The Balanced Breastfeeding Baby Weans

Both of us savored and felt the importance of those last few nursing sessions.

In December of 2019, Katie officially opened The Balanced Breastfeeding Clubhouse, and I (Justine) had Mabel, my second baby. I was joining Katie on her adventure of opening the clubhouse, but the timing of these two big events coincided giving Mabel the title of Balanced Breastfeeding Baby. 

In December we both snuggled in. I was home, mostly snuggled up in bed with Mabel. Katie was at the Clubhouse prepping it for the full opening coming soon.

In January, I started to get out of the house. Mabel and I attended a couple groups at Balanced Breastfeeding, started hiking, and nursing on the go. Katie was slowly welcoming more people to the clubhouse through groups and workshops. I was getting back to some work for BB. 

In February, we hosted the Balanced Breastfeeding Valentine’s Day Baby Formal and Clubhouse Warming. I dressed Mabel in a ridiculous fancy dress for a two month old. We tried to put a kiss on her cheek with lipstick. And attempted (and failed) at a cute photo booth set up for babies. The photo memories give us a good laugh every year. The party was a beautiful gathering with so many wonderful mothers and families that Katie and I have met throughout the years. 

In March, Katie officially started seeing clients in the office. And I was into a groove of a weekly schedule with two kids.

A couple weeks later, the world shut down due to the pandemic. Katie and I quickly had to pivot. First we had to decide to cancel classes. Then we were navigating virtual visits. We did some virtual groups and workshops. Katie and I met virtually while I nursed or bounced Mabel on a yoga ball, one of my favorite ways to soothe my babies. Things changed, then changed again, then changed again. And this experience would affect Balanced Breastfeeding and how we practice in the future. 

Although Mabel was born a few months prior to the pandemic, she was a covid baby in terms of the rest of that first year. Her 3 month pediatrician appointment was held in a tent outside! But these parents Katie was seeing virtually were navigating so much more delivering in the hospital or at a birth center and trying to access postpartum support in the first few months of the pandemic. We did the best we could, but it certainly was not ideal care. 

As we slowly reentered the normal world, Mabel became a toddler and Balanced Breastfeeding started to grow. So much so, that we were ready to hire a second lactation consultant. We welcomed Rachel to Balanced Breastfeeding in 2022.

I continued to learn more about who Mabel is and Katie and I learned more about what Balanced Breastfeeding should be. And then we focused on helping them grow, knowing we may need to adjust along the way.

As she got older, Mabel loved nursing for milk but even more for the snuggles. For about 4 years and 3.5 months Mabel and I enjoyed our nursing relationship. Partly because of covid and just how things worked out, I never pumped and she never had a bottle (my preference and a privilege). 

On a Tuesday last month, Mabel decided she was ready to be done nursing. Later that week she nursed for the last time, 1,567 days after the first time she nursed. I pushed for some things over the years… I encouraged night weaning at one point when she was a toddler and I was over the random wake ups to nurse back to sleep. Mabel still enjoys reading Nursies When the Sun Shines. More recently, I pushed to drop nursing when we woke up because I wanted to change our morning routine. But Mabel held on to nursing before bed for a while and I enjoyed that time with her too. I am so grateful that it worked out for both of us that she could decide when she was ready to stop nursing completely. It was a beautiful last few nursing sessions. Both of us savored them and felt the importance of them. We talked a lot about it and I gave Mabel a little weaning gift. I am amazed at her little 4 year old self and her ability to make a choice, see the joy and sadness of it, and take it all in. 

I look forward to continuing to watch her grow in our next chapter. And I can’t wait to see Balanced Breastfeeding continue to grow too.