Then on her one-year appointment, her pediatrician said we could introduce whole cow's milk to her. I excitedly wanted her to try milk and to see where it would take our breastfeeding journey. I was mentally prepared for some type of shift in schedule, such as me nursing Farrah in the morning and at night, but perhaps less during the day. That was about how it went that Thursday and Friday, and on Saturday she spent the majority of the day with my parents while we went to a Cardinals game, drinking pumped breastmilk.
On Sunday, Father's Day, we spent a lot of time outdoors in the heat and down at the lake swimming and fishing on the boat. That night, she flat out refused to nurse when I was putting her to bed. Her and I were in the house by ourselves, while Keane and the bigger kids were fishing again in the boat, luckily, because I lost it. While I held Farrah who was crying and telling me no, that she did not want to nurse for basically the first time ever, I cried. Not just cried tears, but wailed.
I felt very sad, and extremely confused, and quite frankly, a bit offended. I was scared, nervous, and disheartened. I felt rejected. I felt so very distanced from Farrah. I felt like a piece of me died. A huge, huge piece of the only mothering I had ever known with Farrah. For every single day of her little life, at least four or five times every day, I nursed her. She had always wanted to nurse as nourishment and comfort, and although she was telling me she didn't want to that night, I felt like she should.
As I was choking back more tears, I set the table for a beautiful Father's Day dinner. Everything was in place and as I was filling up Keane's tea glass, I accidently spilled the entire glass onto the floor. At that moment, I lost it. Kylie saw that I spilled the tea, and although my back was turned to her, she must have known I began to cry. She went down the hall to find Keane and told him that I spilled the tea. When he replied okay, she responded with a look that told him, "It's not okay."
He came into the kitchen and embraced me and I told him that Farrah refused to nurse. In my mind I wanted to hear, "It's going to be okay. She will continue to nurse. Tomorrow will be a regular day." But instead, he had other words. Words that I needed to hear. He told me that Farrah is getting older and her needs are changing. That she is receiving all the nourishment that she needs and that her tastes are changing and she is experimenting with new foods, and although she may not need my milk anymore, I nourished her for her entire first year of her life, and that was an amazing task that I should always be proud of.
Several days following, she nursed some and refused some. I was almost mad at myself. Was it because I had jalepenos at the baseball game? Was it because I was sweaty (I know I was so sweaty) spending Father's Day outdoors? Should I not have introduced cow's milk to her? Was I not producing enough? Was I not enough? What was I supposed to do now? Will she still WANT me?HOW AM I SUPPOSED TO LET GO?
As much as I know that Kaden and Kylie love me and want me, I don't feel like they need me, because they have their dad and mom. At that moment, I was so incredibly scared that Farrah was no longer going to need me.
I reached out to many of my breastfeeding and momma friends and to my closest friends and family, and I was very much reassured that things would change but only for the better, that the best was yet to come, and that Farrah forever will still need me - the way that I still need my parents.
I was scared that I wouldn't know how to comfort my baby when she woke up throughout the nights like I always had before. Farrah is not a natural cuddler, and I was always able to calm her down by nursing. I felt true anxiety about her waking up in the night. Oddly enough, she began sleeping entirely through the night at this point.
She changed a lot in the week and a half after she turned one. Mainly due to the weaning of nursing, which led to me seeing her as more independent and older and growing in new and exciting ways. I just had to get past the emotions, the great hormonal low, what I was used to, and all that I had known since Farrah.
I am so proud of us for making it a year, and now that some time has passed, I am getting used to having my body to myself again, and I am completely at peace with no longer breastfeeding, and filling up Farrah's sippy cup time and time again with whole cow's milk that she thinks is quite tasty. I will forever be glad that I experienced breastfeeding and the trials, commitment, and sacrifice it took.