Friday, November 13, 2009

nursing ends at 20 months...

it's so amazing that 20 months has passed to quickly. well at times i didn't feel that way. the lack of sleep definitely has made it feel long, but otherwise than that it sure doesn't feel like my little baby is fast approaching her 2 year mark.

today when my husband reminded me in the morning that it was maya's "birthday" i started to think about all her latest accomplishments. what stood out for me, what shows me that my little baby is growing up is the fact that she has decided to wean herself from nursing. i don't think it's ironic at all that this last week has been a turning point for maya and i. last weekend she started to bite me while nursing. at first i thought maybe it was just a phase, she has done that before (she only had one tooth at the time). as feedings went on i started to think that she was trying to tell me something. when she didn't ask for "my" milk anymore at bedtime, i became certain that she was ready to move on. call it mother's intuition but the fact that she didn't seem to miss my nursing her, seemed like a sign.

i can't say that i am very happy about this new development. in some ways i can't believe that i've made it this far. i remember that i used to tell my friends, "i'll take it month by month and see how far i get." if i dig deep though, i have to admit that once i found out that maya had down syndrome i became adamant about breastfeeding her. i know that mother's milk carries with it many nutrients that you can't find in formula. the idea that i could give her something that would boost her immune system seemed like a precious gift. i wanted to give maya a fighting chance at being healthy, knowing that children with down syndrome often have ear, nose and throat issues.

when maya was born she was in the nic unit for 13 days. i have to tell you it was very difficult to breastfeed while she was there. she was having trouble feeding from a bottle and wasn't gaining weight. it just seemed so exhausting for her. often she would give up quite quickly. for those 13 days i pumped and delivered my milk to be added to the formula she drank. when she came home i tried only after several weeks, to breastfeed her directly. it took some time to get the hang of it. she latched on pretty well but she didn't stay on for very long. over the weeks she built up her stamina and the rest is history.

so here we are at 20 months. i know i should feel grateful that we made it this far. but still i feel sad. i worry that winter is coming and with the H1N1 looming over our heads, well it concerns me not to have that extra protection. i have been trying to pump my milk and add it to her whole milk, but i can tell that my body is shutting down. nature has taken it's course and i guess it's time this part of our lives comes to a close. i feel very lucky to have been able to nurse her until now. it has been an eye opening experience to say the least and i'm blessed to have had this special time with her.

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