When I first got pregnant with Bug, and started thinking about breastfeeding, I knew I wanted to nurse at least a year. That was the AAP's recommendation. So, I nursed a year. In the meanwhile, though, I had learned that nursing never really loses its benefits. The WHO's recommendation was to nurse for two years (and longer if desired by both mother and child). So, I decided that I wanted to nurse for two years. I loved the idea of child-led weaning (CLW)...even though there were times when I refused to let Bug nurse, and I think that's against the rules of CLW. All the same, I knew that if Bug wanted to keep nursing after he turned two, I would let him. Even when I got pregnant, I knew I wanted to keep nursing Bug, if he wanted it. I often thought about tandem nursing Bug and the new baby. I really had mixed feelings about it, as I have had mixed feelings about nursing whenever it gets difficult! But, I knew I would do it, if that's what Bug really wanted and needed.
Bug is only a couple of weeks away from turning two. For the past couple of weeks, Bug has only been nursing for nap time, and rarely for bedtime. Everyday around 2pm, Bug would demand to nurse...and if he couldn't nurse, he wouldn't nap. I figured that I would be nursing him down for a nap for a long time still, because he seemed so attached to that. It wasn't so bad for me though, because it meant I could lay down for a nap, too. (And what pregnant woman doesn't want to take a daily nap??)
Apparently, a long Saturday away from home and then a long Sunday, with afternoon church services, would be all that Bug needed to decide he didn't need his nursies any more. When Monday's nap time came around, all Bug wanted was to hold his nursies...but he didn't want to nurse. And he fell asleep. Same for Tuesday. Today is day five of absolutely no nursing [so far].
I think I'm a little bit in shock with it all. I really did want to wean Bug. And I had been secretly hoping that he would decide he was done with it -before- the new baby came. But, at the same time, I have enjoyed how easy it made parenting. I've been going through the pros and cons of nursing a toddler a lot lately. And, consequently, I have been arguing back and forth with myself about whether to wean...or not.
-I must be with Bug in order for him to nurse. That gives me less time for myself.
-Sometimes, especially once I became pregnant, nursing HURT! (Especially once my milk supply vanished.)
-Bug often would whine and pull at my shirt and throw a fit if I wouldn't/couldn't nurse him exactly when he wanted to nurse.
-Magic Mommy Milk soothes tears of all kinds (whether there is actually milk in there or not!)
-Teeny tiny bits of immunity boosting colostrum are probably still getting into Bug's system, even if I think I'm as dry as the Sahara!
-Easy way to get Bug to sleep.
-Easy way to keep Bug in bed when -I- want to sleep!
-I cherish the closeness and bonding that we have in the nursing relationship (provided I'm not all touched out and cranky when Bug decides he wants to nurse!)
This is definitely not a comprehensive list. It's hard to remember every feeling I have about nursing when I haven't nursed Bug in 5 days! But, I always realize that the Pros list is longer. That's why I was willing to keep it up, even when it was hard or annoying.
I'm kind of surprised that Bug decided he didn't need his nursies anymore, before he turned two. I really thought we would make that milestone (and we were SO close!!). But, I have to remember, this isn't a race for me to win. It was all about making sure my child had all the physical and emotional support that he needed, when he needed it. And I'm still doing that, just in different ways.
So now, when we lay in bed for nap time, I just let Bug put his hands up my shirt and hold on to his nursies. It's a process, both gentle and turbulent. I'm just glad to know that Bug will never wean off of hugs and kisses!