I lay here snuggled close to you in your bed. Your little hand still cradles my nipple, but your lips no longer do. Your eyes are drooping, but you are not yet asleep. I caress your hair at your temple, and hum softly. I finish a verse and pause, and you sleepily say “Try again, Mommy,” so I begin the song again. I can remember a moment such as this, when I must have been just about your age: cradled sleepily in my own mother’s arms while she sang to me in the dark, waking just enough to ask her to sing it again. And as I wonder what of this you may recall when you are older, I notice that you are sound asleep, and I stop my humming. And I hope that I, at least, will remember this moment always.
I wrote that two years ago about Munchkin. I was weeping as I wrote it because I felt so sure that she was so close to weaning. I wondered if she was old enough that she would remember later how much she loved nursing. During my pregnancy with Sweets, Munchkin had gone from nursing 5 times per day to less than once per week. She even went two weeks between nursing sometimes. I was sure that our nursing days were numbered. And the thought of it made me cry. My goal had been to nurse her for two years, and we had surpassed that by another half a year, but I still wasn’t ready for her to be done. Nursing had been such a big part of our relationship for so long (well, her entire life), certainly much more than a mode of nutrition. Even though she only nursed sporadically, I still very much identified myself as a “nursing mother” and her as a “nursing toddler.”
But it didn’t end. Munchkin continued to nurse sporadically for the rest of my pregnancy, and then tandem nursed after Sweets was born. There were a few other times when I was just so sure that she was about to wean, like the time she outright told me that she didn’t want to nurse because it made her feel sick, and then she still didn’t wean. I remember a La Leche Leage meeting when I was on maternity leave with Sweets – the topic was weaning and I was in tears thinking that Munchkin would likely wean soon. As time goes on though, I’m not so weepy about it anymore. When I think about her weaning now, I feel more proud than sad. I think I must be ready. Now I’m just waiting for her to be ready too.
I find myself thinking again that Munchkin is going to wean very soon. She is now 4.5 years old and has started complaining that she “can’t get to the milk” when she nurses, which upsets her because she does not want to wean. I’m not sure why it happened, but it seems that she’s not able to get a let-down by herself anymore. If she nurses together with Sweets, she can get milk, but not usually on her own now. This has been going on for about two weeks, and she has drastically cut down on how often she nurses, from twice most days lately, to only 3 times all week. So, again, I wonder if she is going to be weaned soon. But this time I know better than to hold my breath. I’ll believe it when I see it.