Breastfeeding Memories

by Alissa on July 13, 2011

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Let me take you back to Saturday, June 11, 2011 at about 4 in the morning.  I was drowsy.  As is my custom, I waited until the last minute to start packing for a trip.  And by ‘waited until the last minute’ I mean ‘decided that I should probably pack at midnight, 6 hours before my flight takes off’.  I was leaving to fly 1200 miles away from my husband and son for three days to photograph a wedding of a dear friend.

Solomon had only been nursing once or twice a day for a couple months, and so I knew that he might wean while I was away.  So when he called for me at 4 AM I got out of bed with a bit of a heart full of reminiscing.

I picked him up and sat in our rocking chair.  He said “Dee Dees!” which, just in case you don’t know toddlerspeak means “Yay for nursing!” I lifted my shirt and as he latched on I started remembering all of our nursing sessions.

The first time I nursed him… there in the candlelit room where I had labored for twenty-two hours, labored with purpose and patience and expectation.  The way he had gone right to the breast… he had been born, placed right up onto my chest.  He had cried one loud strong cry and then looked around intently for a minute, with eyes that just captured me from the start.  And then he turned his head toward me and we started down this long road that is now coming to an end.

I remembered the middle of the night feedings where I would just sit there and marvel over him, keep track of how long since his last feeding, if his diaper was wet or not.

I remembered nursing in all sort of places I never thought I would feel comfortable nursing: the library, the park, restaurants, with company over.  I remember just marveling at how beautiful the whole thing was and lamenting the lack of breastfeeding in my own extended family.

I think about how he used to lay there between me and his father and start sleeping nursing… smacking his little lips in his dreams.  How I would wake up to that and barely even register offering my breast to him before I went back to snuggled up sleep.

I remembered the first time he signed ‘nurse’ to me and how my heart broke a little at his independence and dependence.

I went back to the nights in the hospital when he had to be hooked up to an IV for hydration.  When he wouldn’t eat or drink or cry or do anything except be sick.  How he would just latch on and lay there in my arms, not even suckling, just in contact.  One hand on my breast caressing me even though he was so worn out his hand was hardly moving.  How happy it made me that he could be comforted enough to sleep soundly for a bit.

I thought about him running to me and saying “Dee Dees!” and nursing standing up for 27 seconds and then running back to the slide laughing.

I thought about the first night that he slept through the night and how I woke up startled that the sun was shining.

And I come back to that moment, right before I take off for a weekend trip without him.  I try to relish in the moment instead of thinking about schedules and apertures and flight times and whether I packed my toothbrush or not.  I kiss his ears, and sing our song, and tell him I love him.  And then he signs ‘I love you’ to me because he doesn’t want to unlatch long enough to say it.  And my heart just swells up to four times its size and I start crying, only he doesn’t see the tears because he is drifting back to a sweet sleep.

It has been a month since then.  A month since he last nursed.  I think it is safe to say that he has weaned now.  Twenty-two months of my life where I never went more than 24 hours without nursing Solomon.  Now he runs up to me and asks for water and a kiss and then runs back to the slide laughing.  Soon he’ll be asking me for the keys and then running off to a soccer game.  Asking me for my blessing and then running off to get married.

This has been such a beautiful twenty-two months!

Do you have fond memories of nursing?  I don’t know anyone else in person who has breastfed past a year or so.  Am I crazy to be so emotional about this?  Also, how did I live for so long without underwires?

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Alissa (15 Posts)

Alissa writes at A New History where she blogs about the challenge of authentic living with her husband, Levi and her almost two year old son, Solomon.


{ 21 comments… read them below or add one }

Ricca July 13, 2011 at 8:11 am

I have memories of each of my children nursing though the ones of my nearly 7 year old are faded, yellowed around the edges like an old photograph. I remember being anxious about nursing her and never really becoming comfortable with it, that is probably why despite my excellent supply I stopped at 5 months and rather than do the elimination diet (food intolerances) switched her to Alimentum. I don’t regret it per se because she became a much happier baby once her poor little tummy didn’t hurt anymore but I do feel a bit saddened that she and I didn’t have the same positive extended nursing experience as I did with her siblings.
I nursed her brother and then her sister for 15 months each, both weaning on their own when I was about 2 months pregnant with the next. I am currently nursing my 4th and final baby, she is almost 16 months old. I find that each nursing session where I can look down at her sweet face is almost like a time machine and it can transport me back months and even years to a moment with my other nurslings.
I have no intention of weaning her, I love those quiet moments that we share knowing that in those brief periods of time that she is still mine and that I am hers.

