20130219

ON THE END OF NURSING

over the years that huck + i have nursed i've taken a lot of quick photos to document it. i know that may seem weird, but i wanted a visual reminder of what a wonderful blessing nursing was in my life. i'd like to share a few of the more "subtle" of them here with you in this post. because i am not at all squeamish about nursing boobs, and i hope that none of you are, either. :)

three years ago, on a wednesday in mid february, i found out i was pregnant.

almost exactly three years to the day later i nursed that baby to sleep for the very last time.

he was ready.

i was not.



i really, really like nursing. and i did not want to wean. though i suppose two and a half is a pretty decent time to stop, if you have to. so why has this been so hard for me?




nursing this baby has been, in the thirty years i've been alive, my favorite thing i've ever done. not the best, not the most impressive--i mean, come on i do have ambitions outside of being a mother (and i'm sure potty training will feel like quite the braggable feat)--but my very most favorite, and such an honor. i have loved these years as a nursing mother. i am so horribly sad to see it end. 

a part of me is in mourning.

when i think about our last nurse together, in the quiet of his dark bedroom while i stroked his hair and hummed our favorite song, still an entire week later, it makes me want to cry.

i wasn't ready. i wasn't ready.




i would have happily nursed indefinitely. huge fan of extended breastfeeding here. had it not been for this damn body of mine, and the fact that getting pregnant might take some real big guns this time around, i'd happily have nursed for forever.



and that huck, he's all big boy now. since we stopped nursing, he has thrived. he was ready. i'm proud of myself for seeing the signs and letting it happen.



why do i miss it? isn't this backwards? shouldn't i be so happy that it's over? aren't most women? i'm hoping all this really means that i'm not supposed to be finished with nursing yet.




so therein lies the trick. i am weaning for another baby. a baby i believe is coming . . . eventually. a hopefully-soon baby. i am stopping out of faith that in stopping there will come another beginning.

it's been so hard for me to remember that. especially when i'm sitting here missing the nursing and feeling sort of a little sorry for myself.





so, weaning. it turns out we women are our own worst enemies and we don't talk about this stuff with each other nearly often enough and so i'm going to talk about it. because weaning su-u-ucks.

weaning feels like the first trimester of pregnancy all over again. we're talking mood swings. mood mother effing SWINGS. and engorgement. oh holy boobs of fire.



other common side effects of weaning: hot flashes, night sweats, bloating (bloating, i got the bloating), head aches, light nausea, irritability, engorgement leading to possible mastitis...

isn't this fun? let's all wean every day!



this craving for the weight of a baby in my arms as we nurse, this is a good thing. this is that time in my life, and i am working in that direction. 

it's like giving up breakfast so you can eat more at lunch . . . or something.

it's like taking a leap before knowing whether or not there's something to land on.

it's like that scene in indiana jones and the last crusade. i mean, not to be overly dramatic about it or anything.


most nights, after henry falls asleep without needing to nurse, i start to feel real sorry for myself. i'm being so silly about it, i know that. but i don't know when i'll get to nurse a baby again, it's this big unknown. and so in a way it feels a little bit like something i loved was torn from me.

i wasn't ready, i wasn't ready.



but the thing is. i am ready.



i am ready. and now, i am one step closer.

256 comments:

  1. Oh goodness, I don't even know you but I am going to pray that you get pregnant soon. What a sweet post. I nursed my first for 14 months and then #2, my little girl, was anti-boob. So sad, but they really are born with little minds of their own.

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  2. It is so bittersweet -- SO bittersweet. I was ready when my twins self weaned at a little over a year, and so was my supply. When my youngest was 18 months I wondered how long I would nurse, and when I went on a 5 day trip we called it a good run. I enjoyed it more than I ever thought I would, and I proudly display it on my mental board of achievements. You definitely should too.

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  3. This was a beautiful post. Best of luck to you!

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  4. This is what motherhood is all about. These moments, these stories, these heartfelt words, these are the things that get me excited about someday having my own babies.

    These are the things that make me proud to be a woman. I mean really, us women are pretty rad creatures! Am I right?!

    Big love and praying for that babe coming your way! xoxo

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  5. This was such an amazing post, seriously. I loved reading it. You have completely captured how & why it is such an incredible thing to do.

    I found breast-feeding both my children really hard and felt that I was just not very good at it at all. How wonderful to be totally brilliant at it as you obviously were/are.

    I can absolutely feel how hard it was for you to give up though, I'm in awe that you did it for as long as you did.

    I hope hope hope that it will not be too long before you are doing it again with a newborn.

    Beautiful photos, you are so photogenic!!

    Thanks for sharing :)

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  6. You should be so proud that you made it this far with nursing! Huck is a lucky boy! Weaning is the absolute worst. No one warns you how it will make you feel. I thought I was losing my mind. Thank you for writing this! It is so difficult to explain what nursing does to a woman. I really really hope you get to nurse again soon and it seems only fair that you're really good at it : )

    X Joan

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  7. I love that you have so many pictures of nursing your sweet boy. I don't think I have any of nursing my older two kids. Our 3rd baby is due in 5 weeks and I hope to get more pictures of me feeding her. It's such a special time!

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  8. I can get pregnant while nursing, but my sis-in-laws can not. It's tough to make a choice to benefit another child, and I'm glad Huck was ready for it. I hope the big guns aren't too miserable for you, and you get that new baby soon!

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  9. My son is just a year last week and I am reminded by this post to document our nursing relationship more. It really is oh-so-special. I've taken a few here and there but I don't want to forget.

    Thinking of you Natalie. Hoping sooner rather than later for her arrival. :)

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  10. "i am stopping out of faith that in stopping there will come another beginning." i love that!

    nursing only lasted for six months with my boy and me, and it really is too bad that no one tells you just how physically awful it is to stop. try wrapping your chest with an ace bandage as tight as you can possibly get it at night. it worked for me, although my boobs were nowhere NEAR as productive as yours! :) best of luck with everything and crossing all my fingers and toes that a sweet baby will come your way soon!

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  11. so i just wrote like a super long comment about my battle with nursing but how it is now one of my most favorite things too. but then this computer got all dumb and deleted it. and i was so going to be the first commenter. cool computer... real cool.

    it's the best time with C when I nurse. The absolute best is when they unlatch, look up at you, and just give a million dollar smile. I never thought I would nurse longer than 3 months and now i'm on month 5 going for 1 year! i can't believe it.

    nursing really is the best of best and something no one will ever understand unless they experience it.

    beautiful post

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  12. oh my gosh. i feel your heart ache. so beautifully written. it's such a precious thing to go without. but you can SO do this!

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  13. As a new breastfeeding momma ( my son is 4 months old) it is awesome to read such a heartfelt post. Nursing has been quite difficult (read:painful!) for me. Your words are so true and I hope I am able to continue nursing my son until he's ready to be done as well. Thank you for this beautiful post!

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  14. Congratulations to you for making it 2.5 years! I started reading your blog when I was pregnant, around when Huck was born, and your photos of you guys nursing and your descriptions of the experience made me so excited to try it. (It worked, we made it barely a year, and my daughter was-is a skinnybritches. Alas.)

    Your blog is important! Every woman you can make WANT to breastfeed will surely thank you.

    Good luck. I am sending my best hopes your way.

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  15. Wonderful& beautiful post. Thank you so much for sharing this. My baby's 10 months and I've been contemplating weaning (not because I want to but because nursing has always been an uphill battle for me and I've never quite reached the top). But I have still loved every second of it and it will be difficult for me to be done. I hope you don't have to wait long to do it again! Good thoughts your way :) Also, way to go on the 2 and 1/2 years! That really is incredible and the best part is you loved it the whole time!

