Last Time?

I’ve been fortunate enough to be able to nurse my current baby just as I have most of my other kids. (Yeah, adoptive moms can nurse their babies!) As a matter of fact, my baby nursed for the first time at the age of 7 months, while we were still in Ethiopia.

For some reason, she mostly only nurses at naptime. Usually she giggles and shakes her head if I offer while she’s awake, like it’s the silliest thing she ever saw. (The kid’s gonna give me boob anxiety!) But once she dozes off she nurses as if she’s never seen a bottle. Beats me why. I’m just pleased she’s nursing.

Lately, however, she’s been cutting back. She went from three nursings a day to two, to one. This week she went 3 days without nursing. I was so sad to think that her ‘last’ nursing may have passed without me even knowing it was the last.

Then this afternoon she nursed again at naptime. I just sat. Savored it. Felt her warm body in my arms. Watched her sweet little serene face. Felt so happy. And so sad. Because I know that after 11 months, this might be the end of our nursing.

Yes, I know I’m being silly. She’s almost 18 months old. Most babies are weaned by then. And yes, we’ll fit lots more cuddles in, nursing or not. She always takes her bottle in my arms. At bottle time, she flops herself into the crook of my arm with a contented little in-drawing of breath, nestling and molding her little body into mine. As she sucks, she pokes my nose and plays with my earrings and blubs out occasional milky words of conversation as we cuddle.

We’ll still have that, and it is precious.

But the nursing.

I am inexpressibly sad to say goodbye to the nursing.


  1. I remember feeling exactly the same emotions, Mary, when my daughter was weaning herself from the breast. It's almost like we are giving love in our milk as they nurse. It's the one thing that we as Mamas can physically give our children, and it's the first of many degrees of separation from them as they grow more independent from us. Such a bittersweet time…..sad for the loss of providing that physical nourishment and that time of closeness, and happiness and contentment in knowing we nurtured them to the point they are healthy and growing up and away from us, less dependent on us every day. And your 18yr daughter will be leaving the nest soon, too. Bittersweet, indeed…. 🙂

  2. AWWWWW, that is so awesome, I hope to be an adoptive nursing mom someday. Currently I am bio nursing mom to a 16 mo old. 🙂 Blessings.

  3. Precious, precious, precious. I know exactly how you feel… just weaned my baby jane at 14 months and no one could understand why I was sad to let it go.

  4. My daughter nursed, while pregnant, til her son was over a year. I knew nursing wasnt the issue – the bond they had was. She's nursing again, but she sure was sad to let that last baby stop. Something only a mother would understand.

  5. Awww…I remember this emotion well. It just happened yeterday – uh…eight years ago, I mean.

    Moving on to other firsts and lasts now.

  6. Ahhh, it is so hard! Hugs to you!

    We are in the process of weaning too. Mia is almost 26 months old, and is just now slacking off. She will be my last baby, so it is bitter-sweet.

  7. When my last baby weaned I sat on my bed and cried. My husband didn't get it. Shoot, I don't get it.

  8. I never really got to think about loosing that special time. My first was a preemie and wouldn't latch on, lost lots of weight and we finally had to do formula. My second was also small and I only got to enjoy it for about two months. If we have any more, I sure hope it works out better!! Maybe I'll have to get in touch with you for some good tips!!

  9. I've never breastfed a child, but it was absolute agony for me to wean my children off of BOTTLES! In fact, my babies just weaned from their bottles and they are almost 2.5 years old! My other kids were also about 2 years old before I took the bottle away. It was SO hard to let go of that part of their babyhood–even though they were/are technically toddlers.

  10. Oh, this brings back all my sadness with ending nursing too. I miss it sometimes. Iloved it!

  11. mary, i get all emotional every time it's the 'last time' too. it's such a special time between a mom and baby. (i don't mind talking about it here! just not at my place and not in person. i'm weird like that.)

  12. It may depend on the baby about how much I missed the breastfeeding.
    With the first, for financial reasons, I had to go to the job when he was only 9 weeks old, so I had to pump and freeze. What a pain that was, especially with an employer who did not at all help with mothering.
    The boy was walking at a few days over 8 months old, and at 10 months bit me so hard the nipple began bleeding. He was done, and that was just fine! I continued to pump for a couple weeks, but since he didn't seem to care if mine or formula was in the bottle, why bother?