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Rebecca Rudness July 13, 2011 at 8:47 am

What a beautiful article, Alissa. Tears were streaming down my face as I was reading. I am currently nursing my 21 month old little boy & I often think about our last day nursing & how I will handle it. Honestly, I think it will be more difficult for me than him. You certainly conveyed the special bond that a mother & child share during breast feeding. Thank you for sharing.

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Johanna S July 13, 2011 at 8:55 am

Beautiful. Thank you for sharing! I remember feeling very emotional about breastfeeding when my daughter was your son’s age. Now, at three months shy of turning four, she still nurses once or twice a day. I have reached the point where I will feel happy when she weans herself. I can’t believe I am waiting on her to wean herself. When she was born I was hoping to nurse for a year. When she was two weeks old and we discovered she was tongue tied I thought I might just give up. And now here we are! I am getting many flashbacks after reading your post!

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sproutsmama July 13, 2011 at 9:13 am

Thank you for sharing this! It is a beautiful and touching tribute to your little nursling. My own (26 mos) nursling is down to 2-3 times per 24 hours, and I feel my own emotional farewell to our nursing relationship welling up inside. You aren’t the slightest bit crazy to feel the end of something that was so big a part of your lives together in these years.

And I’m looking forward to bra shopping when we’re well and truly done myself :)

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Amanda July 13, 2011 at 10:28 am

Thank you for sharing! I nursed my little guy (who is now my big boy) for 15 months. He is now 3. I do understand the bittersweet end of a nursing relationship, and I teared up reading your account. Beautifully written! I am currently nursing my 2nd child, and I think I enjoy it so much more because of my relationship with my first. It truly is a beautiful gift to give a child… the power of mother’s milk!

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Lindsey Wilson July 13, 2011 at 11:56 am

This brought tears to my eyes. What a beautifully written piece. It reminds me to treasure every moment with my darling daughter. Thank you.

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Jessica Schirm July 13, 2011 at 3:28 pm

I nursed my son for 20 months and have wonderfully fond memories similar to this. Nursing was my.very.favorite.part of being Anderson’s mom. Obviously that has been replaced with other favorite things now, he’s almost 5…but there are still times when I long for those snuggly nights, those quiet moments in the chair, those sweaty nursing sessions at a baseball game, even pumping while I was at work because just doing that made me feel connected to him even when we were apart for hours every day. I’m convinced our extended nursing has contributed to him being an incredibly snuggly, loving child even now. I hope our family is blessed with another baby someday and I’m so hopeful that nursing will be just as special as I remember it being.

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Janine @ Alternative Housewife July 13, 2011 at 4:25 pm

Lovely memories! Being able to comfort a sick baby with your body is probably the best part of breastfeeding in my opinion, although there are lots of things that I love. Congrats on 22 months!

And no, you aren’t too emotional – The thought of weaning mine makes me choke up!

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Lydia July 13, 2011 at 6:32 pm

So sweet- I completely know how you feel. I’m nursing both of my little ones right now, but I can tell my eldest, at 32 months, is on her way to weaning. It does make me feel emotional, although obviously we have had a long run, and a wonderful (if up and down through pregnancy and new baby) nursing relationship. I too know very few people in real life who have nursed past 1 year. It was so nice to read this and feel an instant connection with another nursing mama! Thanks-

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Dena July 14, 2011 at 7:18 am

Oh, how I loved your post! I am nursing my darling 15 month old son and I also know no one who has breastfed past a few months. I can’t believe I made it this far, especially working full time and pumping. I had a hard time breastfeeding at first, and so it is even sweeter now and I treasure every moment. Thanks for your beautiful story.

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m&m mom July 14, 2011 at 7:48 am

Beautiful story! I nursed both of our kids until 18 months and it was the sweetest thing. I never regretted getting up in the middle of the night and having that one on one time or that close bond with each of them. I don’t miss the little tank and nursing pads at nighttime and I was so happy to toss the nursing bras! Our kids are 21 months apart so I nursed 3 yrs. straight with only a couple month break. I wish more women could have the same experience as we have had with nursing. It truly is the most natural thing in the world and amazing to see your little one grow because of your milk. Thanks for the trip down memory lane!