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  16. I had the same experience with nursing. I nursed all three of my babies for 2 and a half years, and I loved every minute of it. It has been seven years since I nursed a baby, and my body still longs for it (even though I am all dried up). I pray your baby comes soon. I have been waiting for my baby for the past four years, and I am all too familiar with the pain of infertility. It sucks!
    Beautiful post, Natalie! I look forward to your posts everyday. You will never know how much hope you have brought to me. Thank you for sharing. :)

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  17. this is a really beautiful post Natalie. thinking of you.

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  18. I nursed my first baby until he was 22 months old, at which point he was ready to stop. I got pregnant promptly thereafter, however, I remember a full week of engorgement (then it stopped, i hope that for you too!) and weeping. Oh, I wept. I sobbed and lie on the couch feeling sorry for myself. Then I wept some more. It was truly heart-wrenching.

    Hugs, mama.

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  19. BEEEEEAUUUTIFUL post! I am so jealous of your nursing power! My little Benny is just 8 months now and we had to stop nursing after a surgery left me VERY drugged, incapable of pumping, and losing my already depleting milk. (SO wish I had never gone back to work part time, it ruined my supply)But you are incredible.. I love that you documented it. And thank you for sharing it on here.

    I never wanted to nurse, never thought I would. Then, my baby was born, we struggled for the first few days, but when we got it.. and it was AWESOME! It is the single most incredible experience I have ever had. I felt pretty proud of myself.. now not so much that my milk ran out. And now reading your story I REALLY feel like a dud.
    You are a power woman, and I believe that nursing newborn will be right around the corner. Head up, Mama!

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  20. Also you should become a lactation specialist or something :) I bet you'd be really good at it!

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  21. My son weaned himself at 11 months. I was not ready at all, although my supply had dwindled to almost nothing, so I guess my body was ready. It was such a bittersweet time. A few weeks after it was over, I remember just crying and crying about how I wanted to nurse just one more time. But, like you, I'm hoping for another baby sometime soon and look forward to nursing him or her. It's funny I ended up loving it so much, because I had such a rocky start... I hated it for the first two months! But it's amazing how it becomes such a precious part of our lives. Great post. And best of luck to you on baby #2!

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  22. Aw, Natalie. Thinking of you definitely. I love that you can throw in your sassy sense of humor while writing something as meaningful as this ("recreational purposes only"!!!!). You're wonderful and we are all thinking of you!

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  23. such a lovely post you hot momma!
    "recreational purposes only"

    gawd, i love you.

    xo the egg out west.

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  24. Loved this post and I completely agree. I nursed my three daughters and was made for the job as well. It came easily and was difficult for me to give up. I loved every minute of it and while each child was different, I grieved the weaning process horribly. I cried for weeks and always felt I wasn't ready. I felt I had no "special" purpose because I was no longer solely keeping my baby nourished and didn't have that special bonding time. The good news is that it does get easier with the days, although you will always feel a bit sad. You will find that once you get through the sadness of giving something up, you will find a new and amazing thing to do with Huck. Good luck, Natalie. :-)

    Also, my cousin gave me the best tip for the horribly painful engorgement. (Ouch!) Put a hot washcloth on the boobs to allow them to leak for just a moment. It will relieve some of the pain but still allow them to dry up. I hope this helps!

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  25. Your experience with nursing was so different from mine, almost enviable. It sounds like it was all so beautifiul. I hope you will experience it again soon:) This was a wonderful post.

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  26. Thank you for writing this post. I've just weaned my 18-month-old and beyond the emotional toll it's taken I've physically felt terrible all week. I can now put the headache, nausea and moodiness together with weaning and it makes perfect sense. Silly me for not thinking of the hormonal havoc this is taking.
    This is my third and likely final baby, so the weaning is bittersweet. I'm kind of thrilled to have my body back, but man I'm going to miss the special bond that only he and I had. But, it's time. He's ready for it and with a solo trip in the works I'm really excited to not have to bring the old beast of a pump along.
    I also weaned my second daughter to begin fertility treatments and now when I see she and baby that came of those treatments, I know without a doubt the right decision was made.

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  27. loved how you brought this back around natalie. i hope you start feeling better soon and i hope more than anything 2013 brings another little one into your family.

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  28. I engorged really badly with my first weaning too. Had great boobs, terribly painful but man were they fantastic!

    I found that binding my chest with an ace bandage helped a lot, also using raw cabbage leaves inside your bra (against your skin) helps to dry out your milk. Also turns it green. Which is weird. Change them every hour or 2, basically when they stop feeling all cold and slimy on your skin. Really helped. Good luck, and yes it's hard to let go...

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  29. GURRRRLLLL, that's the best post I've ever read! I'm nursing my 4th son and with each one I drag it out a little longer. Love love love nursing. I always tell my husband that I wish I could nurse some orphans (for them to thrive and for me to share my gallons of extra milk). It's just so good for all parties involved. Good luck making another cute baby! You have my prayers.

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  30. This post was beautiful. My daughter is turning one this Friday and the questions have already started coming from friends and family about when I'm planning on weaning. Let me just say right now - I am not at all ready right now and, thankfully, neither is she. There will be no weaning any time soon. I love love love nursing and can't imagine the sadness I will feel when it's over.

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  31. lovely post!! I really think this will be the key to helping you get pregnant again!

    I'm surprised you have been so engorged after getting down to one feeding a day... I nursed my daughter for 15 months, got down to one feeding a day, and only noticed slightly fuller breasts for 2 days... but def experienced other symptoms! Oh, and look out for hair loss :( but of course it comes back pretty quickly.

    I love how you brag about being good at nursing! I felt the same way!! Yet I never felt like I could express it to my friends because it seemed like several of them were either a) currently struggling with it b) had tried and quit or c) did not even consider breastfeeding.... I just could not understand. It came so naturally for my daughter and I (actually, she should take the credit!). so effortless and natural. I guess I should count us lucky.

    Anyway, thanks for sharing this on the blog! :)

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  32. I so hope I enjoy it as much as you. It's coming in June...and I hope I'm as successful! It's always been a taboo topic to me, I reeeaaaallly hope that changes when baby girl arrives! Sending prayers your way momma - you'll get there, I just know it! I can sense it!

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  33. You, dear Natalie, have a beautiful mother's heart. I love that. I want that. As it turns out, husband and I suck at making babies, too. For now. I have a feeling that when God blesses us with the babies we have been desiring all of these years {and I know that He will), I will love nursing them just as much as you do.

    You are beautiful.

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  34. Oh my gosh, yes. I love nursing. My own Henry is 14 months next week and I can't bear to think about weaning him. (For his part, he can't bear the sight of solid food, so, you know. He's doing his level best to keep me in business.) But I don't look forward to the day when we wean. I desperately hope you get the baby you're praying for. You are such a wonderful mama.

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  35. Oh, thank you for writing this. I nursed my son until he was 15 months, and A YEAR LATER I still miss nursing him. We are so privileged to be able to do this act.

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  36. Thank you for sharing this post! Beautiful images, Mama.

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  37. What a post! Needless to say, I am sending preggy vibes (if such a thing exists!) your way! I am not a mother nor am I intrigued by fashion and clothes, but I just found your blog and I LOVE IT! You are a beautiful writer and this post is a perfect example of sincerity, humility, and bravery. I wiped away a tear reading your words and my heart poured out. You have a mother's heart if ever there was one. Bravo! Henry and future wee's are lucky you're their mama.

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  38. i'm no doctor, but i can definitely back up the statement that one can absolutely get pregnant while breastfeeding. i will raise my own hand as a real-life example of that phenomenon.
    happy weaning. it gets easier. i promise.

