She came, stayed awhile and has finally left. The Paci Fairy's kid sister...the Boobie Fairy.
Yes, dear friends, after nearly 4 1/2 years of nursing (holy CRAP!) my duty as a nutrition vending machine is finally over.
I'm too elated right now to be sad about it but I have no doubt there will be a tinge of longing for that unique mommy-baby closeness.
I've been asked countless times why I chose to nurse so long. With Isabella it was unintentional. She just kept going! Then she abruptly stopped when she was 19 1/2 months old and a few days later I found that I was pregnant with Ava.
With Ava, I promised her at least that same length of time for Mama Milk. Once 20 months passed, I started to panic a little. She was full force with no end in sight! Then I'd relax and remember that nursing for any child over the age of 6 months is about SO much more than nutrition. I provided comfort for Ava that no one else could. I take great pride in that.
There's no rule about nursing. What works for mama and baby is what matters. The past two months we've been dwindling those shared moments to nary a minute before nap or bedtime. She would pat my right boob and say "Dis one ehpty (empty)" and then the left "Dis one good!"
For some reason she and Righty became out of sorts because she couldn't nurse without tearing it. Yeah, did you just cringe? Mmmmhmmm...
About 5 days ago, we decided to experiment. That's the best part about parenting. Experimenting and then being so friggin EXCITED when it works out!
We let Ava lay next to Bella to fall asleep. Project Distraction.
She would tuck her chubby little hands under her cheek, squeeze her eyes shut to pretend sleep and then actually fall asleep! Magic! Knowing that she and her sibling were not at all used to sleeping together, I waited until she was sleep twitching before moving her to her crib.
We've done this nightly. I panicked a little because we went out of town but we tried it again and it still worked!
Twice, she has awakened and asked for Mama Milk. It was half-hearted so I gently told her that it was all gone and she could either lay back in her bed or snuggle with me. She opted to snuggle.
The best part of all this? No tears. No heartache.
My children have taught me that not everything has to always run according to my time table. If I allow them their own, we all win. Even if it takes a wee bit longer :)