We are done. Finally. After four years, exactly four years. Annika is done nursing.
We made a deal a few months ago that on her fourth birthday she would be done nursing.
It still trips me out that we nursed this long. Even for me, a kid who was nursed for at least three years, the idea of nursing a child for four years seems long to me.
Most of my AP friends weaned in between 2 and 3 or a little longer. But even in my circle of mama friends who nurse their babes way, way longer than the average nursing mom, I am still an anomaly.
And, in case someone takes it the wrong way, I’m not bragging. It’s the opposite. It feels weird to think that I actually nursed my child this long, even though women around the world do it all the time and many cultures don’t think anything of it.
The truth is, I didn’t enjoy nursing all that much. I would’ve been done for good around 18 months, but there was no way in hell it could’ve happened with Annika’s consent. I couldn’t traumatize her. This was one of those instances where some advice from another mom friend echoed in my head that said something to the effect of, “I have to remember who the adult is in this relationship.”
So the adult part of my brain pushed aside the cranky, selfish teenager and said, “You know she is not ready to wean.”
So we plugged away.
I fought it. I reveled in it. I loved it. There were moments when it was the only way I could make it through the day with sanity. And there were moments when I hated it because if I had to sit down one more time while I was in the middle of something else, I was going to scream. But then there were the moments when I was so happy that all I had to do was pop my boob out and five minutes later, heavenly sleep had descended upon my child.
And in the end, I was finally resigned to the idea that I was going to be a mom who nursed her kid way longer than most people. And I’m okay with it. I have a long, cozy relationship with being the odd woman out. It’s all good.
But we’re done. And I don’t really know what to say about it except that we’re done.
For the first week, there was a tiny part of me that whispered, “Keep going. You can do it. She’ll quit eventually on her own.”
That’s what I really wanted. But when she was an infant, which seems so very long ago, I imagined that would be sometime around the age of 2 or 3.
As time went on, I began to imagine that it would be around 3.
That birthday came and went without any signs of letting up. I had to set major limits. I swear to god, if it was up to her, I think Annika would still nurse several times a day, even now.
She’s told me how much she loves mama milk. It tastes like ice cream, like strawberries. It’s so good, and right before she weaned, she’d been saying she wanted to nurse “forever and ever.” But she also wants to marry one of her female friends (which would be totally fine with me) and sleep at her school on the playground at night after everyone has gone home. She has no real concept of “forever and ever.”
It’s been almost two weeks since we nursed. She asked me last night if she could nurse and even begged a little. I stood firm. And for the first time since we began nursing, it felt like a solid boundary and not an arbitrary no. She didn’t like it, but she also didn’t get overly upset. It was almost like she was testing me.
So, it’s done. We are finally weaned. I don’t feel super emotional. I don’t think I’m hormonal. I’ve always heard of women who get super weepy and sad when they wean their kids. I think that’s, perhaps, a sign that maybe it’s not the right time. But I don’t judge. I’m only speculating on someone else’s reality and it’s not my place to judge.
I just know that I’m not that strong. I needed to just let Annika nurse as long as she really needed it. I feel like we made it. And if I wasn’t so damn tired, I’d celebrate.