warning: boob talk ahead. Dad, go read this.

Karis and I have officially said goodbye to our nursing relationship. I didn't expect it to happen so soon. I thought we would go well past her first birthday - especially since up until my Haiti trip, we had been pretty exclusive. I was rather dedicated . . . even taking her along to a half-marathon girl's trip and a trip to Haiti. It's a little frustrating that the whole thing fizzled just a few weeks later, since both of those trips would have been a lot less stressful without a baby in tow. I mean, A LOT LESS STRESSFUL.

(that would be us, nursing in the jumpseat of a military C-130 jet,
ready to be evacuated from Haiti)

But something happened once Kembe came home. It just became more and more difficult to find the space and time to sit still with Karis. I was distracted, and she was distracted. If we weren't in a quiet room, she was squirming and looking around and pretty much trying to order her milk "to go". (Ouch). And since the last time I was able to sit in a quiet room was, um, NEVER, nursing just started to be a tug-of-war. But more than that, Kembe was really going through some grieving in those first few weeks. I needed my arms available. Karis is a happy, attached little baby who is content to sit and drink from a bottle as she interacts with the world. I felt like Kembe needed that spot on my lap.

So, over the course of the last month, we transitioned to a few more bottles each day. I tried to maintain the nursing just in the morning and at night. But each time I tried, Karis acted more and more irritated with it. She is a girl on the go. She is cruising around the furniture, taking her bottle along for the ride. I could sense that it was time . . . but I just wasn't ready.

I spent several days last week trying to have some closure with our nursing relationship. I wanted to have that special last session . . . where I would gaze at her lovingly and rub her head, and have some magical symbolic moment that I could remember forever. Every night, I would try to have this moment, and every night it would be interrupted by a screaming 3-year-old, or Jafta trying to build a fort over my head, or Karis trying to squirm away to chase after Kembe. Finally, I just realized I needed to let it go. The last two times I tried, she cried as if the very offer was an insult. She had moved on.

So yesterday, I cleaned out the bins that held my nursing covers. It was also the bin that held the receiving blankets, and the burp clothes and all the other items you use for a newborn. I folded them away with the bittersweet thought that I would never use these items again. Karis is our last baby. We will never have a need for this newborn paraphernalia that we collected with such intention and anticipation.

For some reason, this was just so profoundly sad for me. So much so, that I sobbed to the point that Mark had to hide the children from their grief-stricken mother for a good fifteen minutes. It's the parenting paradox, that is so painful and confusing at the same time. I spend so much of my day assuring myself that things will get easier. There are so many aspects to this season that are difficult - so many little ones that are so dependent. It's easy to blissfully look ahead to a more autonomous future when they get just a little more independence. And yet, it's so painful that they are growing so fast. I'm so in love with my sweet little Karis, and just a little devastated that she won't be this chunky, squealing, raspberry-blowing baby forever.

photo by DrewB


  1. The evac picture is just CRAZY

    I sobbed like that when my youngest was born. I knew she was our last, and boy, did I love having babies.

    You and Karis are beautiful

  2. Girl! I feel your pain. Knowing there will be a ''last time'' is a tough pill. I love nursing, and the thought of them not needing us is heartwrenching. I nursed all 3 till they were 2, and this one is going to be 2 in 3 weeks.......it doesn't look like he wants to quit anytime soon! Every time I say ''all gone'' he laughs at me. I know it's almost over...so, I don't mind as much...but there are days...arrrrrgggg! So,enjoy having your tata's back!!!!!!

  3. I totally get it. And I think you have handled everything amazingly.

  4. i identify with mourning the end of a nursing relationship...and being a little relieved, too. it's such a mixed bag.

    they'll always need us, tho--a least for while!

  5. I so appreciate your full honesty about being a mom!

  6. Kristen,

    Thinking of you. I know how hard it can be to let go of the nursing relationship. It's not fair that you had to give it up before you were ready. I guess in terms of small blessings at least it wasn't Karis who had to give it up before she was ready.



  7. The nursing relationship is so special and very hard to let go of. I'm still in denial that it is gone for good (I think).

  8. I loved this post. Thanks for your transparency. I'm 6 months pregnant with my 2nd right now, so as I was reading this, I was a bit hormonal and I was totally crying :)

  9. I remember when my little ones decided seeing what was going on with the rest of the world was much more exciting then my boob... so sad (I say that with a smile because it is sad yet exciting because your child is growing up.) So, maybe juxtaposition should officially be the definition of motherhood!

  10. As always, you put words to something many of us have felt. Bittersweet. Also, a couple days ago when I saw your new pics, I smiled and reminded Trent of a time more than 5 years ago when you probably didn't know who we were, but we were praying for you that you could have a healthy pregnancy and baby, because it was so heavy on Sarah's heart that she brought us along on the prayer journey. Just one healthy baby, Lord. Or, you know, four children ages 5 and under! Love seeing how your family has grown. Love it.

  11. Beautiful post and it totally describes what I've been going through. My little Theo is our last (biological) child, and he turned one yesterday. In a cruel twist we decided to clean out the garage which meant me going through baby things trying not to break down because my baby isn't really a baby anymore.

    Anyway, enough about me. I'm sorry that you had to be done so soon.

