Monday, December 31, 2007

Four Hundred and Forty Two Days

When I first came home from the hospital, I didn't think that I would be able to nurse for four more hours, let alone four hundred and thirty eight more days. It was so painful that I would literally clench my toes in anticipatory pain when Henry needed to eat.

I walked around smelling like cabbage from a home remedy to soothe the engorgement and had cuts and blisters in a place that in my wildest imagination I never thought possible. I would call my sister at night in tears because I wanted to nurse but every fiber of my being was begging me to stop. I am sad to say I hated it that much.

She of course gave me permission to throw in the towel, telling me "I was not a bad mother if I didn't nurse my baby, I was just a bad mother if I didn't feed him something!" Leave it to me to phrase my question in such a dramatic fashion and leave it to my sister to bring me back to earth.

Just as I was getting ready to send Adam to the store to buy some formula, I read a tip from someone in my October '06 Babies group online that I thought may solve my problem. Luckily it did, and I will be forever grateful to this person in cyberspace. Adam urged me to pump until my wounds could heal and take a break from our son who I had nicknamed "Chopper."

I set an original goal of sticking it out for three months. Three months came and went and I shot for six months. Six months came and went and I thought that nursing had become too easy and too convenient for me to stop there. Not to mention how much money we were saving and more importantly that it allowed me to scarf down five hundred extra calories a day in sweets.

My new goal was nine months and I really, really thought I would stop there. Two things happened by nine months. Henry became very aware of his surroundings and became much more vocal of his desire to nurse and also his dislike of formula that I tried to give him. My competitive nature also kicked in. I realized I was thisclose to hitting the ultimate goal of one year and I decided to go for it.

I have been trying to slowly wean Henry since he turned a year, and suffice it to say he was not a willing participant in the weaning process. I am sure the knowledge of this will mortify him some day! I just decided to bite the bullet and make December 31st, 2007 our absolute end date.

Despite the rough start, it has been a wonderful experience. Not only did it allow me to drop some weight, it has also been an extraordinary way to bond with Henry. It forced me to slow down every day and have a little cuddle with my baby. I loved taking him to the doctor to see how much weight he had gained, knowing that every ounce was due to nursing.

I am so grateful that my body cooperated so long, I know of many people who were not so lucky. I am grateful to Adam for being so supportive, even though it meant I would have a bond with Henry that he would not be able to share.

It is very bittersweet to stop. I am glad to gain some freedom and my body back, but I will certainly miss that time with Henry. It also shows me that he is not a little baby anymore, but is growing more into a little boy every day.

On to new adventures!

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