Then I actually had a baby and survived those early days of nursing and things began to change. Long story short, I became a Breastfeeding Momma and my whole mothering worldview shifted.
|They were both "still" nursing when this picture was taken|
I intended to wean E on her third birthday. I know it sounds totally arbitrary, but at the time it made perfect sense to me. Then we had the Great Spider Incident, a week-long saga in which some evil bug or spider (I'm still not 100% sure what) chomped on her leg and it swelled up ridiculously, and then she got a fever, and started puking, and ended up in urgent care on a Sunday morning (Mother's Day 2009 to be exact) and received lots of strong antibiotics for an additional two weeks. This all began the week of her birthday, so of course I couldn't stop nursing her then. I never really pushed the issue for most of the summer. (Hubby had left in February and we were just trying to survive mid-deployment insanity.) But then around the beginning of August I noticed she was only nursing for about a minute before bed, and almost never fell asleep nursing. She had long since given up napping, so we had been at the "only bedtime" stage for quite a while, but now even that seemed to be more of a cursory nod rather than a true need, or even a heartfelt want.
So we stopped. I don't remember the last time I nursed Agent E. I imagine we probably sat in the rocker in our bedroom at bedtime and she nursed for 30-60 seconds before putting her down in bed and her drifting off. It may have taken a few days of "reminders" that we just snuggled at bedtime now, but no real fuss or muss of any kind.
By the time Agent J came along, I had more of a clue. I had already breastfed for almost two years, including through the entire pregnancy. We had none of the difficulties her big sister and I had. Agent J latched on immediately and never looked back.
J became more of a "serious" nurser than E; she rarely nursed for comfort, even as a newborn, and pretty much took an all-business approach. I was actually a bit surprised when she continued showing an interest past her first birthday, yet she did. I became pregnant with her little brother when she was 21 months old, and we started the pregnancy with our nursing relationship humming along at its usual pace.
|Agent J on our trip to Germany, just after she weaned|
Part of me was sad because I really, really wanted to remember her last nursing session as positive, especially since I could barely recall her sister's. Truthfully, though, I enjoyed the "break" I had from nursing for about five months until Agent A came along.
I breastfed both of them for one year and three months. I nursed two children to sleep every night for over a year. Both girls remember nursing fondly, as I mused about in For the Love of Moe. They have watched their little brother nurse many, many times and talk about how some day they will do the same for their babies. Breastfeeding is so ho hum to them. It's just what mommies and babies do.
One final note: I have no pictures of Agent E breastfeeding. More than three years, and not one photo. I have one of Agent J, taken when she was about 2.5 months old. This is why I take (and post) a bazillion and one photos of Agent A nursing. If you are reading this and you are just beginning your nursing relationship, photograph it. Have someone take pictures for you at every opportunity. You won't regret it.