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  39. You're beautiful and honest and amazing. Thank you for sharing. xo

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  40. I loved this post and I adore you and your raw emotions....I love when you write like this. I wish I could convey my own thoughts and feels as well as you do. I just started considering a second child. My son is 5 and self weened at 11 months. I was a working mom and by the time I got home to nurse him he had been drinking a bottle of breast milk all day and had no interest in working for it. It seriously broke my heart and made me feel like a failure for not making it a year. A stinking month short and I felt like crap. Looking back I can attribute a lot of that to all the crap I read online and the inherent competitiveness that comes with mothering. It's silly. I too was GREAT at breastfeeding...never had a single problem except my son not wanting me in the end. :( Can't wait to nurse another babe and I know you will be doing that very soon. Have faith. xoxo

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  41. Oh man weaning is SOOO hard. I sometimes feel guilty that I weaned my 22 month old before she was ready because I was ready to wean her (I was thankfully 6 months pregnant with her brother, so the whole getting pregnant while nursing thing indeed does/can happen). This is so the stuff moms never talk about. It is really hard to hit that sweet spot where it is the right time for both of you. You are awesome that you made it as far as your son wanted to go.

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  42. great post, and i love your writing. breastfeeding is a special thing. it's been very hard for me, but i'm so glad that i have stuck with it. some people are surprised that i'm still nursing (he's only 6 months old?) so that's great that you nursed for so long despite some stupid people out there. i'm so excited for you to have another little squishy.

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  43. This was lovely. Thanks for sharing.

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  44. Duuuuuuuuude.

    So beautiful and touching and OH THE EMOTIONS!

    Sniff!

    Only you can make breastfeeding sound like the most fascinating topic on earth, and so moving. You got some gift, girl.

    May God bless you with another child.

    Also? Those two photos below the "i wasn't ready. i wasn't ready." bit...? Gorgeous!

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  45. Love, love, love. Here's to all the nursing mamas.

    Mine were 2.5 when they also weaned themselves. It was easier and harder than I ever thought it would be. So happy you shared your nursing toddler, we need more of it.

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  46. Such a sweet and thoughtful post. Nursing and weaning are a whole bag of emotions, which is hard to put into words. You did an excellent job articulating what many mommies feel. Good luck!

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  47. Breast feeding was a nightmare for me an I ended up pumping for a year. It was awful, nothing like your experience and even I still missed it! Weirdo! But I think your emotions are totally normal. And you can blame your mood swings on those blessed hormones. Ya done good honey! http://www.thismomsgonnasnap.com

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  48. My favorite post yet. I still proudly nurse my almost one year old with no signs of stopping. My boobs are milk machines. Thanks for making me proud of them. Weaning sounds terrible and I refuse to think about it.

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  49. This post made me cry. It may have something to do with the fact that I was snuggling my sleep-nursing baby boy at the time. I too have many (discreet?) pictures of my baby nursing. I don't ever want to forget such sweet moments.

    My heart was aching for you and with you. I really hope you're feelings are true & your next child will be here soon.

    Hugs & love from an internet stranger

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  50. What a beautiful post. I too, love nursing my baby and I know I'll miss it when I'm done. Here's hoping you have another sweet baby to nurse very soon:)

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  51. i felt very similar to you when my son self-weaned at just over a year old. it was one of those things that he was obviously ready for but i was most definitely not. and it's funny, because before i became pregnant and even while i was pregnant, i was anti-breastfeeding; i was certain it was not for me. and then he was born and everything changed. and it became my most favorite times of the day.

    yes, i worked full-time until he was about a year old and had to pump while away from him and i absolutely loathed that. big time. but first thing in the morning or as soon as i walked in the door from being gone all day (and heck, multiple times at night), i wouldn't trade that for anything.

    i'm feeling for ya lady. fingers crossed and hands folded in prayer that you get your second baby.

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  52. You aren't the only one! I LOVED nursing and I would have kept going as well. My daughter pretty much self weaned at 2 1/2 over like a 3 month period. It was so slow and gradual that there wasn't much heartache. I miss it though. It makes me sad when she points to my boobs and tells me its "all gone." I hope there are future babies to nurse because, you are right, it is one of the most special things i've ever done.

    Good luck with all the baby-making business. I'll pray for the best!

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  53. This was lovely! I don't have any babies, but you sure make me want to hop on the baby bandwagon. :)

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  54. I love this post! I also love nursing and have just weaned my 2 year old this week also, what a coincidence eh? Anyway, your post made me want another baby even though i am swamped with the 3 i already have...sigh. Life goes on and one doesn't it?

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  55. I just know you are going to get pregnant again soon. I'm usually right about these things, if it's worth anything. You seem like a really wonderful mom, I'm really rooting for you.

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  56. Oh, my goodness... I have been going through the same thing. Well, I haven't weaned my son yet, but I've been cutting back feedings because he was biting me on one side and I had an actual sore!! Eek. He's 15 months, and like you, I would happily nurse for ages, I think. Now that the sore from his biting is healing and he isn't biting as much, (I hope!) nursing is no longer the absolutely torturous experience it was, and I realize how I am absolutely not ready to completely wean him yet. He's my fourth and could be my last, and I totally identify with your feelings of "being good at this." It's such a special thing.
    I hope for you that it really does mean baby time is on its way!

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  57. What sweet thoughts to share; I'm pulling for you to meet your new baby soon!

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  58. Oh Natalie...this post was lovely!

    I nursed my three girls for two years, and my son...for three! Like you I was a pro at nursing, and in between those five years of having each child it was harder for me to get pregnant. It was bittersweet weaning Noah from my breast at three, but I actually miss it at times. Sometimes he'll even say, "I want teee." (he wants to nurse) We were both pros at it, and at 41 years of age I do miss it sometimes.

    Possibly because he is going to be my last child (and only boy!)

    It'll get easier, and maybe you'll get pregnant quicker now that you have weaned him.

    Good luck with getting pregnant again!

    xo

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  59. Soo sweet, I nursed my daughter for 2.5 years as well. It's my favorite as well. Good lyck with number two! Hopefully she'll be on the horizon very soon.

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  61. OH, how I love this! It made me tear up because I know how you feel. My first boy weaned at 15 months and I was so ready, and he was ready and did it on his own. But it was because I was pregnant with my second boy and it just all worked out that way. But with my baby now, my second boy, he is almost 18 months with no sign of stopping to soon. I thought since my other one weaned earlier I needed to wean soon. So I tried about 2 weeks ago...I was not ready and neither was he, I cried and then nursed him(it also helped that my boob was screaming for it). And I am so glad you wrote this because you make me feel better to not force it. So thank you.
    Also you are a great writer, because you have so much emotion behind each word.

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  62. I can't even read this whole thing, you are making me cry. I'm still nursing a two year old (as of this weekend, hbd) and I quit nursing her older sister because I got pregnant with her. I mean, technically, I could have tried to fight through the morning sickness plus baby feeding while exhausted...but darn it. it was too hard. And I felt awful about it. and oh gosh, these things are hard. and my goodness, I just want you to get pregnant soon so you can start breastfeeding again.

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  63. Oof! This made me teary because I can relate to every.single.word. Wish you nothing but luck in the baby making department! Cheers to more babies! <3

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  64. What a beautiful post! I love nursing, too, and you got me all teary thinking of the day it will all be over (and permanently over--no more babies here). Fortunately, my baby boy is 11 months so I've got some more time.

