The Day My Baby Quit Nursing

Two days before my baby’s first birthday, he abruptly quit nursing. It was 3:00 on a Saturday and I had been bitten (yes, there) one too many times that day. I gently but sternly said, “no” as I had many times before. This time though, he got so upset he refused to nurse. Oh well, I thought, surely he will nurse before bed. Bedtime rolled around and not only would he not nurse, he would turn his head away and scream. 

But. I was dead set on making it to a year of breastfeeding. I continued offering for two days while pumping as much as I could. He would happily drink breast milk from a cup, but refused to nurse! This is fine, I told myself, I can pump! Anything for my little guy! But by the third day, it was taking over an hour to pump half an ounce or so. Uh-oh.

I consulted the chiropractor, pediatrician, lactation consultant, and my “breast friends” (AKA, my breastfeeding support group). Everyone assured me that he was completely healthy and it was fine.

But deep in my heart, it wasn’t fine.

I was upset. I had fallen short of a goal. I had let him down. I felt like a failure. Mostly, I didn’t feel like he truly wanted to wean. He would cry, crawl over, sign for milk, yet turn away and scream once I offered. It was heartbreaking. 

 

Nine days passed, and my son wouldn’t nurse. Nine days.

Just when I had accepted the end of our journey and embraced this new freedom, something changed. I was playing with my son and held him upside down against my belly reminding him that he used to be a tiny little bean inside mommy’s tummy. As we were laughing, he signed milk. It had been a few days since he asked, so I thought I’d just give it one more try. Hesitantly, he latched. I felt a giant wave of joy. He quickly yanked off. So I tried the other side (the one he didn’t bite) and he latched and nursed like…well, a baby! 

I instantly snapped a sweet selfie just for myself. If this is the last time, I thought, I want to remember it. This moment is perfect, and I’ll be happy to end our nursing journey on a good note. But that wasn’t the case. My son is back to nursing roughly 142 times a day, and although it’s exhausting sometimes, I am so thankful every single time my little boy wants to nurse!

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