October 24, 2011
Last week, I emptied my cabinets of all the empty breastmilk storage bottles that have been sitting there, collecting dust. I put them in a bag, packed up all my breastpump pieces and put them away for the last time. I have officially closed the childbearing/lactating stage of my life. I had been holding on by a thread, hoping that Caleb was going through a phase, that he'd start nursing again. My plan all along with him had been to let him nurse as long as he wanted. Well, I guess up to 2 years, maybe a month or two more, because he would be the last baby I nursed. He nursed for the last time in early September and I pumped religiously, trying to keep up my supply, trying to make enough milk for one bottle on my 4 days off. I finally tired of pumping and not getting anything more than half an ounce from the right side and drops from the left. Honestly, I am a little sad, but not like I thought I would be. I held out and he did get breastmilk until he was 1 year, but he's been done. It was so much easier to just nurse him in the middle of the night. Now if he wakes up and wants a drink, we have to go downstairs and get him a bottle. No more falling asleep as my sleepy baby falls asleep nursing. While a little sad that phase is over, I also feel free. I finally have my body back to myself...no more supporting someone else, either through pregnancy or breastfeeding. I enjoy not having to hook myself up to a pump. Its nice that I can give Caleb a bottle and he will drink it an fall asleep for his nap. I do miss that connection, that feeling of being very feminine, womanly, motherly. But, here I am, looking back at that chapter of my life, satisfied and very happy. Since October 2002, I have either been pregnant or nursing, with the exception of 16 months. I breastfed for about 5 years. I have been pregnant for about 156 weeks, or 3 years. I will look back on those years with joy, pride, tenderness and much love. I look forward to the next chapter eagerly.