It’s the evening she asked to nurse, and for me to sing Hush Little Baby, like we always do before bed. But that evening she didn’t really suckle, just went through the motions. It’s the evening I realized it was the beginning of the end, the end of an era that started over three years ago. We’ve had a good run. For a while I wasn’t sure when it would end; I’d always said that it was up to her, and she had always understood. It’s the end of my body nourishing hers.

When she was a year, we nursed through thrush. I cried each time I fed her. The pain was sharp and burning. I would have rather birthed her again medication-free, as I did, than feed her. I contemplated giving up nursing. The infection took months to clear, and only with the help of a vinegar rinse and of gentian violet, a purple topical. We just kept going.

It’s the day I gave away all my nursing bras, save one, in case she changed her mind. I may still have “milks,” but not for long. Then they’ll be gone.

She’s letting me down easy.

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