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  65. i LOVE this so much. as i read it, i am nursing my own little lady... and i can easily say that breastfeeding has become one of my favorite favorite things. i didn't know a girl could truly enjoy it so much because nobody talks about it like that! i feel like in our culture i'm a total weirdy for loving it. and it's going to be really really hard for me to let go of it one day, too, so thanks for the inspiration :) you are such a good mama and have one beautiful and healthy boy to show for it! xo

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  66. I have an almost-one-month old and I just happened to have taken our first of what I hope is many breastfeeding photos. We, unlike you and Huck, aren't pro's at it, but I don't think there's a woman out there more determined than I am. It is actually extremely hard for me and I get so incredibly emotional about it. I am terrified at the prospect that it won't end up lasting because my milk will dry up prematurely, and that would shatter my heart. Thank you for writing this post, the stigma in our culture against breastfeeding is so opposite of my feelings and it's good to know I'm not alone. I hope to look back on my first few difficult weeks of breastfeeding and shake my head because it'll be so easy!

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  67. hi natalie, loved this post. i nursed my daughter until she was 27 months old and while i felt super sad and can still bring myself to tears if i think about it too much, i have to say i felt a bit liberated. what i wasn't prepared for was the insane roller coaster of symptoms and feelings that followed. i think it may have led to PMDD (a more extreme pms) and a whole hormonal imbalance. i wish i had taken better care of myself right after weaning - nursing and having your period can leave you seriously depleted. one of my best friends is a holistic nutritionist and had suggested a program of vitamins and healing foods that i should take to replenish but in my weird state i didn't heed her advice. if you can, take a lot of time for yourself to try and re-balance. good luck!

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  68. How absolutely sweet! I'm currently tandem nursing my 2.5 year old and my almost 8 month old. Its been an interesting journey. I really need to blog about it soon.

    By the way, cabbage leaves will totally help with the engorgement. Just slap a leaf on each boob. You'll feel so much better. :)

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  69. Hi! I loved this, too. I nursed my sweet boy until he was 31 months, loved our time together...me singing to him while he hummed all the while nursing and playing with my hair. I, too, was a natural. Milo came out knowing just what to do and my milk supply was always over abundant! My husband jokes that my tombstone will say, "she was one helluva breastfeeder!" We are trying for our second and I totally look forward to doing it all over again, and if that doesn't biologically happen and we adopt a baby, then I will always look back on my precious time with my son when we spent sooooo many hours of the day in each others arms loving it up. xx

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  70. Hopefully this makes it easier for u to have another baby. Hang in there. And hopefully ur breasts won't feel so sore soon! Love this post, really makes me feel nursing my boy too. He's already 4 years old and this post reminds me of the moments I nursed him... Such lovely memories :)

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  71. Really makes me miss nursing my boy too* (sorry for the typo mistake!)

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  72. Praying for you Natalie. I hope you have another baby in your arms soon

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  73. this is such a beautiful post, and one that i hope will only precede ones with many photos of you with a newborn in your arms again.

    my little one decided she was ready at 15 months, even though i still had a pretty good milk supply. she started refusing to nurse, and i would pump, hoping it was only a phase... but eventually she just stopped, and i felt like a failure in a way, but she was doing great, and has been great. other than one incident - a month after weaning she fell and i picked her up and rocked her and she pulled a dried-up boob out to nurse. then i was crying too.

    you have done a good job. hope you feel better soon.

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  74. This was so beautiful. It has been about twenty years since I nursed my last baby and I still miss that sweet, unique season of my life. I have decided that in heaven I will be "locked in" at nursing mother age. Smile.

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  75. This is so great. So great. I just weaned my 18 month old and although she was ready and I was dried up it was so much harder than I even thought it could be. Thanks for your honesty and transparency on topics like this, so refreshing.

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  76. beautiful, beautiful post . thank you for your honesty, your bravery & your candor. you are an inspiration to me, someone who has never had children but hopes to in the years to come - all the way in my little corner of the word in RI. so thank you!

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  77. this was simply, hands down, BEAUTIFUL. i let out such a long contented sigh after reading this.
    you are woman, and i hear you roar.

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  78. Love, love, love this post. I send nothing but good luck and well wishes in your journey to your next beautiful baby.

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  80. Natalie I really loved this post! My baby suffered nipple-confusion around 5 months, when I'd leave a bottle of pumped breastmilk for her while I was at class. She weaned herself off about that time and I was utterly depressed to find that she had whittled my milk supply down to nonexistence. One of my biggest priorities is to do everything I can to nurse my next baby for as long as we both need. Beautiful pictures too! I find your documentation of this special act so inspiring.

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  81. I love nursing pictures, nursing, and this post. I am gonna be the same way when the time comes to an end. Mourning, 100%. This is so normal. Let yourself feel it.

    Thanks for writing this-- Good, good post.

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  82. I love nursing my son as well. It didn't work out with my first born. There was so much pain and we could never figure out the proper latch. I pumped until he was 6 months, but I was unsatisfied with our experience. I tried again this time around with my second born and it has been a dream. Don't get me wrong, the first couple of weeks were hard, but once we pushed through, it was and has been amazing. I feel this bond, this sense of empowerment. I am feeding him, I am filling him with nutrients. I am the reason he's got those sweet, chubby, munchable little legs. And I love it. He's almost 6 months and I plan to continue on. :)

    Your post was so refreshing to me, because you do always hear about mothers who are so done with it and ready to get their body's back and there's nothing wrong with this, but it's nice to see the other side too. :)

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  83. oh this is just heart wrenching. I hate that you have to stop but I am so excited for your next chance to do it again. I hope it is so so soon. You guys are just so easy to love. Thank you for sharing your life. I also had a really hard time weaning. I weaned at a year and my daughter didn't eat anything and I was pumping every three hours (even at night. I was insane) bc we had a hard time actually nursing and she wasn't into food. And at a year I just stopped. That was def not my best move. She was constipated and I was more engorged than I knew possible. OH it was so sad. I just felt so emotional and sad- like a cloud was following me around. I wish I had known that more people felt that way. I almost got on anti depressants because I didn't know what was wrong with me. It did pass and I hope it passes quickly for you. The only thing that helped my huge boobs was cabbage leaves on them. I didn't want to do it due to the salad bar aroma that I gave off (and really every other obvious reason), but it really did work. When I weaned my twins I didn't want to do it, but cabbage really saved my life. I highly recommend it, but maybe try it at night first :)

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  84. I loved this post. So wonderfully written. I've nursed both my girls beyond the "norm", and I've never regretted it for a minute. Yay for super boobs!

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  85. this was really beautiful. really, really beautiful.

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  86. gorgeous post natalie, as always. wishing and praying the new baby into your open arms very soon!

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  87. Oh how precious! You and I are opposite.... I can get pregnant just by my husband looking at me, but I haven't been able to nurse either of my babies. My son would have never nursed, but my daughter who is now 11 months old would have been a great nurser, but got nipple confusion and attached to her bottles. I have plenty of milk and have been pumping for 11 months so she can have the good breastmilk. Nursing is the most important bond you can have with your baby... and I so envy you of that!!! I have seriously cried and basically mourned our rocky nursing relationship. I would have given anything to nurse like you did. I loved your photos and reading about your journey. Praying you get pregnant soon!!! Babies are such a wonderful gift. Nothing beats being a mother.... NOTHING!!! :)

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  88. Beautiful post, Natalie. I still remember the exact date and moment I stopped nursing both of my babies. It really is sad, because it's such a wonderful bonding experience. Weening is really, really hard!! I heard about the whole cold cabbage leaves thing, and it really does work!

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  89. Oh, yes, you are a good mom, Natalie. Thank you for sharing this!

