Ending Something Great, Starting Something Great

A few weeks ago, I was really beginning to wonder if this time of nursing my littlest one might just extend right on into toddlerhood. Whereas both boys had stopped nursing around 12-13 months, she was still nursing 4-6 times a day at that age. Well, here we are at 14 months, and she's weaning.

THE END OF SOMETHING GREAT
This time of weaning is always a hard time for me, and I'm not an emotional person. After months of holding those babies close, looking into their big, beautiful eyes, and falling in love with this new little person in our lives, it is hard to give up that special time. Some of it is knowing that they'll never lay that still and content again in my lap that consistently again. Some of it is knowing that they'll never again get sustenance from me in quite the same way. Some of it is an acknowledgement that this little person is growing up. And, let's face it, some of it is probably hormones...

I'm just going to really miss this time with my beautiful daughter. Yes, I know I can still hug her and hold her and look into her eyes- but it's not going to be the same. Yes, much of it will be SO much better... but there is just something so stinkin special about having a precious one in your arms, so dependent on you and desperate for you. Anyway, I'm REALLY going to miss this time with her. I'm about to cry as I'm writing this. Letting this special time go (as always) is a difficult thing. And the thing is, she'd rather not wean-- she still greatly enjoys and and desires to nurse. That makes this time all the more difficult. Why am I weaning her then? Well, that leads me to my next piece of news:

THE START OF SOMETHING GREAT
We're expecting another little precious one. Yes, it's true- and we're SO excited!!! ;) What fun to be used by God to create new life! What fun to think of the relationships this little one will have and the way he or she will be used by God to bring others into relationship with Him! What fun to start this new adventure overseas with a stowaway that was known only to God!

We're so thrilled! And for all of you who are curious, we're about 5-6 weeks along, so I believe our due date is about March 30, and no, I haven't seen a doctor yet, but I hope to within the next few weeks. Lord willing and the creek don't rise, this baby will be about 22 months younger than our youngest, which means next summer, we will have a 6-year-old boy, a 4-year-old boy, a 2-year-old girl, and a newborn????. What a huge treasure of blessings from God!

But THAT'S why my sweet daughter must wean. Yes, I have read all the literature- that many women choose to continue nursing long after they are expecting another one... however, I've had two miscarriages, both about two years ago, one of which I believe was caused by the uterine contractions from breastfeeding. I am not hurrying her to stop, but neither am I going to risk losing this precious little life when my daughter is already at a healthy age for weaning. So it is with sadness and with great joy that I write this post- about the end of something great (nursing my little precious girl), and the start of something great (getting to meet a new little person next Spring).

43 comments:

the blackwells said...

Congrats! Super exciting news...but I totally get the whole emotional thing with the weaning. Keep us all posted on the 'belly bump' progress. :)

Anonymous said...

Dear Jess,

Congratulations, how lovely to have another baby! May God bless all of your family!

I know what you mean about weaning being a hard time - I can remember crying my eyes out ...

Mrs. P

Tim & Richelle said...

Congrats, Jess. I identify with your struggle as I've btdt several times now.

And I've found it gets harder each time. With number 1, I was not a sentimental nursing mom- it was purely practical for me. Now, youngest dd is almost 11 monhs and she is still almost exclusively nursing... I love that special time with her... time when I slow down myself and just enjoy my baby.

So, all that to say I totally understand.

Jaime said...

congratulations!! may you have a happy pregnancy!!

Kimberly said...

How awesome! Praise God!
Your daughter is beautiful, BTW!

Andrea said...

Jess!!
Congrats to you. Here's to new things!!

Kim said...

I've been wondering lately when you were going to have another one! Congratulations! I am so excited to meet your new little one!

Anna S said...

Oh, Jess! I'm so thrilled for you! How wonderful!!! What a joy and blessing this new little life will be for you and your family! And, God willing, several month from now you'll be holding another precious little one in your arms, nursing and nurturing and loving your new baby!

sharyn said...

congratulations, jess! that is such exciting news! many blessings to you and your family!

Buffy said...

Congratulations on your good news. I hope you are feeling well and look forward to further details as time progresses of your pregnancy.

Anonymous said...

First of all, congratulations!

Second, I do understand that bittersweet feeling all too well. My daughter is almost one (in two weeks) and I've partially weaned her because I'm 15 weeks pregnant with my fourth and my milk supply has decreased somewhat. We've started giving milk with meals and I only nurse first thing in the morning, at naptime, and at bedtime (I also have had two m/c, although I wasn't nursing at the time). It makes me feel sad (and like a less good mama at times) to have not been her exclusive source of milk for the first year but we have to take everyone's health (hers, mine and the new baby's) in consideration.
I will definitely miss the snuggles...already she's getting so wiggly!

Anyway, congratulations again! I hope the sadness will abate soon and that you will have a very smooth pregnancy.

