I had no idea how to broach this. It’s like telling your parents that you broke up with the boyfriend they really liked.
(Or how I would imagine that would be. I never had traditional dating trajectories; usually my parents had no idea who I was seeing. And by the time I took Taxman home to meet them we had been dating for mere weeks but were essentially engaged.)
Before we moved from the US, AM seemed to be ready to stop nursing. Mostly. He didn’t nap much any more and was therefore incredibly tired by the time bedtime rolled around. He’d climb into bed (my bed, natch), jam his arm into the case of the pillow of Taxman’s that he favored, pop his thumb into his mouth, and be off to dreamland in about three minutes. In the morning he did like to nurse if we were lounging in bed, but he had stopped demanding it if I happened to be at the gym or in the shower when he woke up.
It could have happened with a tiny push. But I kept thinking about all the transitions awaiting us. Packing up; then moving out; then moving away; new house; new school; new life. I kept offering to nurse him in the morning. “Sure,” he’d say, and latch on for a few moments.
Finally we got to our momentous plane ride. As the flight attendants were preparing to deliver the breakfasts, AM settled down to nurse. About 10 seconds later he was done and demanding food. That evening, after an incredibly long and crazy day, he fell asleep on the floor after dinner. Really, he crawled under the table after a toy car and the next thing we knew he was at my mother-in-law’s feet, fast asleep.
In the morning, he clambered into bed with us, as usual. But did not ask to nurse. Next morning, the same. It wasn’t until Shabbat, normally a day with more idleness to it than the rest of the week, that he requested to nurse in the afternoon.
I didn’t know what to say.
Then I said no.
He cried and I felt like crying and we hugged and rocked and then played Candyland.
He went another week without asking and then we had a similar scene on Shabbat, though I was able to confidently tell him that there was no more milk.
A month later he asked but didn’t make a fuss when I explained that there wasn’t any more milk.
And he’s fine.
The germy stew of gan has been rough on him–and us–and I’ve almost second-guessed my decision. Not really, I suppose, but breastmilk beats plain water for hydrating and soothing a feverish and vomiting kid. No longer an option.
This morning he woke up with pink eye, and I had to, you know, go to the doctor and get a prescription for eyedrops, which he of course hates with a passion; it would be so much easier to spill some breastmilk over them and start treating the ick at 6:30 in the morning instead of three hours later. Not that he would have been able to go to school anyway; it’s great stuff but doesn’t make time go in reverse.
There have been times when he’s especially trying or cranky–the nap was reintroduced, but I wake him after an hour and he’s usually a pill when I do–when I desperately wanted to tug at the magical parachute that was breastfeeding. But couldn’t. There’s no fix for the end of something big.
After all that it was only five years and about six weeks (June 2004 to August 2009) that I nursed.
Somehow it seemed like more.