Today something kind of funny happened. My oldest asked if my toddler still could nurse. It was an innocent (but loaded) question. Because immediately she asked to nurse. Since the second week of June, that was only about the 3rd time she had asked, and the other 2 were during the day, and I had told her to ask again before bed and she forgot. A couple of times we had put her to bed without nursing, it was late and everyone was tired, so we weren’t thinking anything of it. She whined a little bit and promptly fell asleep.
That’s how baby led weaning or baby led solids is supposed to work. Eventually baby eats enough of the other food that she doesn’t want anything extra before bed. With my first, we kind of chose a date and because she had slowed way down, gradually decreasing intake, I let her father put her to bed, and after a couple of whines, that was that. She only asked one other time when she was super hungry and we gave her a different snack instead. She was around 17 months. This time it was around 22 months and she seemed to nurse more for comfort than anything. I think because of the pregnancy, my milk had basically stopped coming in anyway. She wasn’t taking in any nutrients. She didn’t ask every night, and when prompted if she ‘needed anything’ else she said no and went to bed. So it was a gradual end.
However, because it wasn’t planned, I didn’t really get an ‘end’ like I did with my other one. With her, I sang to her, and talked to her, and told her what a beautiful baby she was, and I really don’t know how many weeks ago my toddler had asked. Now granted, I was paying attention to her, and talking to her, but the last few times were not sweet, as she had gotten out of the habit and ended up nursing for teething’s sake and pinching me a bit. Not uncommon, I don’t think with breasts that were already sore from pregnancy. When I told her it hurt, she stopped.
So today was a kind of different sort of closure. I tried distracting her, but it didn’t work. I figured, well at least I would remember it. So she pointed to ‘our’ spot on the couch, then eyed the ‘girls’ and picked a side. Then she changed her mind, so I settled her down in the other direction, ruffled her hair, and offered to let her nurse. At that point, she opened her mouth, then grinned really big and said, ‘no’ and ‘down’ and that was that. I kissed her and settled her down. I don’t think she’ll be asking again.
Although it was different than I had hoped, it was a mutual decision and happy ending to a very long, easy, and happy nursing relationship. I’m confident I did everything I could to give her the best as long as she needed it… and one of these days, her baby brother or sister will take up the nursling role. Until then, my kids have proven again that each child is different… and each moment, though not ‘perfect’ is just as sweet.