*this post contains breastfeeding photos. if you're not comfortable viewing them, then this post probably isn't for you.
I'm so in love with this boy right now. This big boy who is so sweet and full of smiles and hugs and kisses. Things are pretty easy right now, like we've really gotten into a good groove and I'm so thankful for it.
At night, Riggs sleeps from about 7:15 to 7:30 in the morning. He's been sleeping through the night for about two months now and it's wonderful. It also couldn't come at a better time for this tired mama. Pajamas, teeth brushing, picking out bedtime books and then it's time to read them while we rock together. When the books have been read, I turn the lamp off and we get ready to pray together.
"Who do you want to pray for?" I ask him.
"Pray Lyla." He says instantly. "Pray daddy. Pray mama." My heart melts.
He snuggles into my chest while I pray, and then repeats after my "amen". He also says, "night-night God" which almost gives me chills with it's sweetness. Finally, he gives me a hug and a kiss, and then is snuggled right into bed between his owl and his bunny.
"Night-night bunny. Night-night owl. Night-night Riggs." I say as I leave the room. "I'll see you in the morning."
"Night-night mama," he whispers as I close the door. I always leave his room with a smile now.
When he has woken, maybe two or three times, he's needed a quick hug and kiss, and then he snuggles right back down and goes to sleep.
You may have noticed that I didn't mention nursing in my timeline of pre-bed events. February 16 was the last night he nursed before bed (or anytime at all). I had no idea that it would be the last time, but the next evening as I was putting him to bed, I just couldn't nurse him. It had been a long day, and the thought of the sharp pain I knew would come when he latched lazily on for just a couple minutes of comfort nursing was just too much. After we prayed, he turned to get into 'nursing position'.
"Milk?" he asked softly.
I don't remember exactly what I told him. I tried to keep as much emotion out of my voice as I explained that he had drank up all the milk and that mama needed a break to get ready to make milk for his baby sister. I do remember that after listening patiently, he asked again in a pleading voice, just that single word, "Milk?". I shook my head and told him it was night-night time.
He seemed to consider for a moment, then turned in my lap towards his bed and said, "bye milk. Night-night milk." I held my breath as I tucked him and his animals into bed, walked out of his room and closed the door. But there were no tears; he went right to sleep as usual. The next night, he said, "no milk?" a slight question in his voice. I said, "no milk. It's for baby sister now." And he went to bed.
Now a month later, he still says, "no milk," after praying, but as a statement rather than a question. It makes me realize how deeply ingrained routines are in children's minds.
At first, it was as if I couldn't really acknowledge that he had actually weaned. I was relieved that it was going so well for him, and I wasn't at the mental 'place' to think about it any more than that.
Then about four days ago, he was sitting on the couch, reading quietly to himself, looking and acting so much like an independent little boy, rather than a baby or even a toddler. I watched him for a moment, filled with pure love, and then it hit me. I realized I would n e v e r nurse him again, that a chapter had been closed in our relationship that will never be reopened. He had taken the first big step away from me, from needing me, needing me to both comfort and nourish him and to foster his rapid growth.
He was thriving. Sitting there on the couch, he was at that moment the master of his own universe, and I wasn't in it. It hurt and I cried, silent tears rolling down my cheeks as I watched him and felt a distance from him that I had never felt before.
I realize that he will still need me in many other ways throughout the (hopefully) many years of his life, in his childhood and well into adulthood. Yet there is just something so personal and magical about breastfeeding, that binds mother and baby together in a unparalleled way. The realization that I would never have that again was devastating, even though I knew it was the natural progression of things, that it was inevitable.
I took about ten or fifteen minutes to mourn, and then I felt myself begin to heal and move on. To be thankful that I had the opportunity to not only be a mother, but to nurse with ease just past his second birthday. To be joyful that he was growing and thriving physically and emotionally and that I would be (Lord willing) blessed enough to watch him on his journey.
*I want to take a moment to mention that I in no way mean to belittle mothers who don't nurse their babies, either directly or indirectly, through this post. I wrote this from a very deep place in my soul and it is based simply on my experiences and feelings as a mama. Please know that I respect all mothers who care for and nourish their babies, no matter how they go about doing it. xoxo