Some days I think about it a lot and other days I am happy to still be nursing this little lady. It's something that is coming up a lot lately for me. While I am committed to breastfeeding for as long as she needs to nurse, I would be lying if I said that its always blissful and beautiful.
No, truth be told, I long for her to sleep through the night. When 4 A.M. hits and I am once again summoned to comfort her, I most definitely have thoughts of being done with this whole breastfeeding journey. Its these times when I get all crabby and tired and start dreaming of weaning.
I dream of never having to look at medication again through the lens of breastfeeding safety charts and I dream of lighting all of my nursing and sports bras on fire because they are withered and are most definitely in the winter of their usable life. I dream of the contraptions that I will be free to purchase for their only needed job - to lift and separate. I dream of never having to worry about how easily and discreetly I can jimmy my boobs out of my clothing without flashing passersby.
We are nearing 5 years of breastfeeding combined. I have loved breastfeeding my newborns, infants, toddlers and now...my second 3 year-old. I have loved it 80% of the time. I have cherished this closeness and the bonding. I have appreciated the miracle that is feeding two human beings with my body. I was surprised and thrilled at the giant bonuses of comfort nursing during injury or illness or sleepiness. I have embraced the idea of allowing my kidlets to self-wean. I am proud to be nursing.
Sometimes, though, I want to look her in the eye and say "Oh no no no no, mama would rather eat a nail right now than give milks even though I love you". Actually, I have. Just in a nicer, "Not right now sweetheart" kind of way. It wasn't pretty. So yeah, gentle diversion is a skill I am attempting to learn. This kid is on to me though.
I read about gentle weaning practices and decide I am gonna go for it but then, she falls and hurts herself so badly that she cannot catch her breath. She reaches out for the bottom of my shirt and calms as she nurses. Instantly she is able to communicate to me where she is hurt. Instantly she feels better.
Suddenly I don't mind at all.
Then there are the times when she is so sleepy and drifting while I hold her. Again, I don't mind at all. She nurses and falls right to sleep and I slip out from under her like a ninja. I'm gonna miss that, I know. Then there are times when it hits me so hard that we are teetering on the edge of a huge transition for her and I want her to choose it, not me. Sometimes I am thinking about weaning and sometimes I'm not. I want to be done and then I don't. I love nursing but sometimes I don't. So I turn to the process by which I do most things in this life.
Pros and cons.
I make lists and over-think. I start worrying about the results of both paths and how I have the potential to emotionally scar or totally empower my kid. I read and read and read. I bite my nails and pace and think and light my thoughts on fire until I suddenly see the truth.
She isn't ready. But she's close.
Someday soon she will be. And I suspect that when that day arrives, by some miracle of mother nature (and not unlike how we forget the pain of childbirth and want more babies), I will forget the sleepless nights, the thread bare bras and the other inconveniences. I will forget them. I have no doubt.
I will only remember the joy, comfort and milky grins. I will remember the humming and toddler gymnastics that made me laugh. I will remember how she pats my cheek and positions her feet under my leg to warm them up. I will remember how she takes my hair elastic out before she nurses so that she can play with my hair. I will remember how she told me that her milks were better than ice cream. And I will remember the three times she slips off into sleep and startles herself into re-latching before resigning for good.
It won't be long before she decides that its time. I will be sad and glad and teary and joyous all at once. Mothering is confusing like that, amirite?
But she decided this morning that today was not THE day. And that's ok.