    The middle son, oh, yeah, the cuddles and the smiles and sighs were wonderful, and he was only 13 months old.
    However, a hot summer was coming, and I definitely did not want to be the discomfort a nursing bra.
    He weaned to a bottle full of milk and never looked back.
    Third boy (and I knew he would be the last because husband had the operation) was 14 months old.
    He took his first steps and weaned straight to a sippy cup the same week.
    Talk about bittersweet tears!

    It's so nice that you could nurse so long. Some women don't ever want to bother. I say they don't know what is missing!

  13. Mary, that sounds hard… You've done a great job with her! My baby is 19 months old, and though I never breastfed him (wish I had)I am now practically forcing him to take a few ounces from a bottle at bedtime for *my* sake, because I don't want to give up the snuggle time.

    I am interested in women's experiences with adoptive breastfeeding. Were you already lactating, or did you follow a particular protocol to re-start? Sorry for the boob questions, and you don't have to answer if it's too personal.

  14. A sweet post! I look forward most to breastfeeding my babies- that's the best thing! I also have a desire to adopt maybe someday and definitely would want to nurse him/her too!

  15. Mary, I know how you feel. I hate to see the end of nursing. I miss the milky smile, the cuddle time, the one on one quiet, the feeling that this precious little baby belong to me. I know all those things can still be, it's just different. AND to add insult to injury they grow up and before you know it they go off to college. When my first went to school this last fall I really understood the feeling of "my heart walking around outside my body" I missed her being here. I am thrilled for her, and I miss her.

    Well, I miss them when I leave the room so it's no surprise just part of being a mom I guess.

    Give her a little hug and huggs to you too!

  16. Oh Mary, I understand. I am impressed you were able to nurse her, though. That's great.

    Tom is 9 months and is starting to show a decreased interest in nursing. It makes me so sad to think of weaning.

  17. When I stopped nursing my first I was totally distraught. He couldn't have cared less and it broke my heart. 🙂

    My second I am starting to feel like it's time. But it's hard. I don't want him to grow up!

    Great, great post.

  18. Big hugs.

  19. I'm hopefully not nursing my last. We are adopting soon too and I hope to nurse as well. My nursling is quite a bit older than yours but, even so, it is just as bittersweet, I still think about every nursing as possibly being the last and cherish every one as they grow days apart and soon, weeks apart.

  20. Oh–bittersweet, isn't it? My first son weaned himself at 17 months.

    (And my dh, who grew up in rural Ethiopia was almost as sad as I was! He thought 2 years ought to be the minimum! Hopefully our second son will nurse longer)

    But, golly, what a precious, beautiful little baby you've still got, even if she's done nursing! And you are such a cool mom for breastfeeding an adopted baby. What a neat gift to give to that little girl!

  21. Mary, I am so glad to hear of another nursing adoptive mother! I had never heard of such a thing when I adopted my daughter. And yet, after having two breast-fed biological children, I was determined to nurse her too! And so I did!

    When my Princess was still nursing (she'll be 4 soon), I spoke to a group of "waiting to adopt" mommies about nursing. Some of them were eager to try. Others were just NOT interested! I couldn't help but be sad for those that were really almost offended by the thought of it! Didn't they know that it would be THEIR baby, no matter how it became theirs? So, sad.

    Anyway, I'm so sorry that she is weaning herself. I do feel your pain. Is this your last?

  22. I'm so happy that you were able to nurse your DD….and so sad for you both that it's ending. I think it's awesome that nursing her worked for you….I adopted my DD this past March and wanted to nurse, but it didn't quite work out. Maybe it was because of her age or my lack of experience….but I'll try again with the next one!

  23. Anonymous says:

    My 20 month old is nursing, and knowing the end is near, I have mixed feelings…knowing it is good for it to end in the coming months yet not wanting this sweet, unique bonding to be over. He was several months old when he began nursing; so I also say he has to make up for that. ha ha!

  24. "This week she went 3 days without nursing. I was so sad to think that her 'last' nursing may have passed without me even knowing it was the last."

    Oh, you should read Let Me Hold You Longer by Karen Kingsbury!

  25. Julie, Just the TITLE of that book had me misting up. I've just ordered it– thanks!!


  26. I was given a gift card to a bookstore for my HCC graduation.
    I bought the Kingsbury book with it (my "baby" is age 21), and _The Wright 3_ by Blue Balliett with what was left plus a little.
    Looking forward to the weekend to settle in and enjoy!

  27. I know how you feel. Sweet picture Mary.