Dear Little One,

I wasn’t sure if you’d still be nursing when I scheduled my little break. At this age, it’s always difficult to tell.

You, on the other hand, are very much so. Mama milk is a part of our daily routine, day and night. You and I both adore it, and we’ll find a way to get through this time apart.

I’ve entrusted you to your grandfather and father. When you get hungry or depressed, they have my pumped milk and numerous cuddles waiting for you. When you wake up in the middle of the night and call for me, know that you’re in my heart, and I’m pumping three times a day to ensure that I’m ready for you when I return. I’m not sure whether you heard what we said before we left, but I’m coming back. I’ll keep my word.

In the back of my mind, I’m scared you’ll wean because of my absence. I can’t say I blame you. But, please, Baby, don’t wean yet.

I know I shouldn’t be concerned; you breastfeed far too frequently for you to abandon me right now. However, I have reason to be concerned.

Your sister abruptly weaned just after her first birthday. I had to pump to be comfortable and then wean myself off the pump because it caught me off guard. It arrived far too soon.

I wanted a gentle release, and abruptly stopping our nursing days was too much for my sentimental mama heart. With you being my last child, I want to quietly relish your maturation, your developing independence from my continual need.

I never expected to find so much meaning in our breastfeeding partnership. It’s an honour to be required in this way by you. You’re aware of that as well. You will forget, but I will. That’s all there is to it.

I believe the love and intimacy we shared will last far after our nursing days. You won’t be able to express it, but I know you’ll have a special space in your heart for you and me and all the hours we spent together… The milk is flowing, the hearts are pounding, and the minds are connecting.

You were never happier than when I pulled you close to my chest when you were a small child. You dance with delight now, as a walking and chattering toddler, when I draw you onto my lap and ask, “Would you like to snuggle for some milk?” You grasp for my shirt after throwing your body back and being cradled in my arms.

I checked in frequently while I was away. We Facetimed, and your Daddy admitted that the pumped milk I had left had piqued your attention. Were you looking for me? Were you looking for us? I had gone five days without nursing and had no idea what to anticipate when I returned.

I wasn’t ready to wean emotionally. I’m hoping you’ll make it to your second birthday, despite the fact that you’re only 17 months old. Our quiet time in the rocking chair with you at my breast is just too precious with the hustle of brothers and sisters and home life.

Please, Baby, don’t wean yet. I’ll be ready when the time comes. That day, however, is not today.

You were eager to nurse the instant you saw me, just as I had planned. We won’t be weaning! When you nurse, you’re usually distracted or fall asleep, but not this time. You stared at me this time — into my eyes, into my heart. I adore you, Bubs, and I’m looking forward to the days when we can nurse. Every single one is a gift.

Thank you for bearing with me for a little longer.