Casey was my pro nurser from the very first hour of her birth. Other than occasionally trying out a new tooth, we never had any issues. Unless you count attempting to nurse nearly standing on my lap- superman style. When she was about 15 months I was blessed with a pregnancy. We had wanted to wait until she was weaned or close to it, but God had other plans. My breasts were never very painful, perhaps because they were full of milk so I didn’t have a lot of aches and pains to deal with during the first trimester. It was about that time she started taking cow’s milk from a cup very well. I dropped a feeding or two, and exhaustion led me to the ‘don’t offer, don’t refuse’ basically a nap and night time nursing pattern. I figured this would continue and perhaps we’d end up with a tandem pair.
She was put down a couple of different nights for meetings without a fuss, and without a nurse. I had only recently begun overnight weaning as it was, over a year of waking repeatedly just to change a diaper and soothe her back to sleep had taken its toll. I offered her yogurt and milk or water instead and that worked out fairly well. A couple of days I was so tired I just wanted to lay down, so I put her down for nap without a nurse as well. She put up minimal fuss as she was very tired anyway. I had hoped a few days of that and I would be back on my feet, but the older children kept me awake during that time anyway, so I never felt well rested. So I began putting her down for nap, knowing we still had a night time nurse to comfort her. She had a really bad stomach bug and had nursed a lot then, so I had plenty of milk.
From time to time I would ask her during those evening feeds if she was getting milk, and she would nod furiously, and if it was good, and she would nod again. None of the sessions lasted very long. Then one day she latched during a nap time and it hurt. I tried again and it still hurt. I told her she’d have to be careful or she wouldn’t nurse. I put her to bed. This happened during a night time session too. I’m not sure if I was just in pain or if she really was grinding some new teeth against me (she’s finally getting in teeth 9 and 10, way late). But she hasn’t asked at nap or night since then. She has asked a few mornings and I tell her to wait until nap but she forgets to ask again. Tonight she completely rejected when I opened the clasp of my shirt so I let her go. I’m not sure if she remembered that it hurt or if the milk tastes weird or what.
With the other kids, I had good solid memories of holding them during their last nurses. Cuddling them, singing to them, getting them to hold my hand as I absorbed their baby-ness a few last times. I did that a few times about a week before the last time she nursed. I sang El Shaddai and played with her copper curls. I told her I loved her and kissed her forehead, mouth still latched. My baby is switching into toddler mode. If she asks again another morning, I won’t put her off. I’ll hold her, and sing to her and save that memory. My body is making room for another baby. Soon my lap won’t hold her. My arms will be tired. Then full. I won’t be able to pick her up. She’s just a few days shy of 18 months. Still too much of a baby to do anything on her own, not enough of a big kid to take care of herself.