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Gwen July 15, 2011 at 3:33 am

Thank you for this wonderful post, it’s so beautiful it made me cry. I’m lucky tk be still nursing my 20 month old. Each day I return from work and he shouts “me mees”, and I can relax and reconnect with him. I’m tired he still wakes up twice a night but he usually settles easily nursing back to sleep. I’m trying to make sure I commit all of this to memory I don’t ever want to forget! X

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Jessica July 15, 2011 at 12:47 pm

Thank you for such a wonderful post. My little guy just weaned 2 months ago at about 27 mths, and although I was ready for our breastfeeding to come to an end, there are times when I do miss stroking his little head while he nursed, or the funny little giggles we would share while he was at the breast. Though he no longer nurses, he still loves his ‘mummy milks’, giving them hugs and kisses daily, and saying that they talk to him and say “hello, how are you doing?”. I will cherish my breastfeeding memories, and feel that extended nursing was one of the best parenting decisions that I made.

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Amanda July 15, 2011 at 8:59 pm

Oh, you’ve made me cry! I am nursing my second baby, she is going to be a year in August and I am already seeing a decrease in her nursing sessions. It makes me so sad. My son only nursed to 13 months, and then he quit, mainly because I was pregnant I believe. I am determined to nurse my daughter longer, and I think I’m going to make it!!

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Rosie July 16, 2011 at 3:07 am

I’m crying…..thats lovely :-) xx

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Chasya-Uriel July 28, 2011 at 6:04 pm

I love this piece…I am crying and do not want my breastfeeding to end with my 8 month-old daughter. You reminded me how much I actually love breastfeeding her even though it has been challenging. Thank you.

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Amity July 28, 2011 at 6:36 pm

I also teared up as I read this. My 3 and a half year old son hasn’t nursed in about four months, but still asks for milk whenever he is hurt. He just stopped asking when he’s tired about a week ago. I didn’t want to wean him, and he wasn’t really ready to totally wean, but I needed to in order to get through the end of my pregnancy, and then just as I was ready to let him start again tandem nursing with his sister, the crowns on his two front teeth broke into jagged stumps which made my nipples bleed the one time he tried to nurse. We couldn’t get an appointment to have them fixed until the end of next month, and I’m afraid that he will have forgotten how to nurse by then. It breaks my heart to have lost that special connection with him before he was ready.

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Janet July 28, 2011 at 10:50 pm

I have one child who is 4 and 3/4. I let him self wean….well….he is almost self-weaned and it is sad and happy. I don’t if the last time of nursing has passed yet or not. It is sooo sporadic (now about once a week or week and a half) that I think it’s the last one and then he asks again in a week. The other day he asked and then he told me there wasn’t hardly anything there. That made me very sad to know that my body now knows it’s getting close. I know he will be my only child, the only one I’ll ever nurse so it saddens me sometimes. We had an amazing nursing relationship from moment one and I wouldn’t trade it for anything!!! Your story made me cry. I’m looking at my son sleeping next to me and wondering……was that the end? Or is this the beginning of a new relationship?

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Melissa October 29, 2012 at 10:23 am

I hope you see this comment as you wrote this so long ago. Thank you for sharing! So often I hear, “I made it to a year(or some lesser time) and I was so done with it.” It is good to hear stories from moms who feel the way I do. I have 26 month twins. It is such a blessing to be able to breastfeed! We had a rocky start from poor latches, lazy feeding and a low milk supply for the first few months. We are still nursing but on the road to weaning, something I don’t mind will be over but will just as much miss my sweet snuggles.

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Lara K April 8, 2014 at 9:26 am

Beautiful post. You’re definitely not alone! My daughter weaned herself this year after nearly four years of nursing. We had a tough challenging start to breastfeeding but by 11 weeks she was a pro and so was I. We nursed all over the place, too – and she went from signing “nursies” to asking for nursies to saying “Hey Mommy, how about if we nurse for a little while before we go to the park?” Now, she hasn’t nursed in several months, but habits are strong. If she’s very upset, her little hand creeps under my top and up to my chest – but then she remembers and removes it again. Such sweet, wonderful memories. I love the strong, independent girl she is now and she’ll still always be my sweet little baby, my nursling.

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Emma April 8, 2014 at 10:34 am

I am still nursing my 18 month old and love nursing. I started writing her letters about our nursing when she turned 8 1/2 months old and started dropping some feedings. That’s when I realized our time would not last forever. I am VERY emotional about nursing, I think it is so special. At first it was overwhelming and now I dread her stopping. Reading this made me sad but I also like knowing other people feel nursing is as important and special as I do. Thank you.

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