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  90. I loved, loved, loved reading this. And I had no idea that weaning caused so many physical/emotional symptoms.
    Good luck with the transition period.
    oxo

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  91. I've heard that putting cabbage leaves on your boobs help your milk dry up quicker. So maybe you could try that and if it does work, you won't hurt anymore. I'm sorry this has been so hard on you, but hopefully you will have that brand new baby in your arms soon. And you are a fantastic mother for recognizing the signs of Huck being ready. That's what we do as mothers; put our needs aside for the sake of our children's. Love your blog, girl.

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  92. Thank you. Just thank you for this.

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  93. i feel your pain. i just stopped nursing my little guy at the end of january but it's bc i'm expecting a new little one in september. i know this may sound weird, but i've been praying for you to get pregnant. God opens wombs!

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  94. i'm echoing hailey, i have had you in prayers over the past couple months as well, even though i don't know you in real life. thank you for writing this. even as someone who does not have any children yet, this speaks to the very primal part of me, the part i connect with whenever i talk or think about motherhood. and you put it oh so very well.

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  95. Beautiful post, thanks so much for sharing. I've been nursing for almost 3 years straight... first my daughter and now my son (got pregnant while nursing). It's shaped my entire experience with motherhood so far; I don't know yet what it's be like to be a non-nursing mom. I think you're brave for facing it head on... a previous commenter said that these kinds of experiences/moments are exactly what motherhood is, and I couldn't agree more. I hope the Reverend Mother and Fraulein Maria get the memo soon and that you'll have a sweet babe at your breast soon! You're amazing, and you really are a good mom. Take care of yourself these next few weeks.

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  96. As a nursing mother of the sweetest little 5 month old baby boy, thanks for reminding me what a blessing it truly is

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  97. ahh! chills, and the *i'm not gonna cry, i'm not gonna cry hand shakes in the air*
    also, not sure if it is or not, but it loooks like a lady sun bathing in a black thong in the photo of you and huck at the park. ha.

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  98. this is so darn cute! and I LOVE your honesty. It's so refreshing and perfect. I can not tell you how impatient I am for it to be my turn. i wish you all the babies you want and I pray that you have an easy journey this time around. xo

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  99. I loved all these pictures, I loved this post which I read while nursing my 10 month old. Nursing is a blessing, thanks for the reminder. <3

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  100. Dear Natalie, I'm nursing a 1 month old now. I really appreciated your post and I hope that the weaning will get easier for you. Thanks for writing such a beautiful and personal post.

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  101. Absolutely beautiful! And you`re so right... we woman need to talk about these things more often. We need to talk about all the things, haha!

    Thinking of you and hoping that you will indeed have that beautiful little baby soon.

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  102. Cue the tears! This is truly a beautiful post. My little guy is 7 months old and I can't imagine ever stopping nursing, I love it like you do and this makes me appreciate it all the more!

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  104. I am single & baby-less so I can't relate but my heart goes out to you. I also have an English degree and have to tell you this is truly a beautifully written piece. Thank you for sharing. Sending prayers and good thoughts for another baby to enter your life. Xoxoxo

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  105. This was beautiful. Thank you for sharing this story.

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  106. Oh I love this! But seriously you are my hero for being able to nurse that long! It really is so sad when you wean because it's like you are taking a huge step that you sort of hoped would never come. But you have many happy moments and sweet times to look forward to. Huck will make a great big brother:-) And LOL "hide your preschoolers"!

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  107. I'm so grateful to see another mom post about extended breastfeeding and that they enjoyed it!! I followed my boy's lead and weaned him around 22 months and then got pregnant about 2 months later. I miss it. Especially when he's sick or when I've had a long day and need the extra cuddles and quiet time. Hope all the weaning side effects go away soon!

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  108. Beautiful and a bit sad at the same time. I wonder when my turn comes... I'm at almost 17 months on it and my daughter is a huge fan (and so am I). Hope you feel better soon Natalie!
    www.haveamommyday.wordpress.com

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  109. Gorgeous post Natalie. I thought you must be dealing with something large as you haven't posted as frequently. I am so glad you and Huck had all those wonderful nursing moments. I nursed my girl until she was three and still remember so clearly that last nursing session, in our rocking chair, with her curled against me. We both knew it was the last time, and it was so bittersweet. She's now nearly eleven and I swear I could feel that old letting down of the milk feeling while I read this. Sometimes I even still dream of nursing...it really is an amazing bond. I wish for you to get pregnant soon; for that little one that you feel in your heart to come through and join your family. In the meantime, take care of yourself and congratulate yourself on an incredible mama job well done.

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  110. I just really loved reading this. It makes me look forward to being a mom someday. I love how open and honest you are about motherhood. It's very inspiring.

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  111. I loved this. I'm in the middle of nursing my six-month-old, and it's divine. Truly. I love that I love nursing, and I pray that you'll have another babe to nurse soon.

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  112. I have never commented before, but I love your blog. I too LOVE nursing. Whenever I go to a play group with my friends I feel like I can't talk about my love for nursing or I'll be shunned because they all hate it and like to talk about how they hate it. But yes I too love nursing, like you, and whenever I think of weaning it makes me really sad. Huck kind of reminds me of my baby boy too with all that hair. Thanks for sharing your feelings about this.

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  113. I can relate Nat, my daughter will be 3 in April. I stopped breast feeding her a few months ago. I was sick then ( we had all moved to southern argentina, Patagonia and all sick with terrible flus from the southern winter over here). She was still feeding once or twice a day but I kind off decided to stop. SHe still misses it and asks " one more breastfeed mummy" I feel lousy to end it soon. I think my partner thought she was getting too old. Oddly enough here in Argentina especially in small country towns woman breastfeed older kids and even paediatric doctors ask " if I still breastfeed" when I bring my daughter in during checkup etc. I miss it so but part of me needed to let go. She became needy and in charge of my breasts. She still asks for it in her own way and I am tempted at times to give in but it has been a few months. Good luck with getting back yourself back on track and falling pregnant. Love your photos and writing! Xx

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  114. You are amazing! I don't comment often (so many others do I figure mine wouldn't mean much!) but I've been following you since your infertility days in Idaho. I struggled for three years to get pregnant and ended up needing IVF, but now have a beautiful almost 13 month old daughter that I hope will nurse as long as Huck did. I imagine I will feel the same way when she weans, I already get saddened at how much less she's nursing since turning 1. These photos and your story are wonderful, you are a strong woman. I am hoping and praying you get pregnant with #2 quickly, you more than deserve it.

    April

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  115. I am sad and happy for you. It took me awhile to enjoy the time I spend nursing Søren but I have finally come around to it (My wonderful visitor came back too at 6 weeks- not happy!). I don't know when he'll wean. People ask and I just tell them I don't know. When he's ready? He likes food but he really loves nursing. It took us years to get pregnant with him so I can also understand the struggle with infertility. It's a battle in itself. I feel like since we fought so hard for him he will be my tiny baby forever. I wish you the best of luck on the journey to your next baby and please know that you are not alone.

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  116. Absolutely just wonderful. Thank you.

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  117. best post ever. thanks for writing it! love love love it! wishing and praying you'll have a new baby to nurse very very very soon!

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  118. This post helped me enjoy getting up at 2:45am with my 7 month old. :) Hey, you should try essential oils to help you through the weaning process. Peppermint, sage and jasmine are all excellent for drying up breast milk. Just apply topically to your breasts throughout the day. You'll want to use therapeutic grade pure essential oils either from doterra.com or youngliving..they're the 2 most reputable essential oil companies, I believe. There are also oils to help with fertility! ;)

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  119. This has to be my all time favourite post ever! I love all your photos and your honesty here. You have inspired me to start taking more photos of me nursing my son to capture these special moments. x

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  120. I read this as I was nursing my 3 months baby, at night and thought: I must remember to read this again when this time come for me. thanks for sharing.

