I never realized that breastfeeding would be more than just feeding any babies I had. I never realized that it was more than just health benefits for both of us, that it was more than food and water wrapped up in one. I didnt know that it would dry tears during a hysterical crying fit from a fall down cement steps, I didnt know that it would help dull teething pain while multiple teeth (including incisors) try to bust through all at once. I didnt know that it would soothe belly pains and bumped knees and bad moods and anxiety and stranger danger. I didnt know that it was a bandaid, that it could be used as actual medicine, for eye drops and nose spray and diaper cream and more. I didnt know that the sound of her gulping could soothe my own soul.
It hasnt been easy, from the moment that I placed her on my chest and let her crawl her way up and I had to put my fear aside. I had only breastfed her sister for 2 weeks, and that 2 weeks was a constant struggle, between the shield and the pumping and the cluelessness and the strange women touching me trying to help..gruffly I might add, etc. So I was terrified this time around, that it wasnt going to work out again, and again I would find myself sitting up bawling my eyes out feeling like a failure as a mom. The first 48 hours of her life she nurse around the clock, AROUND THE CLOCK FOR 48 HOURS...just let that process for a second. Look at her, this was her first latch after we did the breast crawl.
After that, we dealt with an oversupply and engorgement like you wouldnt believe (hellooooo big ol booglies!) and learning to block feed, we dealt with thrush that was resistant to all three rounds of nystatin but had nothing on gentian violet...of course that meant we both had to be purple for a bit, but then it got easier. It got so easy that I began to feel bad for moms who couldnt just whip out a boob and go...oh, and I got to watch her grow...and grow....and grow....and grow! Going from 7lbs 11oz, to maxing out at around 32.5lbs somewhere between 8-10months old, she was ENORMOUS.
But thats not the point of this post, the point is we have made it to 2 years old and counting. I thought I would stop at 1 year, I thought I would stop at 18 months...I never thought we would make it to 2 years, but somewhere around 3 months I decided I would stop when she decided we were ready....but things change. I'm not planning to cut her off entirely, because boobies has been everything I said above and her blankie, and her lullaby..boobies has been her entire world for 2 plus years, and just ripping them away would be cruel...so we are weaning gently for her sake...and mine.
Mine, because I didnt realize that breastfeeding would be such a large part of my life, I didnt realize that in this journey of life, that I would need closure when it came to stopping, that this would be such a bittersweet transition. *break to let you know that I have incredible friends* As I was making the decision to wean, my friend (who is a henna artist, click it to see some of her awesomeness) threw this idea at me of a chest piece having to do with a nursing photo shoot, how serendipitous right? So we put together this concept of a series of symbols, the henna turned out gorgeous and helped me to find closure through their representations.
there are symbols for love, cherished moments, transformation, renewal, healing, strength, enlightenment, rebirth, reflection, balance.
Sadly the henna didnt last until we made time to take the pictures, you will see it, but its also very faded...but thats okay, because just getting it, and having it, helped me. I decided on the henna and the photos as one last hurrah before starting the weaning, and since the henna and photos we have completely weaned during daylight hours. She is still nursing at night, but that is also being cut down gradually. Its harder at night because we bedshare and I'm asleep when shes nursing, but with the other recent changes in our lives, this wont last much longer, but I'm okay with where we are right now :) So, without further ado: