I Did A Photoshoot To Commemorate Weaning
I was around 18-19 wks when I decided to do a breastfeeding photoshoot because weaning was on the horizon. I can feel it. It is instinctual. This session is meant to be my last nursing or weaning session mixed with a pregnancy reveal. I hadn’t really told many people officially at this point.
For My Community
Another reason for this photoshoot is that I want women who feel modest to understand that nursing is natural. Breastfeeding can even be done without having to carry around a cover. In this case, I chose to use my scarf but usually, I just wear a tank top under another shirt. I don’t need a commercially sold cover and I don’t need a breastfeeding shirt because this system can work for me.
I also know that just like in the African American community, nursing needs to be more normalized in the Muslim American community. It is okay to nurse in public. You can continue to nurse someone older than two. Talk to your physician first, but it can be safe to nurse while pregnant. It’s absolutely acceptable not to fast because of breastfeeding. And ladies, if it’s not for you- that’s also OKAY. I was blessed to love it and be able- which is something I prayed for a lot, so I follow my instincts.
To Mark A Milestone
I’m sad to be moving on from breastfeeding but I also feel it’s time. My 30-month-old feels it, too. This is the first week that I noticed her wanting something deeper when she’s asking for “mommy’s milk.” I saw a different reason behind the request that needs my attention; not the request itself.
A few days ago we nursed and both of us noticed that we were just being silly. So far, she’s the only one of my children who has been on a unique weaning schedule of every other day. It seems a bit spaced out! When I’ve asked her, she insists that there’s still milk coming out. I know that when I wasn’t nursing her, every other day I got a massive headache. It was not related to caffeine, sleep, allergies or anything else. I started drinking “no more milk” tea when I realized what’s causing these headaches that truly last the whole day; a sure sign of mastitis coming on. And this balance is where we’re currently at.
To Say Goodbye
She may have breastfed until three years old if I wasn’t pregnant. She loves “mommy’s milk” time! Like LOVED it! Sigh. But maybe she wouldn’t have nursed longer than she is now. Maybe she would have just stopped one day. That’s the way nursing works. One day it’s there and one day, sometimes without any warning at all, it’s gone. I don’t usually get to say goodbye. It can feel like losing someone I love. This time I really wanted to say goodbye.
I think my toddler and I both felt like we still need to nurse but it’s getting closer to that time to move on. None of my kids really get to see how long they would go before weaning on their own because I’m always pregnant before they stop nursing. But I do try and let them go as long as we both feel comfortable. My eldest was cut off the soonest, under OB recommendation. I felt it was too traumatic and never did it again. The sudden stop in producing prolactin, coupled with the pregnancy hormones I was experiencing at that time caused a chemical crash in my body that could have been clinically described as a two-week depression. This was not including her response. I remember holding her and crying together.
I knew I couldn’t do that to another child. Instead, I try to play it by ear with each new pregnancy, though it can be tiring. In this case, it hasn’t been difficult. But we are finally ready.
Thank you, Micah Simmons Photography, LLC for helping me hold onto this moment of change and growth in our family. It’s both heartbreaking and beautiful. Scary and exciting. It’s real life. I’m happy that I can document this seldom talked about process for both my nursing child and myself. Lastly, I’m grateful that I can share it with others and receive the support and love that we need during this delicate time.
I can’t wait to document my birth next!