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  121. Several weeks after I stopped nursing, and when I thought my milk was completely gone, I went to a wedding. I had on a beautiful silk dress. My husband and I were dancing close when I suddenly had let down and there on my dress like 2 bullseyes large wet rings. Hello world! It was quite the visual.

    About 8 months later my sister had her first child and as I stood welcoming my niece to earth, I felt the familiar tingling in my breasts. It took years for the tingling to go completely away.

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  122. This was so beautiful. What an amazing thing our bodies can do. It is a bittersweet thing. Best wishes to you in this time!

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  123. Oh, my heart. The other night, my 2 1/2 year old said to me (as I was nursing her), "Mama, pretty soon, no more mees? Mees is for babies?" And I, well, I lied right to her face and told her no, she still needed mees and how horrible am I! It's just, she flew through potty training and transitioning to a bed (both in the same week!), and suddenly she was the KID and nursing is all I have that's keeping her my baby and I just can't let that go yet. She's ready. I'm not. I never thought I'd be the one fighting to hold on. Thank you for writing this; I don't think I've ever commented before, but I needed to on this post, if only to say, I get it. And I hope you feel the weight of a nursling in your arms really, really soon... xoxo

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  124. This was absolutely beautiful... I can't imagine coming to the end of my nursing journey with my 11 month old yet... she's my everything. My boobs are all for her. (sorry for my husband, but when the time's right...) And it is the most incredible thing I've ever done and I will happily go on and on for as long as she wants. I hope you get your next nursing adventure soon!

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  125. What a brilliant post..im trying to start the weaning journey with my 16 month old..and it is so so sooo hard!

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  126. I just can't comment on the stopping of breastfeeding-- ugh, hits too deep and too too much, Missy!:) But beautifully written, I actually cried because it runs along the exact same vein in my soul.
    BUT! To stop the pain asap, take some benedryl or sudafed-- dry those puppies right up!

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  127. Oh how wonderful you got to nurse for so long. My daughter (15 months now) was done at 10months... and that sucks! (no pun intended) I wanted to nurse forever and one night I had an aha moment. Maybe she keeps biting me because she's not interested, not because she's teething. And that was it. My baby grew up. Didn't give me any notice or anything. The love we have for our babies :)

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  128. Oh, how I long for another baby so I can nurse again. But, it took me almost 9 yrs to have my first baby (who just turned 2)! I am putting my faith in God to bless us again with another baby. :)

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  129. That's wonderful you nursed so long! I nursed my little one til she was FOUR and it was an incredible sweet bonding time for us and we both look back on it with such fondness! I wanted it to be her decision to stop when she was ready (only thing that felt right to me) and it was...between the span of 3 and four she had stopped nursing during the day and it was only at bedtime and morning...and then just at bedtime by the time she was four. I think because it was a gradual process there was no engorgment, mood swings, or any of that. I'm sorry! :( But I was certainly sad after the last time...very. It took some time for sure. Anyway, my gal has never been sick - ear infection, cold, anything...I know extended nursing is one of BIG reasons for that. Way to go Nat! I'm not going to read comments but I hope you're getting sweet ones on this. I'm a VERY passionate extended breastfeeder too! Hope everything gets back to normal soon for you - "new normal".

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  130. What a beautiful post! My little man is the same age as yours (within days actually). We had a terrible, nightmare time breastfeeding, and we only made it 3 months. It took me a good year to get over the experience and forgive myself for not being able to do it. I'm so happy you had a good experience and hope this leads to great things in the future!

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  132. Oh Natalie. This post is beautiful, I'm actually crying. Also I'm with you on the longing-for-a-baby thing. Here's hoping and praying that you get pregnant soon. Lots of love.

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  133. beautiful words! Im going through kind of the same :)
    thanks for sharing

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  134. Natalie - It's hard. It's heartbreaking every single time, and I'm on my fifth little one. I sympathize. And, also, crush a cabbage leaf and put it in you bra and you'll be all dried up in no time. Old wives, they know some stuff.

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  135. Oh Natalie, this just made me cry. My baby weaned himself around 20 months- there weren't any trumpets, it just sort of quietly happened one day. He's two now and I'm trying to pep myself up for another type of weaning...stopping our co-sleeping arrangement. He's slept next to me every night since the day he was born and I think this will be a lot harder on me than it will be on him. Sigh. Thanks for sharing this, you seem like a truly wonderful mom and I believe that next baby has chosen you already and will be here soon. xoxo

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  136. I absolutely loved this! And I'm jealous of all of your nursing photos! It never occurred to me to document those moments (although it definitely should have since I've spent so much time nursing). My youngest is 18 months with no interest in stopping. I'm all for that except that I'm going to be taking a trip, for a WEEK, WITHOUT kids (what?!) in a few months so I have a deadline looming over me. I'm not ready to be done but I also don't want to spend my week in the UK with my sisters engorged and miserable. Ugh. I'm praying that you have peace, that you gain strength during your pause as a woman whose body is her own, and that said body has a new job soon!

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  137. Thank you for writing such a great post about nursing! I nursed all 6 of mine forever and ever (until I was halfway through my pregnancy with the next one, each time) and it was so hard to wean the last one! Because I knew another baby wasn't coming. But now I'm super sad because after all those years of nursing, I don't have one picture to show for it. I love that you have pictures.

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  138. this was absolutely beautiful, and i hope it brings you closer to that new little baby.

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  139. it's definitely going to happen...xoxoxo

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  140. i loved this post. absolutely loved it. i wish you to get pregnant as soon as soon can be - i am so impressed and loved absolutely your passion for nursing and your fearless GORGEOUS pictures. i am pregnant and my baby is only 15 months old, and she is not so interested in nursing when my milk started to change, and it is KILLING me. i DREAM of breastfeeding for longer then two - but i have not been able to. I was, until THIS time, one of those, who could not be pregnant and nursing at the same time - i had to wean to move on forward with a new pregnancy. until this time. i was so elated that i finally get to do BOTH, and then my baby somewhat changed her mind, and the hormones sort of played with my supply... when you have another one - let's make an indefinite breastfeeding club?! because i am definitely in "indefinite" mindset. 3,5 ... whenever. and i love you forever for writing this. xo
    www.livingnotesfromnyc.com

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  141. Girllll!!! You had me all up in my feelings this morning on my way to work. I was crying on the platform at 59th Street looking like I just broke up with my boyfriend. I am sharing this via FB but I wanted to say that while our situations are not totally the same, I weaned my 2 year old in December -- three weeks after his second birthday -- and while it was more me than him needing the break, I mourned the decision afterward cause I too was a champ at nursing despite having two preschoolers to tend for, a full-time job and not-so-subtle hints from family and friends and nosy strangers wondering just when I was going to stop. I applaud you for this moving post. Thanks for making me feel at 10 a.m.

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  142. THANK YOU so much for sharing your heart, and your experience. You are an incredible woman. I have wanted to have my babies for years and years already, but it's never the right time (not finished school...planning to be a midwife, and it would be way too hard to have young babies and be on call for 2 1/2 years). Breastfeeding is probably the thing I look forward to most when I consider having kids. I have dreams where I'm breastfeeding my babies, and they are so real it hurts. I feel for you so hard. SO much love to you, and Henny as you take this journey. I am hoping and wishing for you all that you soon have that niggling feeling, and take that test :)

    I also second the cabbage leaves suggestions. I have done a lot of research on lactation for my thesis, and putting cold cabbage leaves (from the fridge) directly on your boobs, until they aren't cold and are falling apart - replacing about every two hours, it can do wonders for engorgement and mastitis (which I hope you don't get!!!!!). Also, consider contacting La Leche League for help and advice, getting a lactation consultant to help you out can really be important.

