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the end of an era

We’re sitting on the couch, Preston and me. He’s playing with his cars, driving them back and forth. He hops up to his feet and walks over to me. He pulls at the collar of my shirt and tries to bury his head in my chest. He wants to nurse. I gently tell him “no”, and offer him a drink in a cup. “NO!” he moans.

So I ask him, “Would you like a snack?”

“NO!” he cries, and tries again to bury his face down my shirt.

This scene plays itself over and over and it’s getting harder and harder. I’d planned to have Preston weaned by the time I left for Blissdom. I tapered off his feedings, and gave him his “last one” the morning I left. While I was gone, I told myself, that’s it. He’s done. You’ve finished nursing your last child and you will never nurse again.

By the time I got home, though, I was in so much pain. Every hug I received during the weekend away reminded me how much my chest hurt, and how much milk was gathering in the reservoirs that were not going to be emptied.

I decided to stop nursing him because I had to go back on anti-depressants. I went back on them kicking and screaming, but it had to happen and I’m slowly coming to terms with that. This meant, though, that I had to stop nursing. I was on baby-friendly meds last winter, but I knew I needed something stronger this year. I was hoping this would not happen. I dreaded it. I wanted Preston to decide when he was done nursing, not have it decided for him.

But here we are. I know it is for the best. I know that my kids need a better mother than they’ve had lately, and I know that sacrifices need to be made, I just hate that the main one is at my one-year-old’s expense.

I wasn’t sure if Preston would even try to nurse when I returned, as I’ve heard that some kids just “forget” about it after mom’s been away for a bit. But he didn’t forget. It’s the first thing he wanted to do when we got home from the airport. My doctor put me on a low dose of meds, working up to a bigger one every couple weeks, so I figured I’d let Preston relieve the pressure in my chest that had been building up for four days.

I’ve been nursing him once a day, just before bed, since I returned. And now I don’t know how to stop. I have about 30 days until my does goes up again, to a not-nursing-friendly amount, and I’m just not ready. I mean, I’m ready (ish), but Preston begs to nurse multiple times a day as it is (and I say “no” every time), I know it’s going to be even harder when I have to deny him his bedtime feeding.

We’ll come through this, though. We will.

Categories: parenting is hard

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