Cathy

sealjoy said...

Congrats. And good luck. I am personally torn between weaning and not of my 9mo old. I am not pregnant again, but her teeth are really starting to chafe as she now has six. Any advice would be appreciated.

A bit of hope would be that she may self wean, my son did that at 6mo about 2mo into my daughter's pregnancy. It was devastating mainly because we didn't know I was pregnant yet.

But good luck and God bless you and your little ones.

Sealjoy

Mrs. Brigham said...

Congratulations to all of your family, Jess!! How exciting!!

Your talk of weaning really touched my heart and caused me to tear up a bit. You will be in my thoughts & prayers during this exciting, albeit difficult time.

FWIW, should I be blessed to become pregnant while Miss Peapod is still nursing, I will be weaning her for similar reasons. I have had one miscarriage and Peapod was a 35 weeker, so it's just not worth taking that additional risk.

Dove said...

Woo-hoo and congrats! I'm so tickled for you guys! Here's hoping the first trimester is a breeze for you, did you experience much morning sickness with your other pregnancies?

And about Maranatha, I love her name but have always wondered if you call her by all four syllables all the time. Do you use nicknames or call her by a shortened version of her name?

Amy Cornwell said...

Congratulations! What a blessing from God. May you and the baby stay healthy during this time!

blessings,
Amy

Young Christian Woman said...

Congratulations!

EmmyJMommy said...

As I was reading about you weaning I was thinking about weaning my Emily Grace. It was a blessing (I was struggling terribly with PPD) and a struggle (I did so love the fact that I was the one she needed so much)...but I must tell you...the bond between mother and daughter only strengthens after weaning. She still runs to me more times than not when she needs a cuddle, snuggle or just a hug.

CONGRATULATIONS! Many prayers will be said for you by our family for this newest addition to your family! Blessings be upon you!!!

Love you!

~~em

Allie said...

Congratulations, Jess! I am excited for you! May the Father of Lights who gives us all good things bless you and your family (including that new little one) during this time. And may He prepare all of you for the adventure that is in store! I'll be praying for you!

I'm with you on the nursing thing. My son is 11 months, and I'm 4 months pregnant, and weaning in the next several months has crossed my mind. I know some women do it with no problem, but it's been a bit hard for me to keep up nursing while being pregnant (much of that was due to long morning sickness). He's not ready to stop, though, and he's still a bit young for it. My worry is that if we don't figure it out well before the new one comes at the end of December, he'll see him/her nursing and want to start up again. Would it be a bad thing to nurse two at once? No, not really. It just takes enough energy that I'd prefer not to. But my little ones may have other plans, and that's fine too. I'm learning that a big part of parenting is going with the flow.... And it will be a sad time when my son does give it up.

Anyway, congratulations again!
Allie

Jess said...

Thank you guys for all the congratulations! We're very excited- but wouldn't you know it? After posting here about how I'm feeling OK, this has been like an "all day sickness" day! :) Hopefully that's a sign of a healthy pregnancy this go-round.

(And btw Kim, I knew you'd be ready for this one!)


Dove, we DO say Maranatha a lot of the time. The rest of the time, she answers to "Mei-Mei" (pronounced May-May) which is Chinese for little sister, which is where we used to live, or "pretty girl" (said in a really high sing-songy voice!). :) So yeah, we do call her Maranatha, when we call her by name. But around the house, especially to her brothers, she's Mei-Mei.

Thanks for asking! We're tossing around some incredibly beautiful and fun names for this baby, so we'll see as it gets closer if you guys get to hear about any of em! ;)

Jess

Melissa said...

Oh, what great news - a new baby! Is there anything better??? And I understand about weaning your sweet girl. Mine weaned herself at 15 months and it was bitter sweet. Congratulations and thanks for letting us all know!

thecurryseven said...

Congratulations! I mainly lurk, but babies are a reason to post a comment.

LisaM said...

Just had to write - our four are about 2 years apart too - and the last one nursed the longest. -smile- Since you are a fan of the Duggars, I'm not going to say that your 4th will be your last, though... :)

Serena said...

Oh, congratulations! I'm so happy for you and your family!

My daughter is nearly 19 months now, and still nursing. I don't want to give it up, and neither does she! If I were to become pregnant, though, I would ween her. You said it: it's just not worth the risk!

Kim said...

That's funny that you knew I'd be ready. We have a long history with your pregnancies, don't we? :) I have a pic of you guys in my wallet from when you were pregnant with Baxter, and then the baby cousins picture of Baxter, Ethan, and their cousins when Baxter was a newborn. It's been so sweet to watch your little family grow!

I say it's a Boy. Yes, it's early. But for now, I am guessing Boy. :)

And I hope you feel better!

MInTheGap said...

Congratulations!

22 months seems like a good separation. Are you ready for 4 instead of three?

