Sunday, December 16, 2012

The end of an era

Tehilla, who always asked to be nursed before nap time and sleep time, dispensed with her beloved routine as a matter of course. She is now 2 years and 3 months old. 

Such an event, I imagine, is bittersweet for many mothers all around the world, but I am at peace and thankful for what had been. I can give praise and feel deep gratitude for knowing that, at least, this first and essential task of motherhood was accomplished successfully. Nursing my children was a lovely long period of time, and I enjoyed it to the fullest. Now we are ready to move on to other things, different but equally wonderful, that life has in store for us. 

We have gone a long way. When I first became a mother, I wasn't sure whether I'm holding the baby the right way, whether I'm producing, and she getting, any milk. An uneducated remark of a doctor about my ability to nurse reduced me to tears. But with Tehilla, it was all pretty much smooth sailing, which acted like a balm for past wounds, and I had had the most wonderful two and something years. 

To this day, I only have a vague idea of where baby formula is located on supermarket shelves, and how to prepare it, because I have never done that myself, and we never kept formula in the house. 

I will always have fond memories of breastfeeding, will always be a breastfeeding advocate, and will always be ready to share my (limited) experience with new Moms, and help in any small way I can to promote the lovely experience of breast-nourishment (physical and emotional) for other mothers and babies. 

This beautiful oil painting is "The Young Mother", by Charles West Cope, from 1845


Lady Anne said...

There is nothing in the world quite like the feeling of nursing your child. Warm and comforting, and the sweet way they look up and smile at you. Just melts my heart - and my babies are 46! You are certainly blessed to have been able to nurse them for so long. They will be wonderful, strong children as a result. Mazel Tov!

Kate said...

Awesome Anna! I nursed my little guy for 13 months, wish we went longer but he was done after that. I'm so glad you have fond memories. I have wonderful memories and pictures I'll treasure forever. It's such a wonderful gift of motherhood. Congrats to you on nursing for over 2 years that's awesome!

Victoria Kovler said...

May I ask how your baby 'dispensed' of the routine of nursing? My little nosh is 6 months and is breastfed on demand (along with solids now). He requires nursing to sleep and nursing if he wakes in the night. I never thought I'd breastfeed and am ever so proud of myself, but wonder how it comes to be that babies wean themselves off, so to speak?

I'm happy to continue breastfeeding as my son Nathaniel will not accept a bottle or formula but I would appreciate some advice on how and when babies 'decide' they no longer want it!

Many thanks

Victoria, Essex, England

Mrs. Anna T said...

Dear Victoria,

6 months old is still a very young baby; at that age, I honestly didn't even think of weaning. It happened at 15 months with my first (I was pregnant and just dried up) and at 27 months with my second, naturally. With Tehilla, who nursed longer, I stopped *offering* the breast at around 18 months, when she was able to ask coherently for it. So, she asked... and asked... until one day she skipped. Then another day she asked again, and then she skipped once more... as she grew, the need became gradually less pronounced, and one day, she just dropped it and never looked back.

So, to sum it up, I don't believe *babies* wean themselves off, not under normal circumstances, but toddlers certainly do and it happened for me both times, pain and effort-free. I am so glad I did not push weaning at the 1-year mark which is considered normal weaning age here.

Victoria Kovler said...

That's really helpful, and reassuring. England is not very pro breastfeeding - even though the government are currently pushing a mammoth breastfeeding campaign as they believe it will save the National Health Service millions of pounds in the long run, due to less allergies, childhood ailments etc.

The common weaning age here is 6 months. People assume you'll stop BF as soon as the baby turns 6 months. Sadly most people have given up well before that due to lack of support and advice on common queries age hiccups along the way. Had it not been for my sheer determination and self belief that I could nourish my baby, I too would have caved in due to the anti breastfeeding peer pressure!!

Many thanks for the reply, and loving the name Tehilla. I stumbled across your blog by accident whilst doing a middle of the night feed and am so pleased to have done so - you have a gentle, informative prose style that's so articulate and well written. Keep it coming please!!