My baby girl, Natalie, turned 1 last week… And stared walking… And stopped nursing. Pass the tissues (and the wine) — I’m a mess.
It’s just such huge milestone. Watching her toddle around the house after her big brother, saying no and biting him when he steals her toys – it is more then evident that she is no longer a baby. She’s completely different from the tiny, helpless, fragile thing (wearing the smallest diapers you’ve ever seen) that we brought home a year ago. And a year doesn’t seem like enough time to prepare for a talking, walking, sassy girl.
But here it is, whether I like it or not! My baby is 1.
About a month before her 1st birthday I decided to start weaning her. I introduced a couple of bottles of formula and almond milk here and there. She seemed to like the almond milk better. Over the course of 4 weeks I slowly nursed less often and offered more bottles. A week before her birthday I went on an overnight trip with my husband and only hand-pumped once. After that we nursed about every other day until her birthday. We then had one last bittersweet, tear-filled (mine), nursing session on her birthday and now we’re done.
I know it was my idea and I planned it all out and it worked perfectly, but I can’t help but be sad. Maybe it’s just the hormones adjusting in my body. I feel selfish for weaning her at 12 months. I really wanted my body back to myself. I want to diet and workout without restrictions. I wanted to go on that overnight trip and not worry that she wouldn’t take a bottle. I have so many shirts and dresses and sweaters that I miss and want to wear.
I know breast milk is good for toddlers too. I know she would have kept nursing and enjoyed it. And I miss that special bonding time we had together. I also miss how easy it was to put her to sleep or soothe her when she was upset.
But as resilient kids do, Natalie handled the change well. She’s been so busy learning to walk that she’s barely noticed the switch. She’s nuzzled in or pointed at my chest a few times but she seems perfectly happy with her bottles. At her last doctor appointment I told them about the switch and they said she was happy and healthy and fine.
And I’m sure the last nursing session would have been hard no matter when it happened. I should just be grateful that we were able to nurse as long as we did, which was twice as long as I nursed my son, and I am.
But I am going to let myself be a little sad over that last nursing session and the fact that my baby is almost a toddler now. Don’t worry though, I won’t be sad for too long — I’ve got a wobbly 1 year old to catch up to and plenty of other milestones to cry over soon enough!
Curious about mother-led weaning? Here’s another great posts from our archives: 5 Practical Tips for Mother-Led Weaning