(warning: boob/breast milk post ahead, turn back if you skeeve about the topic)
Today is the last day Ben will have breast milk. He is one year and nine days old.
When we set out on our boobing journey this time around, I was fully committed to nursing in the hospital. After a painful, traumatic six months of nursing Lucas, I figured three days of colostrum in the hospital would give him a nice shot of all the magical “liquid gold” and then we could quickly transition him to formula once we got home.
I was just not willing to suffer the way I did attempting to nurse Lucas. I had a living example of what an amazing, smart, handsome and kind child formula could produce — after all, Lucas was exclusively formula fed after six months, and supplemented after three. I felt strongly — and still do — that formula can, many times, be the best choice for feeding a child.
But, breast feeding Benjamin was different. Not only was the pain significantly less, but so was the awkwardness, the struggle, and even the amount of time for each nursing session. So with that, three days in the hospital quickly became a goal of one month, then two.
And one day, when we were almost at my newest goal of three months, Ben stopped nursing. He cold turkey quit on me. With Lucas, that would have meant the end. I’m still not quite sure why it didn’t with Benjamin. I think I was in a routine – settled. With a two year old and a newborn, it seemed easier to just keep chugging along. So, Ben put down the boob and I picked up the pump. Ten months later, two days shy of his first birthday, I set the pump down and haven’t picked it back up. In fact, it’s still plugged into the wall on the side of my bed – so much a part of my life that I don’t even notice it. I think I’d notice more if it was missing.
Nine days after his first birthday, I pulled the very last bag of frozen milk out of the freezer. The freezer that we had to get just to store the immense quantities of pumped milk. The pumped milk that I still can’t believe I pumped so diligently for an exclusive ten months — through a major bout of the stomach flu, an awful tooth infection, having my wisdom tooth surgically removed, one terrifying day without electricity and more. The freezer looks bare now – a far cry from the times where we struggled to find room for actual food amidst the sea of Lansinoh bags.
It’s time to be done with the boob stuff. This boy is ready. He’s walking, hell practically running these days. He eats the same dinners as us — heck most nights, he eats more well rounded meals than his brother. And people have been telling me to stop for ages — the exact “permission” that I had sought so desperately during the breast feeding struggle with Lucas. Yet, I fought ending it. Once we hit six months, I wanted to make it to nine. And at nine months, he was so close to a year that it seemed crazy to make his little body process the sometimes difficult transition to formula. Did he need me to keep going? Certainly not. His brother’s health and happiness proves that one hundred times over. But, it’s one of the things I could give him that no one else could – and that idea, the idea that he was getting the most perfect type of nutrition made especially for him by me, kept me going.
So it’s with a little sadness, a strange amount of pride and abundant thankfulness and gratitude, that I pulled the last bag of frozen milk from the freezer. And it’s those feelings that I’ll have tonight when he drinks the last bit of breast milk he’ll ever have. I’m so glad I could do this for him.