The past week with little Henry has been a bit more difficult but I think we're back on the upswing. The biggest issue? When I was nursing. Between the frustration from me, the pain and the possibility that maybe he just wasn't eating enough (which made him fussy way more often), it was a rough week. It all culminated on Friday night when after yet another difficult nursing session I ended up in tears. My mother in law was visiting so I excused myself and decided to head to bed, feeling like a failure, wondering why this just wasn't working for us. My husband immediately followed me and held me as I let out all my frustrations and tears. He listened as I explained why I hated nursing and why I felt like a failure, and how I was scared of disappointing him. I told him that I didn't feel like I was "bonding" with Henry during this time, and that I just felt angry at the baby. I told him that I was upset that it felt like every time I held Henry to nurse him, there was a constant struggle and frustration between us, and that I wanted to be holding him when we were both happy, when there wasn't such a fight. I told him that I was mad that everyone else got to hold the baby when he was happy and calm, and that my time with him usually ended up with one or both of us in tears.
And then B told me exactly what all mom's who are in this position want to hear, "Stop nursing". He told me that if I was this miserable, there was absolutely no reason for me to keep doing it. It was that simple. Just stop doing it. B didn't want me to feel angry with Henry, he wanted me to enjoy my time with our little man, not be constantly stressed and upset. He told me that he was in no way disappointed in me, that he was proud of me for doing it this long when it was so painful, that he thinks I'm doing an incredible job with him and that I'm a fantastic mom.
I fell asleep that night feeling a giant weight lifted off my shoulders. The next morning, my mind was made up- I was officially done nursing. We woke up to a hungry Henry and I told B that I was done nursing him. There were no other questions from him, he just got up and made Henry a bottle. It was completely unceremonious. And I left the bed smiling.
I've decided that I will still pump so that we can still feed Henry breast milk, but there won't be any physical nursing involved. That way he's still getting the benefits and nutrients from the breast milk, but the frustration of nursing is gone. And if I decide at some point to stop pumping, B is on board with that as well. I've now fed him from a bottle several times since I made the decision and each time I look down at his beautiful eyes that are staring back at me and I swear there's a sigh of relief from both of us. I get to cuddle and kiss him while I feed him, and afterwards, I lay him on my chest and smile feeling like the opposite of a failure. Because I was smart enough to realize that our original plan, and what may be "normal" just wasn't going to work for our family. Because I am lucky enough to have a husband who wants what is best not only for our little man, but also for me.
So while there may be some aspects of this that I "miss out on"- I am doing what is best for me, for Henry, for our family. I'm a happier Mommy now, and a happier Mommy makes the rest of the house happy. And in the end, what is right for our family is the only thing that matters.