October 19, 2012

Extended Breastfeeding: A Retrospective

It's been a while. I didn't check to see if I wrote it down, but I think it's been well over a year since I last nursed Ivy. Funny because it was such a loooonnnng relationship you'd think I remembered the very last time, but it slipped away quiet and unassuming. Huh.

Until this afternoon I hadn't really paused on the thought, but I sat with her in my arms on the kitchen floor, and I swear I felt my chest let-down, and I was transported to comfort-nursing her- ever so often we landed on the kitchen floor. Crouched, pretzel-legged, in a pile, whatever the situation required. And I could recall that so clearly, I can see it with my heart like a film. The sleepy fluttering eyes, where she'd  touch her sticky hand to the top of her blonde wisps or grasp my finger or the edge of my shirt. Cold nose and wet cheek pressed against my breast. I'd swoop and cradle and make everything better.

reflection

Her legs would grow longer- that was what I would notice first, and the recovery time would shorten until no more was needed. It was easy and normal for us and I like to think plays a big part in who she became and is becoming. Me, too.

Now, I pat her bum and there's no diaper and the struggle to potty train is barely even a flicker of a memory and that's insane because that was not easy. When did we get to here? And today she packed a carrot and an apple in her own backpack for preschool.  And I still swoop and I still cradle, but my shirt stays in place, and we have real conversations. And I am overwhelmed with thankfulness that we have arrived at this very day, all that I put in to get to this moment, and what is coming back to me. Arms open and ready.

22 comments:

  1. looooove this...

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  2. ..wait.. you mean they WILL actually figure this potty thing out?! Because I'm like. woah. here.
    Anywho, beautifully shared - as usual!
    mel
    needle and nest

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  3. So lovely. I have these heart visions too of breastfeeding snuggles with my girl, now 3. I love how you found the beauty in both that past and the now and the future.

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  4. It's such a Big Thing, wrapping up nursing your last child. This was beautifully expressed. So many more good things to come, yes, arms open and ready.

    This is a link to a post I wrote when I stopped nursing my last baby (a bit later than usual)
    http://6512andgrowing.wordpress.com/2011/04/25/a-tale-of-two-nursers/

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  5. So sweet. It's sad to let nursing go...I was thinking about that just this week!

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  6. Sigh... retrospection... two weeks ago our youngest turned three. Suddenly every thing has changed... I feel it, I notice it and I understand it... Sharp little boy haircut, diapers gone for good - didn't even notice it happen!!! He just grew up... but there is no way on earth he is ever getting his own bed... surely not!!!

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  7. Beautiful. As my daughter approaches 4 I am watching breastfeeding quietly slip away. Weeks go by without nursing and despite her claim that she will have milk tonight she always forgets to ask. I know better than to call it, but maybe we are done. I am not particularly sad about it, but there's this piece of me that wishes I could remember the last time, and I know that I will miss it. It's been wonderful, but it's only the end of one little piece of our relationship. It's still just the beginning of our relationship in so many other ways. And I'm of course still breastfeeding my 16 month old all the time, so we've got a while to go.

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  8. I cannot believe Riv will be that old someday, it still seems a dream. And I can't believe tiny I is that old either. When did we all get this old, for that matter? :)

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  9. i'm really glad i clicked and read this. i'm nursing Ever- she's 22 months- and had one of those tearing my hair out stop nursing please days/! but I didn't really mean it :)

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  10. I think about these same things. It's just over a year for us since we've been done. Since I've been done for good. And I know what you mean about phantom let-down. Oh, those growing legs and our swelling hearts. xoxo

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  11. Steph, this is SO weird but just the other day I was thinking about you and Ivy and wondered when the last time you nursed was. Probably because I've been thinking about it a lot lately -- how long will we nurse? who will want to stop first? how will he EVER wean? seriously, how? :) Anyway, I love reading this part of your journey and who it's made you and Ivy become.

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  12. Growing legs - definitely. I stare at Waylon while he's nursing sometimes, and sometimes it just strikes me that he's getting bigger everyday. Also, I think I may be the only person on the planet who still uses a Boppy pillow to nurse an over-1-year-old. : )

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    1. Happily nursing-on-boppy with my 20-month old every evening! :)

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  13. My son (who's about a month older than Ivy) actually lifts my shirt more now than when we were breastfeeding. He likes to jam his thumb in my bellybutton for some reason. He finds it comforting. And so often I find myself scooping him up, and he reaches for my top automatically. It makes it hard to be nostalgic for breastfeeding, to be honest.

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  14. Thank you for this. My Daughter (also named Ivy) is 20 months and wants to nurse all the live long day. Sometimes I get so annoyed and over touched, sometimes I hate breastfeeding :( I needed this reminder so desperately! it will be over and done before we know it.

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  15. Absolutely beautiful. I love hearing about what it was like *then* and how it affects *now*. Thanks for sharing little glimpses of your family.

    stephanie@stephaniesheaffer.com

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