Wednesday July 16th, 2014 was the last day I nursed Ford. It was bittersweet and unexpected yet perfectly timed. If you've followed along my blog, you would know that we struggled and fought for Ford to take a bottle for months and gave up around 6 months. Ford took a bottle like a champ starting at 2 weeks but started refusing around 3 months. I decided that I had made it 6 months of exclusively nursing and could make it another 6 months because looking at the grand scheme of life, it was such a short period of time. In the past 11 months I have not been away from him for more than 5 hours and I have put him to bed every single night by myself. It was hard but absolutely worth it. So worth it.
I knew I wanted to completely wean Ford at a year and I was dreading the process thinking he would want to breastfeed forever. I knew babies self weaned but babies also took bottles easily, mine did not. I stayed awake at night sick to my stomach and praying for a smooth weaning process. We started giving Ford organic whole milk in a straw sippy right before he turned 11 months old and he loved it! I was able to cut our 2 daytime nursing sessions and decided we would continue with morning and before bedtime until 1 year. I had noticed that our nursing time was getting shorter and shorter and Ford would be very distracted. Early on, you can hear the glug glug of a baby nursing and swallowing and I felt like Ford would just suck for 2 minutes and was done. I've never had a supply issue but assumed it was dwindling the less I nursed and the more whole milk he drank.
Wednesday night I gave him a bath, we read a book, sad our prayers and then I brought him to the rocking chair to nurse. It wasn't more than 1 minute before he bit me so hard that I let out a blood curling scream. Ford had been calm and relaxed, almost drowsy, and it spooked him to the core. I was crying, he was crying, and we both couldn't catch our breath. He had nibbled on me before but it didn't even compare to the pain I had just experienced. I was able to calm us both down and tried again, only to get bit even more painfully. This time he had my clamped nipple in his mouth and didn't let go. The tears were flowing. Jon had just gotten home from a work trip and I shrieked for him to run upstairs. I handed Ford over to him and told him I couldn't nurse. I went down to our room, closed the door, and sat on the bed and prayed. I asked the Lord to reveal to me if this would be our last time nursing. I was emotional thinking about that traumatic experience being our last time nursing. And then I became thankful. My heart shifted from sorrow and sadness to thanksgiving and awe. Most women don't get past the first month of nursing and I made it 11 months! No bottles, no formula, no help. God is sovereign over everything, including my supply, Ford's latch, the blessing of staying home with Ford to be able to exclusively nurse. Tears of joy flowed as I realized this was the end of our nursing relationship.
Jon was able to calm Ford down and put him to bed without nursing and he slept through the night. Another answered prayer. Jon woke up with Ford Thursday morning and sad he was cuddly and sweet as he offered him his milk cup. I came out of our room a half hour later to my happy little boy who was ready to play. When it was time for bed last night, I kissed Ford, went into our room and closed the door while Jon did bedtime. I continued to pray that God would ordain this process and give Ford the comfort he needed to go to sleep. Y'all. God is so good, so faithful and generous. Ford went to sleep without a peep and 36 hours since my last nursing session I have not felt any pain whatsoever.
I don't want you to apologize for the way our nursing journey ended because I believe it was orchestrated by God for my good. I feel like if I got to choose our last night of nursing I would have tried to make it so perfect and not want to give it up the next day. Please don't be sad for me because I am rejoicing! This is the end of a sweet season with my baby boy who is on the brink of becoming a toddler. I look forward to what comes next for us and I know that will include a lot of nighttime date nights woo hoo! One thing that is sad... organic whole milk is way more expensive than breastmilk, ha! I feel victorious for making it this far. There were many a times I wanted to throw in the towel but I am so glad I stuck it out. Breastfeeding for me has been more than nourishing my son. It has been a wonderful lesson in growth and grace that I pray I get to experience again with future babies.
11 months, 339 days, hours and hours of nursing, so much sweetness.