The sound of my heart breaking – or at least getting bruised

On Saturday, I told Reid that we were going to change our going-to-bed routine this week. I said that she would have milkies in the rocking chair and then we’d go to the bathroom to rince her teeth and then she would lay in her bed and go to sleep, just like she does at daycare. Reid got a quite thoughtful look on her face and seemed to be a little smaller than before as she commented about me sleeping with Ken and then said, in a heartbreakingly small voice, “I don’t have friends.” You could’ve heard my heart breaking a bit when I heard that. Of course, I told her she still had friends, that Mama and Daddy love her very much.

Come bedtime last night, I nursed Reid and then we went to the bathroom. Reid likes to rinse her teeth and spit – especially the spitting since she is not normally allowed to spit. I led her to her bed and snuggled in with her. The dentist can say that Reid must have her teeth rinsed after nursing but she doesn’t get to make it so that Reid feels like she has no friends. Reid wanted to nurse, though, and I told her the dentist said Reid’s teeth were getting sick. At first she argued that she liked milkies and wanted milkies and then she started to cry. There went my heart again, as she sobbed, “I want milkies.” I held her close and told her I loved her and that I liked giving her milkies, that she could have some in the morning.

I know that she probably wanted the comfort of sucking more than she lacked the breastmilk. She had nursed unhurriedly in the rocking chair before we got into bed. For 3 years I’ve been able to offer her comfort at my breast beyond simply breastmilk. I haven’t regretted a minute of the time we’ve spent together though I do regret however much it contributed to the cavity. Studies show extended nursers are healthier and more confident. I’m glad I’m giving these things to her but I admit that it was hard to hear her saying what she missed – it almost would have been easier to do it when she didn’t have words to tell me what she thought. I thought it, too, that making your baby go to sleep alone and then crawling into bed with someone just wasn’t fair. I hope the balance we reached will work.

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