I have been thinking about lightly starting to suggest to my little one to come off of the breast. I know I am not ready to completely let the breastfeeding relationship go yet and so I'm in no hurry. But I have noticed being irritated when she is fussy and yanking and pinching my nipples. That is just no fun. Sometimes when I know she's just nursing out of boredom, I tell her "no boobies" and she understands right away. I know this because she gives me heart-breaking doe eyes, puffs out her bottom lip and immediately stops nursing. She then lightly begins to graze her hands over my boobs while looking at me through the corners of her eyes to see if I've noticed she's going back in. Once I've said "no boobies", I have to stick to it so that I don't become a pushover or a joke. So I say it again and then she knows I mean business. She then usually surrenders to the moment and just puts her cheek against my breasts while she hugs me and sighs. Usually. Sometimes, however, she'll begin the royal rumble by pulling down my shirt and diving forcefully in. It becomes a tug of war for a bit until I distract her away from the boobs or she loses interest. This little girl has the will and the force of an elephant!
So, a couple of nights ago we began to put her to bed a bit differently. I still nurse her but now instead of letting her fall completely asleep on my boob, I nurse her for a set amount of time and then put her in her bed and lie down next to her until she falls asleep. It was hard for all three of us at first. Hearing your baby cry is never fun and it always ALWAYS- I mean every single time- tugs at my heart. But today she didn't cry. When she knew she was going to bed, she became a bit tense but I never stopped hugging her. As I lay next to her and sang to her, she began to doze off. But in the little light that creaked through the shades, I could see the twinkles in her eyes as she opened them to check if I was still there. And even as she fell deeper and deeper into sleep, her hands kept looking for mine. When she turned around with her back facing me to get even more comfy and finally fall asleep for the night, she turned her head one last time and fixed her gaze on my eyes. Her look is so sweet, but in the dark it is infinitely sweeter. My little girl looks straight through to the very deepest part of my soul. With those amazing little eyes, she said, "I understand, momma. I love you." and then peacefully turned and went to sleep for the night.
When I was freshly postpartum, I cried so much because I felt I had lost so much and I felt the sacrifice I was making was too taxing on me and on my whole life. The tears wouldn't stop. I would cry harder sometimes because I was crying. I created a very bad association with crying and tears. Tonight, when my little one and I exchanged that loving glance, I began to cry in the seconds I was holding her before I got up and left our room. And I noticed that it was a good cry. And that felt soooooooooo incredible. Happy tears! I'm sure it had happened before already... I just hadn't really noticed until now.
Tonight I say- and truly feel again- that life is sweet!