimulate contractions.

But lately, I've been very frustrated with my body. No I'm not eating the world's most nutritious diet every day, and no I don't keep a food journal, or exercise regularly, but it doesn't seem to matter what I do or what I eat. I can lose twelve pounds and will gain six back overnight. My body wants to be at the weight its at now and won't budge.

This prompted me to do  a little math this week, and I realized that I have been in a constant state of pregnancy and/or nursing since November of 2005. That's four and a half years straight. I wouldn't trade a second of that for a faster metabolism, but then again, that seems like a lot to ask of my body. And since the weather's warming up and (my fear of) crashing immune systems seemed moot, I started thinking about whether I ought to initiate weaning.

Enter Sam. He would still nurse if I'd let him, and there have been times I've actually had to fend him off of me and John. So it's obviously something he still thinks about. But when he was playing trains with John, pulled his shirt up, and asked John in the middle of it if he wanted to nurse, that was all it took. I knew it was time to stop.

I have mixed feelings about it, of course. It's the end of my era as the mom of babies. There won't be any more, and so my nursing days are over, too. It been a source of pride that I was able to feed and nourish my children for as long as I did, but I'd kind of like my body back--just for me this time.

And yet, the thought also makes me sad. I think about the delicious drowsy snuggles, watching my boys' grow in my arms, their faces radiant and rosy, the moments of quiet during an insane day and I wonder what it is that will take its place.

I guess I'll soon find out.


  1. Aaah. Feeding is lovely isn't it? Because of all that happened to me around the birth of my last, I coudn't breastfeed. Chemmotherapy and feeding don't mix. I was absolutely desolate. I fed my other two up until about 14 months, when they kind of stopped. But I wish I'd had the chance to feed the baby. Still, you're right. Things have to move on and one can't be pregnant or breastfeeding forever. And other lovely things take their place instead. Enjoy your body again!!

  2. It's a big step and often a painful one knowing you won't be doing it again. Good luck with your efforts!

  3. beautifully said. i remember those days. be easy on yourself. you'll get through it just fine. :-)

  4. having gone through this recently and with similar torn feelings of giving my body a break and wanting to continue, i hear ya, sistah.

    toots wasn't too affected, and it helped that daddy had been putting her to bed at night for a while, to minimize the night nursing.

    it's good you have a record of how you made your diecision, too. that way, when the boys are older, they can see you did everything you could for the to be healthy in mind and body.


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