"Mommy milk" is what we call it here.
It is a miracle. Sure, it can be explained scientifically; we can talk of hormones and ducts and production.
But it sure seems miraculous that I've been able to nourish my children with a sweet, perfect substance made by my own body, and have bonded with them on a level beyond physical, chemical reactions.
I nursed Chickie almost two and a half years, including nine months of pregnancy, and three months of tandem nursing (breastfeeding both her and Zoodle.) Weaning Chickie was a remarkably smooth process.
I figured I might not breastfeed Zoodle quite so long, but I don't think I expected that, at 18 months, almost a year younger than Chickie's weaning age, he'd be losing interest. Lately, Zoodle seems to touch my shirt and ask, "Ma?" (Milk?) mostly out of habit. If I "expose the taps," so to speak, he often doesn't even take a sip; if I tell him no, he doesn't seem to mind. When he does nurse, it's usually for a few seconds or maybe a minute; he's only been really getting down to business and taking full feedings about once or twice a week.
I certainly didn't expect that I'd feel so ready to be done. When Chickie was 18 months, I couldn't imagine stopping, even when I found out I was pregnant with Zoodle. But, oh my goodness, I've been nursing for three years and nine months (today), and I'm just done with it.
At least I think I am.
This is really an emotional decision. Human milk is such an amazingly nourishing substance. The World Health Organization recommends at least two years of nursing, and while I think I want this phase of my life to be over, I also feel guilty. And a little sad, because it's been such a beautiful thing for my relationship with my kids.
But when it comes down to it, I'm just tired of being a nursing mom. I'm tired of being depended on in that way. I'm ready for my body to belong to two people--me and my husband--without that adorable third wheel asking, "Ma?"
I think the timing makes sense, since Zoodle doesn't seem too attached to nursing right now. He did fine when I was away for a weekend, and shortly before that, he didn't nurse for 48 hours even when I was nearby, just because he wasn't interested.
So, when I look at his loss of interest--and mine--I think it's time. I didn't nurse him at all yesterday. A very short session on Monday afternoon was probably our last.
I'm relieved. I'm sad.
And I'll always treasure this "Mommy milk" miracle.