Trina said...

Jess, congratulations! I pray all will go safely. I just finished my morning sickness stage and am feeling much better. Take comfort, it will end. Enjoy your blessings.
Trina

Anonymous said...

Congratulations, Jess!
Wonderful news!
Siminoz

Bobbie said...

Hi Jess
WOW! Congrats!! I can't believe your mom didn't say anything. She must be bursting at the seams.

That does explain a few things, hormones I mean. You were a little bit more weepy/sad/hard to explain in leaving this time. I know you were going to miss your family, but it was something more. Now we know. :)

Love
Bobbie

Danielle said...

Congratulations! I hope all goes well with your pregnancy.

I did tandem nurse my 3rd & 4th children and it was extremely draining, so now I wean once I realize I'm pregnant. It is bittersweet, but at least you have another little one to look forward to nursing. I love nursing my babies so much, and I'm not looking forward to the day when there are no more babies to nurse.

Anonymous said...

Laurie B here:

Congratulations, Jess! Exciting news!

I understand your concern for your new baby, especially since you have experienced baby loss.

I would not presume to tell another woman when she should wean or not wean.

However, I would caution other women reading the thread against assuming that breastfeeding causes an increased risk of miscarriage.

I did a lot of reading on that subject when I got pregnant while still nursing my toddler. We continued nursing through pregnancy and afterwards.

Again, I am not trying to tell anyone what to do. But before anyone weans because "it's not worth the risk" of a miscarriage, please contact La Leche League or read up on nursing during pregnancy (Adventures in Tandem Nursing by Hilary Flower is a good start).

I have known many women who nursed throughout pregnancy with no problems. Sadly, about one in four pregnancies ends in miscarriage, whether or not the mother is nursing another child.

Fay (ABWsMom) said...

Oh! Congratulations, Jess and family!! This is wonderful news. By the way, it was good to "see" you at The Homeschool Library this week.

Diane said...

Congratulations! We are both due around the same time!
Blessings ~ Diane

Mary Brooke said...

Congratulations! I love your blog and am so inspired by your appreciation of children. Mary Brooke in Atlanta with 3 littles the ages of yours!

Anonymous said...

Such joyful news! I am a daily lurker (sorry!) but so tickled for you that I just had to tell you so.

It is so refreshing to see someone that considers children to be precious blessings.

As for the weaning. Oh how I understand. Praying for your heart :)

Love,
Lauren H.

Stephanie said...

Congratulations, Jessica!! I am so excited for you guys. Just tonight the girls, Tim and I were praying for you...that Ethan and Baxter would be able to make new friends...and it made me want to check your website. Boy, am I glad that I did!! What a wonderful surprise!

Steph

p.s. Try peppermints for the "morning" sickness. It helped for me :)

Mom and Dad - Nana and Papa said...

Your dad and I are SO excited! And, aren't you proud of us (me especially) for not saying a WORD to anyone?! It was hard, but I DID IT! We love those precious angels, and we already love this new one! Wonderful! Love you, Mom and Dad

Anonymous said...

Hi Jess,

I'm a fairly regular lurker and I really enjoy your blog. I just don't have time to get involved in discussions. I just wanted to say congratulations! I'm actually due about the same time you are, with (hopefully) my first to make it out into the world. It's definitely scary to be pregnant after miscarriage. Good luck to you. :)

Jennifer

CappuccinoLife said...

Hey, congratulations!! I have a friend with those exact same ages, 4 kids, and she seems to be surviving, even though they're all boys!

Nomad Mom said...

Congratulation from all of us! Enjoy those days with nursing babies -- they are gone so quickly!

mere said...

Congratulations!

I always wean when I find out the "guest room" is occupied again, too...I find breastfeeding whilst pregnant is very uncomfortable and draining. Wonderful news!

mere

Emma said...

Congratulations, Jess! What an exciting time for you and your family!

I would love to read an article by you on how you wean your children. I would like to start working on this with our 14 month old and haven't a clue where to start!

naturalsystah said...

Hi, congrats!

Did you wean your daughter "cold turkey"? I'm in a similar position at the moment and was thinking of gradually cutting down the feeds.

Jess said...

Hi naturalsystah. :)

I weaned her over a couple of weeks... so not totally cold turkey. We just gradually replaced nursing time with a cup of milk... and she got used to that, and it became her favorite thing before bedtime.

Each of the kids (so far) have been a bit different. Our oldest self-weaned. I weaned our 2nd son intentionally because we would be apart for a few days' time and I wanted him to adjust to that as easily as possible. And then our daughter, I weaned unexpectedly because I was pregnant. I'm hoping to nurse Silas for as long as we both want to... but we'll see how it goes. I enjoy this sweet time and always mourn the passing of that snuggle/cuddle time while nursing.

Thanks for the question; hope it goes well for you!