I think it is safe to say that LBZ is done nursing.
And I really am ok with it.
I realized something this weekend . . . he is still one of the happiest babies I have ever had the pleasure of knowing. He is sleeping better than he has in months, waking only 2 times during the night over the last 12 days. He continues to eat 3 huge meals each day, a bottle in the morning and at night, and 2-3 cups of milk during the day. He is done, and that's ok.
I'm not exactly sure when I accepted this fact. Perhaps I wanted to accept it all along. I really did have a gut feeling from the beginning that he was done. Maybe it's because he rarely nursed to sleep. Maybe it's because if I think really hard about it, I can see some minor ways he began *weaning* months ago. Maybe it's because it's easier to accept my perfectly healthy and happy baby's preferences rather than trying to get him to do what I want him to do.
Whatever the reason, I am truely at peace with his ending our nursing relationship. Maybe it's also because I have made the decision to keep pumping well into his second year, if my body cooperates. So far, I am pumping plenty for him and have even been mixing some with almond milk just to see if he likes it (he does.)
It may seem crazy that I plan to keep pumping, but it somehow makes this much easier for me to accept. It's may seem extra crazy because I have chosen to eliminate all dairy from his diet as a last resort before saying yes to tubes for his ears. We saw an ENT who said he would do them but also suggested I take my time to decide. My fingers are crossed that this either works or we figure something else out, but he could very well end up with tubes before winter if he gets one more infection.
I really hope eliminating dairy helps. I stopped drinking cow's milk months ago but still ate cheese and other dairy products regularly. This is going to be hard for me, especially if it works.
It's also another reason continuing to drink breastmilk is important for him. I'd love to last all the way until he is 2, but I'm not sure I can do that. I have had swings in supply over the last 12 days and I'm not sure I can swing back from a big dip without the real nursing happening. But I will do my best to give him this milk as long as I can.
Of course I am pumping my milk for him, but it is also for selfish reasons. I feel like a nursing mom when I pump. Even though he won't nurse, I feel like he is when I pump. I'm not ready to let that go yet. Baby steps, people. Baby steps.
LBZ did two major things over the last 12 days that I don't want to be overshadowed by his strike. First, on his 11-month birthday, he took his first steps. N was playing with him in our large great room and all of us were there. He just took off and tottled about 2-3 steps before falling on his bum. BBZ was there too. It was such a special moment because all of us were there and we all clapped for him, even BBZ! It was really special.
The next thing is LBZ's new 2-word sentence. I was feeding him one of the first bottles after his strike in his room before bed. There was about an ounce left and he sat up and kept pushing the bottle away. I said "are you all done?" and I guess he remembered back to dinner when I was trying to teach him the sign for all done. He crossed his arms in from of his body over and over and said "ah-du, ah-du" with such certainty of what he was saying! At the time I wished that there was a way he could have told me he was done with nursing so I would know whether or not to keep trying. Maybe that is what he was trying to say :)
I caught some steps on video this past weekend. He is such a little independent man. While I am sad that nursing is done, I am beginning to feel very proud of him for not needing to nurse anymore. I imagine I will look back on my sweet littlest boy's life and say that he has always done exactly what he wanted to do, when he wanted to do it. And that once he make sup his mind, it's done. Sounds a bit like someone else I know :)
I also want to thank everyone who sent me prayers, good thoughts, loving messages and comments as I weathered this storm. It means so much to me that people care about me and my little family. I was so afraid of this being the outcome, yet it feels as though things are exactly as they should be. It's funny how life works out that way sometimes. You know, exactly as it should.