Before Xanthe was born, all the parents I ran into said: "it goes so fast...". When I was in the longest 9 months of my life, with each twitch, tingle or tickle causing happiness, fear or reassurance, that was the last thing I could hear. It goes so fast. Sometimes it does, sometimes it doesn't.
This past week, Xanthe and I ended our nursing relationship. I am not the crunchy-granola type mom. Breastfeeding for me was a pragmatic solution - it is the best food and it is free! More than the pragmatic considerations, I found that emotionally, nursing allowed me to have an immediate physical bond. When you are pregnant, you imagine that you will feel instant true unconditional love at the sight of your newborn. The fact is, sometimes it takes time. When Xanthe was a newborn there were times when I looked at her in disbelief. Is this little girl really MY daughter? I would count the fingers and the toes... in awe. There was a getting-to-know-you time. And with each phase of Xanthe's development, there is a level of confidence, knowledge and attachment that grows. I loved her instantly but nursing helped me to reinforce what seemed unbelievable, that we did this. My love grows.
As a result, I come to the end of nursing with mixed feelings. There were several changes in our working life that necessitated the change. And frankly, Xanthe has never been a "polite" nurser. She yanks, hits, pulls, bites and lacks attention to the task at hand. Some babies are so peaceful at breast. Babies sleeping in their mothers arms, happy, content. Xanthe isn't this child. She does not need me for comfort.
We know each other well enough now to know that the relationship was changing, and I no longer need to nurse to feel like her mommy. It goes so fast.