Breastfeeding Magdalena has been quite a different experience from Miriam's for many reasons, and I knew from the beginning that I most likely would not be nursing her for as long as I did Miriam. I made a half-hearted goal of 12 months figuring it would be pretty easy, but as it turns out, it was often a challenge to keep going for that long.
Anyway, this post is not a weepy eulogy mourning the passing of an era. It is the story of how Magdalena was weaned, somewhat accidentally.
Breastfeeding was never the same after I got sick back in June, not even after I worked hard to get my milk back. I knew my lactating days were numbered, and that was fine with me. But I was still determined to give it my best effort, and not wean Magdalena against her will, at least not if we could avoid it. It worked out OK. A little after she turned a year old, Magdalena was down to only one nursing session a day. Once you get down to that number, you know it's only a matter of time before you're done altogether.
Then Magdalena got sick. A couple of times, actually. She seems to have the smallest nasal passages on the planet, which means that if she is even a little congested, she can't breathe at all through her nose. That made for some difficult nursing, even when she wanted it so desperately. We worked through the first sickness, but it was stressful and exhausting for both of us. She got upset because she couldn't breathe well enough to latch on, and my milk was slow to let down because she wasn't sucking enough. Each situation was exacerbated by the other.
Somehow, we made it through. A few weeks later, she got sick again. And the fight just went entirely out of her. Instead of being frustrated that she couldn't nurse, she seemed irritated that we were still trying to. So she went a couple of days without nursing because she was too congested to make it work and I wasn't willing to force a 14-month-old to do it. (This couple of days happened to span a certain running relay. The extra discomfort of engorgement was just another lovely factor for my body to deal with during that strenuous experience.)
I gave it another shot the other day after her nose had cleared up a bit, but all the charm was gone. She settled down to nurse as usual but broke off soon after beginning and didn't even make an effort to continue. It was as if she was supremely bored and uninterested by the whole thing.
I guess I got the message.
Happy Weaning, Magdalena!