Sometimes when I plan to nurse Wanda, I say, “I’m gonna go milk the baby.” This sounds odd, which is why I say it because I enjoy saying weird things and then laughing at my own jokes, especially when I’m home alone with the kids all day and there are no other adults to converse with. If a stupid joke is told in a stay-at-home-mom’s house and there’s no other adult around to hear it, is it still unfunny?
If you think about “milking” in terms of giving someone milk, as in, “beer me” meaning to give someone a beer, then the reference makes perfect sense. If you think about “milking” strictly from a dairy farming perspective then I guess I’m the one being milked. Either way, I like saying it and I like doing it.
After the initial few weeks or months of soreness and figuring out exactly how to feed each of my babies I’ve grown to love that time I spend with them. I like the bonding, the nurturing, the quick pre-heatedness of the food, the lying down and nursing the baby while Dan does the work of wrestling the other two into their pajamas, all of it. Nursing is the bomb.
Now we’re coming up on Wanda’s first birthday. She’s learned to nurse around her teeth without injuring me. She knows how to take a sippy cup so she doesn’t NEED to nurse which gives me a good amount of freedom. She still likes to lie down to drink so I get to have a little rest and cuddle while I feed her. But she has started to crawl all over me and sometimes stand on her head while nursing. She’s squirrely but it’s actually quite cute. My friend Susan calls this stage of breastfeeding “gym-nurs-tics.”
With my other kids I started actively weaning them around this time but with Wanda likely being our last, I’m having a hard time thinking about cutting her off, cutting me off. I probably can’t… I know I can’t… nurse her forever but I’m starting to wonder when or if I’ll ever want to stop.
When she starts coming up with nicknames for my breasts or whipping up my shirt in public places I’ll know it’s time to stop. When she can walk up to me and nurse without me sitting or bending down, I’ll know I’ve taken things too far. I’m hoping to stop well before it gets to that point but I just don’t want to stop right now. I don’t think she wants to stop either.
I guess it’s the finality of it. When I’m done, I’m done, no turning back. I’ll be able to help my children and friends care for their babies when they have them but I’ll never be able to do this special service again. Weaning Wanda symbolizes something bigger than simply changing her diet. It’s a rite of passage from my active child-bearing phase of life to simply child-rearing and I just can’t let go of the idea of being the mother of babies. I’m not ready.