Words by Anna Eszter
It took a month to finally sit down and start typing these lines...
I had to soak in all the emotions and deal with them. First I had to recognize what I felt. That it was grief. It may sounds ridiculous. I thought that guilt would eat me up but surprisingly I felt no guilt at all. It happened on the most perfect day. One day before or later would not be as perfect as THAT day I decided to WEAN Mór. After 33 months of breastfeeding on demand.
I remember the first time when I thought about cutting down nursing because Mór wanted to nurse all day long. It was almost a year ago. That day he had a horrific accident, for a moment I thought we lost him. He screamed until I nursed him. I cried a river. I felt so guilty... It seemed it was a sign. And I was grateful for every peaceful nursing moment. I had ups and downs, breastfeeding a toddler on demand can be so fusking challenging but in the meantime it's the most precious most magical thing. When I focused on the miracle I felt powerful. I literally felt joy.
But when I was tired and overwhelmed after an all-night nursing session and was frustrated because I had work to do, dirty dishes to wash, lunch to make, or just go to the toilet for the first time on that day in the afternoon. I felt like breastfeeding kept me hostage. It was almost like claustrophobia. Sometimes all I wanted was to scream. Pushing Mór away. Sometimes I felt like "Please leave me and my body alone! I want myself back!" Sometimes it hurt because a toddler nurses way more different than a baby...
Something changed a few months ago. Neither Mór nor me could sleep at night because his sucking-reflex was not that strong anymore and he had to concentrate and he was half asleep-half awake all night long. So was I. He changed the boobs minute after minute. It was a nightmare. So we decided to night-wean him. It was so easy... My husband rocked him to sleep on the first three nights. And on the fourth day I gave it a try. He asked for the boob once. And I told him that the boob is sleeping and he'll got his milk when the sun comes up. It was our new routine. And it was amazing. Finally I wasn't the only one who could put him to sleep anymore. I felt relief. And when the sun came up he cuddled close to me and I enjoyed nursing him as much as he. It was great for a few months but then another challenge came across... He became really upset when I refused to nurse him. I couldn't lay down for half an our or more several times a day...and it hurt. He was really frustrated because my supply was not the same...and he wanted much more. It wasn't peaceful anymore. I thought about weaning him more and more, but every time I thought or talked about it with my husband something happened. A tooth broke through or he caught a cold...
I was in a trap. I wanted to escape but I was afraid of hurting him. I loved breastfeeding but I was so tired I felt I hit my limits. And one day when everybody was so upset -my husband was angry because he couldn't help, I was angry because Mór screamed and kicked when I took the boob away after an hour long painful nursing session- I felt something. It came out of nowhere. It just hit me. I just heard my instincts. Loud and clear. "It's time." So on that day on our way back home from the playground I told him that I'm so sorry for being angry with him lately when he nursed. It told him I loved him no matter what. But I couldn't take it anymore. Mama hit her limits. And he got this big and strong because he drank so much mama milk but I do not have enough milk anymore and it hurts. I offered him one last time to nurse to say goodbye. I was not sure he understood completely until we got home. We cuddled and I told him that it's time. The last one. I told him that he could take his time, I wouldn't rush him. It was peaceful. It was powerful. I felt strong. It wasn't sad. I thought about our breastfeeding journey from the very beginning when we struggled with nursing for the first three months. I thought about when he was 98% on formula and when I first heard him swallowing my
own milk and about the first day I didn't have to give him a bottle ever again. I thought about the nursing strikes and the milk stones which I still have to deal with even if my milk almost dried up completely.
So Mór nursed peacefully and suddenly he just said: "Finished." I asked him if he was sure because it's the very last time. He said yes. He kissed both my breasts and asked me to play something with him. I told him that the boobs would give him a Storm Trooper sippy cup because he's such a strong big boy for letting them rest. And he was really happy when he got that sippy cup.
It's been a month. And he's fine. He holds the boobs and pretends he's nursing several times a day but he cried for it only once on the first morning. It was me who felt like crap. My hormones tricked me and I cried all day long on the first two weeks. I didn't want to see if there's any milk left because I felt like I'm loosing my superpower. My magic. My liquid love. And it seemed ridiculous because I was the one who decided to do this and I didn't change my mind. It was all hormonal. It may sounds selfish... Possibly I was and still am. But you know what? I don't feel like I did something wrong. I just followed what my instincts whispered to me. Somedays Mór asks when he could again and I always tell him that when a baby brother or sister joins us, mama milk will come in again and he could get some if he wants to. So now he wants a baby.
Breastfeeding is a miracle. It makes a woman beautiful and messy, happy and crazy, peaceful and hysteric... I still cannot put it into correct words. I still cry a river just thinking about it. Gratitude. Maybe that's the most perfect word. I'm oh so grateful for every minute of it.
Connect with the author through her Instagram @szannae