Lilly Belle is going to be 17 months old in a week.
I've been thinking about this more and more lately.
Some days I feel like I'm 100% ready.
Some days I feel like I could nurse Lilly Belle until she's 3.
But most days, I'm more ready to be done than not. And lately, it's been on my mind more and more.
I know that for months, she has not been nursing as a source of food or for when she's hungry.
There is clearly not an abundance of milk being produced. Physically, that much is clear.
I am beginning to feel like Lilly Belle would be quite happy being the kid that nurses until she's 3.
Me, not so much.
I have loved nursing Lilly Belle. It has been one of the best experiences of my whole entire life. The sweet moments that are just for the two of us make me so happy. The snuggles I get from her and the little smiles she gives me while I'm nursing her are memories that I will never forget, even without pictures taken to remind me.
Lately, there has been a lot of reaching down my shirt and pinching...pinching where it hurts.
That's right...my nipple. Always the same one. And, it hurts. Like, really bad.
Lilly Belle has now been talking in short sentences and often says to me, "Mama, I need milka." It is very sweet and endearing. I love that she wants that time with me. Because honestly, she isn't doing it because she's hungry. When she is hungry, she can clearing say, "I need oof!" (oof=food)
Today she went into our room, picked up Matt's laptop and dropped it on her food. It hurt and she cried. I picked her up, she reached down my shirt and said, "Mama. Mama. I need milka. I NEED milka." I explained that I would hold her and rock her and give her tons of snuggles but I was not going to give her milka. She cried and tantrumed but in that moment, I really did not want to nurse. I was dressed for church and we were about to head out the door.
It feels a little selfish, but at the same time, she is getting older. I nursed her for a year past my goal.
I never thought I would be a mom who would like nursing. Before being pregnant and having Lilly Belle, it honestly freaked me out a little bit. I told Matt that my goal was to nurse her until she was 6 months old and then I would just pump until she was one.
And then, she was born and immediately all I wanted to do was to nurse her. And I did. I nursed her those first few days through blood, blisters, and more disgusting things that I don't need to describe to you. It was awful. But, I didn't give up. I pushed through knowing it was what was best for my baby. And thank goodness I did.
The time I have spend the past 17 months rocking and nursing Lilly Belle are really some of the best moments of my life. I am tearing up writing this and thinking about it being time to be done.
I am going to do this slowly as to not make it a traumatic experience for her.
She is still nursing before every nap, before bedtime and most days, when she wakes up in the morning. I am going to start with dropping the nursing before nap time.
It was random today. I had a random feeling that I was ready. I went in to change her diaper after church and to nurse her before nap and just in that moment I felt like I was done. As I changed her diaper I talked to her about how I was going to lay her down like a big girl with no "milka". I told her I would snuggle her and give her a big hug and lots of kisses but then I was going to lay her down in her crib and I would see her with more snuggles when she wakes up.
I panicked a little bit. Matt and Papa always lay her down for naps obviously without nursing, but I have only done that maybe once in her life. I thought for sure she was going to flip out.
I did as I promised and held her tight and gave her tons of little kisses and told her how much I love her. And then, I told her to find her fingers and lay down to go night night. She looked at me a little worried but I kept telling her I loved her and just walked out of the room. She cried for maybe 30 seconds and is now sleeping peacefully.
She did just fine. I felt just fine. And that was so reassuring.
I don't want to just up and quit cold turkey. I'm not ready for that and Lilly Belle would be so incredibly sad if I did that to her.
I will nurse her in the morning only when she asks for it and I will continue to nurse her before bed.
No more nursing at nap time.
I will cherish these nights spent nursing her. It really is such a special time.
I am so thankful to have got to experience this with my sweet baby girl.