    The ace bandage can be a good idea, but make sure it's even. If you pinch one particular area, it can cause a big duct blockage which can lead to mastitis really quickly. Lastly, I would consider taking herbal supplements and teas that can help dry up your milk, if you're up to that. Drugs will work too, but I doubt you want to be putting anything else in your system before planning to do fertility treatments.

    GOOD LUCK! I'll be thinking of you :)

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  143. Get a whole cabbage, put it in the fridge for a couple hours, then strip off the big leaves and put 'em in your bra. Something in the cabbage makes the milk dry up faster and helps with the engorgement. It sounds SO weird, I know, but it works!
    Signed,
    A Mama Who Also Weaned When Her Baby Was Ready and She Was Not (Quite)

    P.S. I also got pregnant the second I stopped nursing...best of luck to you!

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  144. I agree with the cabbage - I've heard it really helps with engorgement, even though I myself never got to breastfeed, and am therefore jealous of your amazing boobies.

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  145. Not a mama, but oh this post made me ache for you and hope for you - not only for the letting go but for the holding on - for what's to come and all you've done to get here. You're a strong one and a fantastic writer, Natalie!

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  146. Cabbage didn't work for me, but peppermint essential oil did. Rub a little around the nipples, and it dries up your milk naturally. It helped make weaning SO MUCH more bearable... physically, at least.

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  147. I know how you feel! For the past two weeks I've started the process of weaning my 2-year-old daughter. I also love nursing, partly because it's an easier way to feed her and make her happy. Putting her to sleep without nursing has been the biggest challenge and saying no when she keeps asking for the "boo". Eventually we will get there, hopefully.

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  148. Weaning is really hard for every mother. Here are some articles that I hope will help you feel you are not alone.
    http://joannagoddard.blogspot.com/2012/02/motherhood-depression-and-weaning.html
    http://albafamily.blogspot.com/2012/03/weaning-depression.html
    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/02/26/weaning-depression-link-breastfeeding-postpartum-depression_n_1301233.html

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  149. I, too, am a nursing champ. My grandmother-in-law told me my milk was straight cream, my babies were so fat. My baby who is the same age as Huck weaned himself at 11 months. Too early!! But that is just the way this kid operates. Hopefully this is a big step to bringing a new one into your life.

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  150. I'm so glad to read posts like yours and know that some women have a wonderful time nursing. I think weaning was the only easy part of nursing for me--it's crazy how we're all so different yet our bodies do the same thing.

    Wishing you a wonderful new baby on the way!!

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  151. Loved this post! Oh so sweet, and funny! Hope ur duo chills out soon! Congrats!!!

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  152. I pretty much breastfeed because I 'have' to, and have been through hell with mastitis and tongue ties and lip ties and all that shizz, but I mourned the end of my feeding relationship with my daughter and will mourn the end of this one when it finally arrives (in 1, 2, 3+ years.. whatever). Take it easy mama.

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  153. You are such an amazing writer and wrote about something I realize took for granted. I have had the opportunity to breast feed 3 babies each to the age of one and just did it because it was the best thing. Didn't think much of it. Kind of almost did it on "auto-pilot." It really meant so much to read your heart-felt words. It allowed me to stop for a minute and evaluate what mattered most in my day today. How easy is it to get caught up trying to do a million things on "auto-pilot" like I was doing for so many years?! Thank you for sharing your honest words and I hope and pray you will be blessed with a little baby soon!! I loved your line about having faith! You are seriously an awesome mom and your babies are very lucky to have you!! Thank you again for sharing your experience!!

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  154. I just love this post so much. Ingrid and I are just hitting our year mark at nursing. She has never taken a bottle. Just mama, all the time. This post is bookmarked for the day I need some encouragement to lean on.

    Love to you!

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  155. Soooooo know how your feeling!I breastfed my oldest till she was 26 months and my youngest till 20 months (while pregnant then tandem for 14 months),and I was really not ready but they were!Hardest thing to do.You have done such an amazing job :D Well done!!

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  156. Soooooo know how your feeling!I breastfed my oldest till she was 26 months and my youngest till 20 months (while pregnant then tandem for 14 months),and I was really not ready but they were!Hardest thing to do.You have done such an amazing job :D Well done!!

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  157. 'Oh holy boobs of fire!' Haha... love it.

    What a beautiful post.

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  158. So beautiful! I think this is my favorite post of yours so far.

    P.S. I am so not looking forward to weaning. :/

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  159. Beautiful post, Natalie. I only made it 2 weeks nursing my son and I still tear myself up about it. I think that next time I'll be more prepared and won't get so over-anxious as I did about it last time. You are an inspiration. Thank you for sharing.

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  160. I feel your pain. I just weaned baby #3 at 20 months. I, too, wanted to go until he was done but was also forced by a medical decision to wean. This little guy is our last baby and weaning him was/is horrible. We've been done just a month and I would whip out a boob right now and give it to him if I could. This is not the way I wanted it to go down. It's taken us a while to figure out how to do bedtime without nursing but we've slowly figured it out--it's still best if my husband puts him down for the night. Hang in there!

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  161. Hi Natalie, I'm Hannah Hyslop and I have been following and swooning of your instagram. It wasn't until you posted about your last nurse that I visited your blog and I'm so thankful that I did. I am 22 yr old single mother and have been breastfeeding my little Charlotte for 6 months now and have absolutely loved and cherished every minute of it. My journey to motherhood was quite the transition from independent college girl, to moving back to my hometown and raising a baby by myself (not to mention I found out when I was 7 months pregnant). Now when I return to Lincoln (my college town) to visit my friends and it's time for me to nurse, bless their hearts, they look at me like "what the heck?". It is hard for them to understand the commitment that I have made to nurse Charlotte. They ask me when it will end, so they can have their friend's freedom back, so at a drop of the hat I can visit. I always thought I would nurse for 12 months, but it pains me to think of giving up that one on one intimacy with Charlotte, I don't want to stop nursing. Your post really gave me the courage to tell myself and others that I don't have to give up nursing at 12 months but can stop when Charlotte is ready. It is so comforting and encouraging for me to see a stylish mom who loves to nurse as much as I do! So, thank you for your honesty and for helping me be honest with myself as well.

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  162. I love this post so much. I think your nursing story is so awesome. I have three boys and struggled with nursing with all three of them....so much so that I got mastitis numerous times and had to quit. I am still determined to be a nursing mom with my 4th though. It is a very emotional experience not to be able to nurse your own child..it still makes me so sad. I am the opposite of you though...I can get pregnant with the snap of my fingers but I just can't nurse to save a life. Seriously though, good for you...this post made me so happy to see someone nursing for so long, and sad that you had to stop, but for a great reason!!! Good luck with the weaning, its awful. Cabbage was the only thing that worked for me!

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  163. You are such a precious Mother!
    Although I haven't yet had sweet babies of my own, I love how honest and touching this post is. As my Mama's first baby, I still cry when she tell me the story about the day she stopped nursing me (also at two and half!). What a special bond you and sweet Huck share. You are inspiring! Thank you for sharing bits of your wonderful life with us!

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  164. This should be published - people struggling with or wondering about nursing should read it. I wept at the end.

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  165. So beautiful. Soooo beautiful. My boobs on more than one occasion were burning with my milk letting down. Hits home so strongly because my first self weaned at 8 months, and now nursing my second I'm savor ing every moment and trying to go as long as we can. You are such an inspiration!

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  166. Such a beautiful heartfelt post. I am currently nursing my first baby and she is 4 months old. Reading this reminds me to cherish every moment because time goes so fast. I love your writing, thank you for being so honest and open.

