February 25, 2012.
The first day that I didn’t nurse bug. I wrote a number of posts about weaning her last year (see some here, here and here), and going back and looking at them again brought new tears to my eyes.
I look at my little girl, who now really looks so much like a little girl, and it breaks my heart just a little that we weaned when we did, for the reasons we did. Infertility and wanting another baby.
Some of my worries back then didn’t come true. I was so worried that we’d wean and then never get pregnant and I’d regret it.
I don’t regret weaning – because I look at the beautiful face of my smiling little boy and know that HE wouldn’t be here if it weren’t for weaning when we did. That doesn’t mean that the ache doesn’t come back sometimes.
One of my other worries that I don’t believe I really wrote too much about was that I was afraid that my nursing relationship with a new baby wouldn’t be the same.
And it’s not.
Goose isn’t known to comfort nurse in the same way that Bug did. For Bug, I was her EVERYTHING. If anything bothered her she wanted to nurse. If she couldn’t settle down she wanted to nurse. If she was tired, cranky, happy, hurt, sad, ill, she wanted to nurse. She loved our nursing relationship as much as I did. In the long run weaning that last daily session was easier with her than I expected, but she held on to my boobs (literally and figuratively) for months and months afterwards. Even when she went through her distracted stage she was still all about the nursing relationship. It was filled with sweet sweet moments of just her and I, loving each other as a mama and daughter were meant to in the early years.
Goose isn’t like that. He does some level of comfort nursing, but not like she did. I can’t keep him focused sometimes long enough to get a letdown. In the morning he’s become so accustomed to taking a bottle that he isn’t interested in me if I’m around when he gets up during the week (weekends he will eventually nurse). In the deep pit of my stomach I’m so afraid that he’ll self-wean earlier than I want him to. I want so badly for him to nurse until at least 2 because of the bond it creates. Because of the good that I know it does for him. (and the ease and price of it ain’t half bad either!)
He is rougher than she was. Yeah, she got those claws in my skin sometimes, but not bad (or maybe I’m just remembering the good part?). He is so rough and tumble, he will grip both sides of my boob sometimes and squeeze it in his tiny little fists. I’ll come out red and marked up. Sometimes with scratches.
But the other night I was nursing him before bed, and I realized in some ways it’s not so different.
The relationship. In many ways it is similar.
I choose to take that step back and really pay attention, recognizing that he has a lot more going on than she did with a toddler running around to keep his attention.
As I felt the weight of him curled up against me, the rest of his hands on me (yes, he was being gentle) the way he eagerly drinks and the way his sweet little eyes went half closed reminded me of all those sweet moments with her.
I took the step back and reclaimed the sweet moments with him right then and there. I watched him break away for a moment and take a deep breath, only to go back to nursing. That same soft deep pull of the nipple as he gets one of the best things that I can give him. The way his warm body stayed so close to mine.
And I realized that I very well may be wrong. That this relationship may have a lot more time in it yet. That our sweet moments are still there, hanging in tight, and it makes me glad (with a little sadness around it) that I weaned Bug when I did, so that I could have this relationship with Goose.
And I thought that about 4 more times overnight as he woke up (teething) and wanted nothing but mama to nurse him through.
And, nursing Goose has taught me something about nursing Bug. Turns out she had a HORRIBLE latch and that’s why my nipples were always sore (nipple cream was used up until the last day I nursed!). Goose? He may be rough and tumble, but that boy has an AMAZING latch and the girls only get tender when AF is near. Nipple cream? I’m sure I have some in the medicine cabinet… somewhere :-)