I've been pregnant or nursing every day for the last 3 years. Probably my longest running job, if I'm being honest. Becoming a mother has been one of the most healing and fulfilling experiences of my life. I didn't expect my children to teach me all of the things I've learned so far in this parenting adventure. But like all good things, this stage in my life come to an end. Maybe we'll have more kids in the future, maybe not. For right now, I am so very over nursing my daughter. It's time to wean.
I've never had a timeline location of how long I would nurse my children. I have read so much about the benefits of breastfeeding. Mother and child both get something amazing out of the nursing relationship! Obviously, babies get nutrition, hydration, comfort, immune support, and more. Women who breastfeed increase their risk of breast, uterine, and cervical cancers. Every year you breastfeed, you decrease your risk! Let's not forget the beauty of bonding through breastfeeding. The emotional support element is exactly I call breastfeeding "nursing". Both mother and child get benefits far beyond just feeding.
I know that the World Health Organization recommends breastfeeding until the age of two. I also know my daughter has not needed my milk for nutrition for many months now.
Cue the friends, strangers, and family members asking, "Are you still doing that?"
Because I'm one of the most stubborn people I know, hearing comments like that make me want to double down. It's really not a matter of proving anyone wrong so much as reiterating that their opinion has no place in my choices.
But I am finally, of my own volition, accepting that this journey has to come to an end.
For well over four years, I have abstained from my necessary ADD medication. I was diagnosed with ADD as an adult. Treating my condition has dramatically changed my life for the better. Because my medication is contraindicated for pregnancy and nursing, I haven't been able to take it.
My youngest is 18 months old. She is bright, joyful, wonderfully chunky, and a voracious eater. When she asks for "booby", it's almost always a matter of comfort. Luckily, I'm perfectly capable of comforting her in other ways.
Running around after two toddlers might seem like a joy to some. Many days, it is just that! But I also work. I volunteer. I try to maintain some semblance of a social life. When I am unable to medicate my brain dysfunction, my ADD, every part of my life suffers. I'm not my best self, let alone my best mother when I have to spend so much energy fighting against my own brain.
So here we are. Without putting a timeline in place, without the intention to make certain "milestones", I've wound up nursing both my children for well over a year each. It's been lovely and frustrating and heartwarming and difficult. I will fondly remember the sweetness of a suckling newborn and the silliness of toddler "gymnurstics". But I'd be lying if I said I'm not excited to get my boobs back to myself. To be able to stop wearing clothes and bras specifically designed for nursing. Most importantly, I am glad my kids will get to know their mom as the best mom I can be - and that mom takes medication to treat her ADD.