  12. My baby is 3 1/2 and every mile stone is hard for me. Knowing he is my last baby is very hard.

  13. After ten months of struggling to maintain a breastfeeding relationship (I have chronic low supply) with my last baby, my little guy is done too. Its devastated me to the point that I am having a hard time keeping it in perspective.

    I need to think about what Erin wrote. My son won't know what he has given up and he hasn't felt pushed. I should be grateful that I am the only one feeling this loss.

  14. Anonymous8:31 AM

    What a beautiful description you have written! I ponder the same thoughts on every birthday for my 3 boys. It is heart wrenching! Thank you for sharing your heart with us. Such a good reminder that in the stress of all the craziness of raising kids, we need to savor all of their moments because they grow up soooo fast. Years ago, I found a book in the kids section at Family Christian Bookstore called "Let Me Hold You Longer" by Karen Kingsbury, The jist of the book is that we always capture our kids "firsts" but often forget to savor their "lasts"...ie last time nursing, last time you hold them because they get too big, last time they ask for help with homework...you get the picture. Let's just say I was a sobbing mess in that bookstore that day and bought it to remind myself how fast it all goes by!!

  15. I weaned my oldest at 12 months and my second at 8 months because she just would not focus enough to eat. It was emotional, especially with the hormonal rollercoaster than ensued. But I'll admit that the newfound ease was pretty nice! Well done on all the hard work of nursing your babies. It's no small thing.

  16. Okay, now I'm all weepy just thinking about the weaning process and last baby stuff. And he or she isn't even born yet. But seriously, i totally felt like this with Camden, thinking she was our last. It's so emotionally hard. But on the upside, it's time to plan a solo vacay without the worry of rock-hard boobs or leakage!

  17. I so understand that feeling!!! Ugh!! But you did the right thing and sounds like she was ready. You should feel proud that you were able to nurse her as long as you did; that is awesome!!

  18. This is such a sweet post. Karis will love reading it one day.

    Love, love, love the new header! Especially Jafta holding the sign. Really special.

  19. Um, Hello, My name is Debra, and I am crying...the UGLY cry.


    : )

    In so many ways we are living a parallel life.

  20. Anonymous12:56 PM

    you've brought back all the emotions of days gone by...my baby is 5 1/2 yrs now. saying goodbye to nursing was one of the hardest moments of my life.

    though nursing has come and gone in your home, you can always hold sweet memories of those times with your babes. what a treasured time you shared with them!

    then, as your kids get older, you can hold it over your kids' heads like i do when i am fighting for some attention or respect...i say to them, "hey! who birthed you, changed your diapers and fed you from their breast??!!" undoubtedly, i will hear a droning response from one of my kids saying, "you, mom...(drone drone drone)." they think i'm so weird. :-)

    but honestly, what you have just done is one of the most challenging milestones as a mother. i feel for you, as does every other mother who has been through it. hang on to the sweet memories. and for now, enjoy the interesting show your ever changing, deflating breasts will give you. :-)

  21. Yep, been there too. I think for women it is a process of letting go of the baby stages and realizing this part of our lives is past. I went through this with my baby and in many ways am still in the process. I think because I wanted a family and baby for so long and looked forward to those days, that now that the baby stages are behind me, it's like, "What? That went too fast!"

  22. I am coming up on this milestone as well and struggling. Really struggling. I weaned Halley when I was pregnant and puking with Lucy. I kicked Lucy off at 13 months for BITING!!!!!! (Still traumatized.) So they were easy. This time around it isn't.
    I just read on twitter the other day (warning, cheesy sentiment to follow.)
    Don't cry because it's over.
    Smile because it happened.
    So that is sticking with me right now.
    Smiling because Janey happened. Even if eventually she will not be a baby any longer. She once was. And she was amazing.

  23. Great post. It's so hard to say goodbye!

  24. I was never able to breastfeed after a freak encounter with HELLP syndrome via preeclampsia and a yucky yuck yuck C-section. I tried SO hard. Almost killed myself trying. I get it. Even though I don't.

    I so longed for that caressing, closeness and never did get it.

    It still makes me sad.

  25. Aww, this post made me sad. My baby is 1.5 and I really dread the day that she weans. It will just symbolize the end of no more babies. :(

  26. Anonymous5:45 AM

    Oh this post is so sweet. I cry everytime my baby weans.... and now I am facing having to wean our newly adopted son because he has such bad allergies... and I cry everytime I think about it.

  27. i'll be honest: i would probably get defensive if you said that to me about my child. granted, i'm single with no kids so i have absolutely no idea, but i know how i act with my little cousins. i'm a mama bear. i will fight for them and defend them, and i also know they are different when not directly around their parents or guardians. so i'm operating under the assumption that the mom might have genuinely thought you were lying OR misunderstanding what the kids thought.
    that being said, i love the "it takes a village" camp (which is how i was raised) and am glad you said what you said. i have no doubt it most likely planted a seed in the mom, in which she will be a little more aware of things.

    i also grew up bi-racial (which opened me up to racism among both races i belong to. go team.) and currently live in pleasantville. however, i was raised in an area that is very much a melting pot. whites are the minority. it's the only thing i love about that place. you definitely have an uphill battle, raising your family in OC. but i love how you're doing it. you are definitely an encouragement to those of us singles who cannot wait to adopt.


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