Celebrating Breastfeeding: A Weaning Story
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I have been breastfeeding since July 17, 2009. Straight through, no stops. 18 of those months, I was breastfeeding two kids at once. Wow! I'm still amazed every day that my body was producing food that whole time.
It's been a ride, for sure. When I was nursing my first son, a lot of factors combined into a situation where I wasn't producing enough milk. I supplemented with formula and nursed him until he was 2.5. For my second son, I had just the right amount of milk, and by the time I had my third son my body was making so much milk I was able to tandem nurse and pump over 200 ounces for the HMBANA milk bank in Columbus, Ohio!
My youngest son is about to turn 3. Several months ago, he began gradually weaning. He'd nurse a bit less each day, both in frequency and in length of nursing sessions. I could tell I wasn't producing much milk anymore. He asked to nurse one day after having not nursed for several days, and I knew it would be the last time.
I'm not sure how, but I knew. He never asked again...but I offered a few times. The other day I asked him why he doesn't ask for milkies anymore, and he said, "Because I drank them all. They're all in my belly!"
I had so many big feelings about weaning! Breastfeeding has been my go-to parenting trick for so long. Kid crying? Offer milk. Kid can't sleep? Offer milk. Now I feel like I have to figure out other ways to meet everyone's needs.
It's bittersweet, to be sure. It's so hard to believe my last baby is about to start preschool, hitting so many big-kid milestones, and weaning.
But can I let you in on a secret? It feels really, really great to have my body back to myself. When I'm sick, I take whatever medications seem right, without concern for them transferring through my milk. When my husband and I plan dates, I don't have to consider pumping, engorgement, bedtime nursies...we just go.
One of the places I need to go post haste is Levana Bratique for a fitting. Every time one of my friends weans and asks me what she should do to honor this achievement, I suggest a new bra fitting and a fancy bra. I don't say this because I work for a bra store. I say this because I believe it's true.
For 8 years, my breasts have been working hard and changing shape and size and growing food to sustain human life. I want to throw them a retirement party. From nursing, of course. I want to lift them up to where they should hang, show them off with a bit of lace. I want to hug them in silky material, draw them forward so they're out of my armpits.
Usually, when I go in for a fitting, I have a style in mind that I'd like to buy (my, how I wish this Stardust bra worked for my body!) but I also know that if a bra doesn't fit me perfectly, I won't wear it often. Every time I leave a fitting, I am carrying a bra that is gorgeous and comfortable, that fits me like a second skin. Who knows! Maybe my post-weaning breasts will fit into the Stardust bra at last! If not, I trust Judy to get me into something gorgeous.
How did you celebrate weaning? It's never too late to pop in for a fitting and a hug to celebrate this milestone. If you're not local, we can celebrate you electronically with our Virtual Bra Fitting® Bra Sizing Service!