I no longer have a nursling. I was very lucky to be able to continue nursing my youngest as long as I did, just over 2 years. YAY. I do have mixed feelings about it though. Nursing definitely wasn't something that came easy and I haven't always wanted to nurse my babies.
With my first our nursing relationship was a struggle from day one. She came out of the womb wanting to suck and did so non stop for the first week. I finally broke down on day 2 in tears and had DH bring me a soother so that my poor aching nipples could get a break and so I could get some rest. The next 8 weeks we had nurses over a number of times to check latch and baby. She was doing fine but I had horribly sore, cracked, bleeding nipples and I cried every single time she latched. It was determined that I just was sensitive and would get over it. I was so lucky that DH supported me throughout this as well as my Step Mom. Not only did I have soreness issues but I couldn't eat anything without DD1 getting gas and fussy. I cut out milk, broccoli, onions and well pretty much everything but bread and butter. I never enjoyed nursing her and when I became pregnant at 6 months I was only too happy to switch her over to a bottle and be done with it.
With my second nursing was much easier but I still had feelings of resentment and trepidation. When she was 3 months old I had to return to work part time and we tried switching her to a bottle for when I was gone but she would have none of it. I ended up rushing home during my Sat Lunch hour nursing and eating at the same time only to rush back. On my Sunday shifts I couldn't make it home for 5 hours + a half hour total travel time. DH tried his best to get her to take a bottle often dribbling it in to her mouth one drop at a time but all too often she would refuse and fuss and wait until I got home. I worried but she continued to grow and thrive. Finally around the 6 month mark she decided that bottles weren't the devils tools and decided that she actually liked them better. I was relieved to say the least. I had a mild case of PPD and nursing just wasn't helping me.
It wasn't until baby #3 that I discovered how wonderful and rewarding nursing could be. She was just a dream to nurse, gained weight like a sumo wrestler and was content no matter what I ate. We happily nursed all the time, but she did get one bottle of formula a day just so I could get out if needed. We learned that it could get overwhelming for me to be so tied to the house. I became pregnant when DD3 was 9 months old and was happily planning on nursing while pregnant but she had other ideas. She started refusing the breast and demanding the bottle and I allowed her the freedom to choose. After all we had a great run with nursing and I was confident that she had the best start possible.
Baby #4 and my only Son continued the nursing trend. He was a dream to nurse, I had no desire to even introduce the bottle, although I do think we did at one point. He wasn't a fan. We were going along swimmingly until my body began to betray me. I started dropping weight like I was exercising 100 times a day, my supply dwindled and nothing I did could get it up. I finally went to the doctor when the shakes and the extreme hunger became too much to ignore. I was diagnosed with Post Pregnancy Hyperthyroidism and sent for a CT scan with radioactive contrast and was told to wean my son. I did it in a week and went for my scan. Of course once I had the scan the symptoms began to go away, my thyroid stabilized and within 6 months I was back to normal or possibly a bit hypothyroid. The damage was done though and my nursing relationship with my son was well over. We bonded in other ways, thank God for babywearing, and he is still my snugglebug to this day. I am sure I could have continued nursing now that I look back or maybe only taken a break. Life is too short to live with regrets though.
Nursing Miss V hasn't always been easy but I have been more then happy that we have been able to nurse so long. I had hyperactive letdown the first 9 months or so and would be almost in tears each time my milk came in. I knew that nursing was the only way I wanted to feed her though so I persevered. By one year nursing was second nature. We nursed in bed, on the couch, on the beach and on the side of the road when we took our long drives. She loved playing with my hair while nursing and as she got older would come up to me and ask for Boobies. I got sick though and by day 3 in hospital she wasn't even asking to nurse anymore. I couldn't anyway because the antibiotics weren't safe but I kind of held out hope that she would want to o back to it. No such luck though and she happily is drinking my water out of my cup instead of my milk.
I am sad, but happy too. This is one small step on her road to independence. I wasn't ready for my last baby to cut the cord so to speak but she obviously was. I am going to cherish the new ways that we find to snuggle and bond. My favorite way right now is how she wraps her arms around my neck in bed so she can play with my hair. Before I know it she will be going to sleep overs and then on dates.
They grow up way too fast.