I feel this is the beginning of the end of nursing forever. My daughter, my third and (most likely) last baby, will be 11 months old three days from today. Last night, she didn’t want to nurse. She wanted to suck her thumb instead. Raquel is my first thumb sucker, so this is new to me. I laid her in her crib, certain she would change her mind and want me to feed her. But she didn’t. She just went to sleep.
She’s been eating more food and has been down to three solid feedings per day, and every morning I pump 5 oz. as soon as I wake up. This morning, I pumped one ounce. One ounce. It seems as though the decision is being made for me, by Raquel, and by my body. I tried giving her the usual mid-morning bottle today, and she didn’t finish it. I just nursed her before putting her down for her afternoon nap, and she entertained it for a mere minute before returning to her thumb.
I’ve had those thoughts leading up to this moment, I can’t wait to be done doing this followed by stroking her soft baby locks while she drinks me in, thinking I wish she would stay this way forever. She won’t, and I know it far too well now. I know it in the most definite sense, the one you could never know until you’ve realized your first baby is a child.
I should be happy to make it past 11 months (which we will surpass if she drinks the freezer stash), and I am thankful. I should be happy my baby is well and thriving, and preferring food and self soothing to my milk, and I am beyond grateful. I should be happy, but it feels like a long sad goodbye: a finite goodbye. The push and pull of her not wanting to nurse, then nursing again, mirror my very feelings about it. I want to be done, but I don’t want it to end.
It’s not the nursing that I love. I love the baby that will never be again.
Mamas please tell me I’m not losing it.