It was the day that I nursed Anna for the last time. I knew the time was coming, and I'm glad I knew it would be the last time, but I couldn't help making a sad face.
I officially nursed Anna for the first year of her life. She had formula only two times in her whole life- once in the hospital after her surgery (they thought breastmilk would be too much for her belly) and once about a month ago when I had completely gone through my freezer stash and had no milk to send to daycare.
I'm nowhere near the camp of "Breastfeeding is the one and only way and moms who don't breastfeed are the worst." Nah. I'm in the camp of "Do what works best for your baby and for you." I'm impressed when I hear that any woman even tries to breastfeed, because it is so hard at times, and I wouldn't fault anyone for not trying it or sticking with it if it didn't work out.
However, I'm pretty damn proud of myself for making it this long. When Anna was sick, there was this big part of me that felt like it was my own way of healing her. Not because I think it's some magic formula, but because nursing always seemed to calm and comfort Anna better than anything else could. I felt so helpless, and there were so many smart doctors around us that made me feel useless at times, so in a small way I felt that nursing was something that no one else could do for her, and it kept me going.
I also realized that for the last 4 years, I've had an insane amount of hormones going through my body. Beginning in May 2010, I've either been pregnant, post-partum, or breastfeeding. I once heard that when a woman is pregnant, she has more hormones running through her body than any other time in her life. I totally believe this. Much the same can be said about breastfeeding. Think about all the hormones that have to be swirling around in there to produce milk. Like, when I actually sit and think about it, I can't think about it. It's mind boggling. I don't get how it works. Biology, man.
Anyway, I am very happy that I made it to the goal of one year. Nursing and pumping certainly was not easy. I could never be away from her for long because I had such a small freezer stash built up. Lugging my pump and pump parts to work every day wasn't fun, especially on those few days when I forgot the parts and had to make the 1-hour round trip back home to get them so I didn't get mastitis or clogged ducts.
So today, for the first time in a very long time, my body is not responsible for sustaining another human life. Kinda weird. I thought I would feel different, but it's about the same. No crazy mood swings. No tears. No sudden drop in appetite (I really hope that part gets itself figured out, because I sure do miss burning those extra 500 calories a day!)
I was ready. She was ready. The part that I will miss the most is how snuggly she always was after she nursed, but, mercifully, she is still super cuddly and snuggly, so I know I still have a least a few more days of that left.
And conveniently, I'm off to Napa Valley in 3 days, so if I want to drink more than 1 glass of wine, I officially can.