It turns out, after incessantly (and sometimes publicly, via this blog) complaining about how tired I am, how many times I wake up a night to breastfeed, and how much I hate pumping, I am not ready to wean after all. This realization hit me full in the face these past 9 days that I’ve been unemployed, waiting for my contract to renew. I’ve been at home with the Little Apple, watching her nurse less and less and less. She really only asks to breastfeed right before naptime, and then at night, as she nurses to sleep. During the day, it feels like I’m the one shoving the breast in her mouth. She will gamely suckle for a bit, then roll off my lap and go play after a few seconds.
A couple times this I week I even lifted my shirt up to flash her my boobs in a much less attractive rendition of Girls Gone Wild (Breastfeeding Mommies Gone Wild?), and she would just smile at me winsomely, giggle, and then crawl off in the opposite direction. Do I actually have to campaign to get her to breastfeed? What gives? I guess what gives is, she’s ready to wean. And the strange and sad truth is, I’m not. But why aren’t I ready? Haven’t I been looking forward to the end of pumping, to taking back my body, to uninterrupted sleep? Or is this part of a more general pattern of my behavior, which goes something like this: I moan and groan and whine until I get what I want, and then when I get what I want, I don’t want it anymore?
I don’t know. If I had to put my finger on it, it’s probably because I knew that as soon as I stopped pumping, the end of nursing would inevitably follow, so I’ve been extracting every ounce of enjoyment out of our waning breastfeeding moments. I’ve been loving the closeness of her little body, the feeling of our tummies rubbing together, the sensation of her little chubby hands caressing my sides, and just her overall willingness to lie still next to me, hugging and snuggling, for more than five minutes at a time. And now that she wants it less and less as she transitions to cow’s milk, almond milk, or what-have-you, I find myself in mourning. It really was a precious time in her life. It really was a precious time in my life. That I didn’t treasure and cherish it every second, that I even sometimes resented it, is something that now fills me with regret.
Well, there’s nothing for it now except to enjoy every remaining moment of nursing to the fullest. It’s a lesson that I will hopefully apply more broadly, to every moment of my daughter’s life with me, to all moments of the rest of my life here on Earth.