Imperfect Happiness

It was still dark when my son woke me up, crying.

“Shhh, shhh, honey,” I soothed, stroking his hair. “Do you want to nurse?”

“No, Mommy,” he said, “you don’t have any more milk.”

And like that, we were done nursing.

I knew his claim that I had no milk wasn’t literally true—not only did I still have milk, on nights when he slept through without nursing, I often still had to get up and express milk into the bathroom sink because my breasts were full and sore—but I also knew that he meant something beyond the literal meaning of his words. Nursing is never just about the milk.

My daughter nursed for the last time when she was three years and three months old, and I just assumed that my son would nurse even longer. I’d read about breastfeeding duration in other cultures and I’d concluded that, if I…

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