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It is hard to believe that my daughter's first birthday is only three weeks away. I think her tiny size and the whirlwind year we've had makes it hard to grasp that she is making her way into toddlerhood. My first daughter's first year crawled by; I was so aware of each milestone and anniversary, each new tooth and new word. This time around has been different. I lose track of days and months now that I have two babies to keep up with. In a matter of days, we will have reached the golden standard for breastfed babies. We will have breastfed a full year.
This milestone brings up a very important question for me: to wean or not to wean?
Just last month, I confessed out loud for the very first time since we started our breastfeeding journey that I was burnt out. I am feeling ready to be done with this whole nursing thing, and I felt relieved to say it. I was even more relieved to hear that I was not alone in this feeling.
Pro baby-led weaning from the get go, I anticipated full-term breastfeeding for this little girl. Now with this milestone just around the corner, I'm feeling guilty for knowing the benefits of extended breastfeeding but considering a different approach.
As someone who practices and preaches attachment parenting, surely I don't have it in me to wean as soon as her birthday rolls around. Or do I?
There is a nagging thought in the back of my mind: What if this is my last breastfed baby? Am I really ready to say goodbye?
Weaning would mean no more 9 a.m., 11:30 a.m., 2 p.m. and 5 p.m. trips down the elevator to the tiny, windowless office that is perpetually 80 degrees to hook myself up to a pump. It would mean no more bruised nipples from said time attached to the pump. It would mean maybe, hopefully, getting my body back. (I'm one of the lucky ones who don't lose weight while breastfeeding.) Other perks? Wearing normal bras and clothes again—not to mention, staying out for more than three hours without having to decide if I should hunt down a bathroom with an outlet and try to ignore the stares.
It seems like a simple choice, like I may be leaning one way, doesn't it? Actually, I'm not so sure. As long as we're nursing, I have milk always warm, always ready. Mama's milk is the perfect fix for every boo-boo. Then there's the whole science thing, the studies that show that full-term breastfeeding is the way to go. Over and over again, I've read about the antibodies and the nutrients and healthy attachment. On top of all of that, weaning is the end of an aspect of our relationship I am not sure either of us are ready to let go of. There is a nagging thought in the back of my mind: What if this is my last breastfed baby? Am I really ready to say goodbye to this season of my life?