Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Gently, Softly, Steadily

When Mia turned six months, somewhere in the back of my mind I recognized that I was coming very close to the end-point of my nursing relationship with her two older siblings. Though I don't have an exact date recorded for Abby, I remember that she was about six months old. For Michael, I know that he was exactly six-and-a-half.

Each time, I was reluctant to end things; most especially with Michael. I'd nursed him exclusively nearly up to the day that I didn't nurse anymore, and had intended to take steps to continue on, while supplementing, even through pregnancy, but found that between his reluctance and my own exhaustion, I simply couldn't.

Today, as I nursed Mia to sleep and reflected on the difficulty I've been having with her of late in staying focused, it occurred to me that by now I was- very likely- venturing into uncharted breastfeeding territory with her. Locating the post that I wrote on my grief over weaning Michael confirmed it for me: by the third week into his seventh month, we were done.

Mia is now poised to start her eighth month. She'll be turning seven months in just four days, and we're still going strong. I want to say that the realization is purely joyful, but- as with most milestones I've ever reached with my children- it's heavy on the bittersweet. Every day that I can now give her I cannot help but feel sad that I could not give my other two.

New worries and fears have begun to occur to me now, as well. In the short-term: What will I do when those top teeth come in, if she decides to try biting? What tactics can I employ to reduce her level of distraction as the world becomes more and more fascinating to her? In the long-term: How will I be able to determine when it's time to wean? How will I approach it? How will I cope with the end of a (likely) much more fully-developed nursing relationship than ever before?

For now, however, I know that I must push such stray thoughts and considerations aside. What's important, after all, is that we're still going on: gently, softly, steadily. We're happy, we're comfortable, we're working.

And until the day we're not, we will continue to be.