A few weeks ago, Zari looked up from eating breakfast and said, "I'm think I'm done nursing."
"Whenever you're ready," I told her.
"Well, I think I'm all done, though," she said.
She didn't ask to nurse for a week. I think she would have gone longer, but then we traveled to France. With all of the upheavals--new location, new time, new language--she has nursed a few times in the past two weeks.
Zari's latch had been getting very lazy even before her sudden announcement that she was done. But after her week-long hiatus, I realized that she had literally forgotten how to nurse. She would roll my nipple around in her mouth, give a few half-hearted sucks, and then stop.
It was time to wean.
I told Zari that we would have a "nursing party," since she was forgetting how to nurse. When she was ready, she could pick any cake she wanted from a patisserie. We would have a party, eat the cake, and then she would be all done nursing.
Nursing parties--more commonly called weaning parties--date back thousands of years. For example, Abraham threw a big party when his son Isaac weaned: "And the child grew, and was weaned: and Abraham made a great feast the same day that Isaac was weaned." (Genesis 21:8). They're still done today, too; see examples of modern-day weaning parties in Australia and the States.
Several times this week, Zari asked about going to the patisserie. This evening, while I was cooking a potato & leek soup, Eric and Zari went on a walk to buy her "nursing cake."
After dinner, we brought the cake out. I told her the story of when she was born and when she first nursed. We took pictures. I hugged her and told her how much I loved her. I told her how glad I was that I was able to nurse her for a long time.
And then we ate cake. It was good.