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  167. Oh Mama, I so understand. I haven't had to wean for the same reasons, but I mourn every time I am done. The hardest time was when I didn't have a choice because my 8 month old had died. When you talk about your breasts wanting a baby to nurse, I remember that feeling so well. A few things that really helped the engorgement - cabbage leaves, the colder the better, parsley and sage tincture. They both help to dry up the milk.
    I pray you will get pregnant again soon. I love seeing how much you cherish your sweet boy and motherhood. It reminds me of myself when I was a younger Mama.
    Big hugs to you...well, not too big as to squash and hurt the sore girls ;)

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  168. I almost never comment on blog posts, and I read a lot of blogs, but this was by far and away my favorite piece you've ever written. So powerful, so beautiful. Best of luck to you, Natalie...

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  169. This is so beautiful, and so sad! I understand how you feel, because I know I'll feel the same exact way when my nursing end comes! Lillian is 20 months old and still nursing, and I'm pregnant with baby number two! I have a lot of questions...questions that drs don't want to answer or can't answer :( But I'm having faith it will all work out. I love your gorgeous pictures. It's not weird at all!
    How did you know he was ready to be done? Did he used to need to nurse to sleep? That's the only way Lillian knows how to fall asleep and I have no idea how to teach her to sleep without it.

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  170. In tears because you just captured my heart. I am preparing to wean my 19 month old, and just the thought is still paralyzing. I don't know that she's ready and I don't know that I'm ready. But this post was just amazing. Amazing. Thank you.

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  171. I had tears in my eyes as I was reading this. I think my twin boys are the same age as your little fella. They grow up so fast.

    www.rachelmakinglemonade.com

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  172. I love this post. I actually had a very difficult time nursing, spent a small fortune on a lactation consultant, the hospital grade pump, the various efforts to increase supply, etc...and I was so, so sad when my babies each weaned. I missed it for a long time afterwards. Has anyone in the comments above suggested Sudafed? A couple of days of taking over-the-counter Sudafed helped dry up my supply in short order. Good luck to you.

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  173. I was SO not ready to wean, this last time! My baby, my loveable squishable baby just 13 months old, he quit me! What an insult. It took me a long time to not take it personally. Maybe it was those mood swings you speak of. Anyway, I feel you, girl!

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  174. This is such a beautiful post, Nat. Thank you so much for sharing it. As a one-day mom, it's a rare gift to be offered these insights and portraits into the challenging but always beautiful experience of motherhood.

    xx S.
    The Laughing Medusa

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  175. Loved this post. I used to hate nursing, I was horrible at nursing my first, she didn't like it, I didn't like it. But when my second arrived 10 months ago, I became like the freaking champ of nursing. It's weirdly enjoyable? And I never thought it would be. She'll be a year old in April and she's already self-weaning and I'm a little sad. I'll totally be happy to have my body back to myself again but I think I'll miss it a little this time around. Good luck getting pregnant with #2, I hope it happens soon for you!

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  176. What a beautiful post! I'm desperately looking forward to breastfeeding in the future (don't even have any babies yet!). I have big boobs and know that they have more trouble feeding. I know that I will be so desperately sad if I can't breastfeed.

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  177. Love this! There is NOTHING better than nursing a baby and fortunately now I have a 6 month old so I am LOVING it! You will have many babies to nurse in the future....I just know it! Have you read The Blue Jays Dance? Soooooo good! I love when she starts talking about her favorite female authors and names some parts in books from some of the well-known male authors and says that maybe the problem with their writings was that they were never a nursing mother......something like that, I am probably hashing it! Loved all of the pics. How great that you have all those pictures to remember.

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  178. I cry like a surprised, violated, abandoned crazy lady for weeks every time it's time to wean my babies, my husband is finally used to it. I call him in tears and he says, "haven't we been here before??" It's so sad, so hard, I completely empathize. It's right but it's so so sad, the end of an era with each child. It doesn't get easier. I agree that you will be nursing plenty in the future (lots of other commenters). It's easier from a distance to know that, I know that it's so personal when it's you. Hang in there and I know we'll see lots of little Hucks and Huckettes running around your apartment very soon!

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  179. I think this is probably my most favorite post of yours set. i completely know the feeling. And actually, I wasn't even lucky enough to nurse - it didn't work for me. But i made it work the best way that I could, and I pumped day in and day out for a year - and it wasn't always that easy, and towards the end it started to come less and less naturally. I knew when i stopped i would get all these oodles of time back and we could move forward and still - when I did it for the last time, it was incredibly sad. Somehow it was ht first real time when I realized that going forward, my daughter would need me less, while I would need her more.

    it does get better, and in the end, i think that bond with our child is one of the most precious we have - congrats on the two and a half years!

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  180. I feel like I hated nursing. It was so hard at first (for three months!) and I can't believe we lasted 14 months. And because of my own experience I'm always amazed when other women are like, "OMG I LOVED BREASTFEEDING IT WAS THE BEST THING EVERRRRR!!!!"

    I'm sorry it was so hard for you to wean. I was lucky that when my daughter decided she was ready, my supply dried right up without missing a beat. And now I have the smallest boobs I've ever had in my entire life.

    I hope your body kicks it into high gear and you soon get the answers you need.

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  181. (also,) i'm not a mother or married yet, but this post makes me excited to be. i just know i'll come back to your blog for advice and tips when i am a mama. the sweetest.

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  182. I had to quit breastfeeding in order to get pregnant too (on his 3rd birthday, I still feel like I did the kid a solid), but still, it wasn't the easiest choice. I totally get where you're coming from and crossing my fingers that you (and I) get pregnant soon and easily!

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  184. This was a beautiful post.
    I started leaking colostrum around 24 weeks, and then guess what? My milk never came in. Real cool, boobs. Real cool.

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  185. Oh I'm in tears reading this. Beautifully written, Natalie. Thank you for talking honestly about this. I'm still nursing my 13 month old (gasp! is the reaction I get from others) so it's reassuring to read that you nursed for so long. I'm dreading weaning :/ Hope you feel better soon!

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  186. My first time visiting your blog and wow, what a beautiful post. I weaned my baby girl at 15mons in the hopes of welcoming another bebe into the mix. It's a comfort to hear from other mama's going through the same thing. Thank you for sharing your story!

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  187. I love love love this post. And cried a little bit. My daughter is 5 months old and I'd always had it in my mind that I'd exclusively breast feed for the first six months and then pump for the next 6. But we got into the zone with breastfeeding and I'm making more than enough and I love the closeness that it gives us. Who knows how long we'll go for!

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  188. Oh, this was so sweet to read. I've been trying for months for that newborn, and it is the most frustrating thing I've ever felt IN.MY.LIFE. You have me in tears, hoping so much for you, that she is well on her way to you. Godspeed baby dust, godspeed.

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  189. Reading all this, I could not hold back the tears ..... you awesome mom! Your son was lucky to have had such a mother, he will be proud of you! With love to you ... Anna.

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  190. Oh Nat...I LOVE reading your blog, and this has got to be one of my favorite posts! I love breastfeeding my 8-month old baby boy :) It's difficult because I have severe psoriasis and I want to take meds to help clear my skin, however that means I can no longer breastfeed while I'm on these meds. I decided that despite the misery of living every day with psoriasis, I simply can't give up breastfeeding my baby. I LOVE that time with him SO much. My favorite part is when he has had his fill...he de-latches gently and looks up at me with this BIG smile on his adorable face. I am cherishing every moment I have with him. Thank you for sharing so deeply. What an amazing and beautiful mom huck has! I am praying hard that another baby will soon get to experience your mommy love.

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