Thursday, October 30, 2008

Rhymes With Meaning

Once again my daughter has surprised me. Truthfully, this is something I have prayed for. And dreaded.

Breastfeeding is such a wonderful thing. It has made me feel so connected to my daughter. The hours that I have spent with her curled around me will always be precious to me. It is the one thing that I can do for her that no one else can.

At her one year well baby check-up last week, her doctor told us that we need to get some meat on those bones, so I have been feeding her more solid foods during the day. In addition, we were given the go ahead to give her cow's milk. The unexpected, although duh, really should have seen it coming, consequence is that she is nursing less. For the last several months, we have had a fairly consistent routine regarding nursing that worked out to between 4-6 feedings a day. However, in recent days, she has refused the breast half the times it was offered to her. I have been pumping when my breasts fill up uncomfortably, but otherwise I am not taking extraordinary measures to keep my supply up. Which is why I am up now. Although she woke upon my return from an evening out with my girlfriends, she did not nurse, and has not awoken at her usual time between 2-3am. My body woke me up, though. So I am sitting in the TV room in the basement pumping and blogging at 4am.

Although there have been many nights where I wished like anything that we had forced the bottle so Neil could get up with her. And times where I wished that I could give her to family to keep for a day or a weekend so Neil and I could have some time just the two of us. I was dedicated to breastfeeding for as long as she wanted, within reason, of course. Much like the thumbsucking, I had anticipated that it would go on for some time. I had committed myself emotionally to its continued presence in our lives.

Now I find myself staring down the W word. I don't even like to say it, I think it is ugly and conjures such unpleasant emotions for me. I am delighted that my girl is doing things at her pace. Truly. But I wasn't ready. Each time she nurses now, and they are fewer and fewer, I look down on her face and try to remember those beginning days when she was so tiny, her mouth a big O as she innately sought out that life-giving substance. I think fondly on those early days when things were so bad, they are my badge of honor. As bad as it was, and it was BAD, I probably wouldn't appreciate how good it became without that.

So here we are, my baby is leaving behind yet another of her baby things and I am forced, again, to accept that time does not stand still.

14 comments:

  1. Maybe it would be better to just get on with the 'w' lol. It will preserve some very nice memories of your bonding with her...if you end the breastfeeding while the memories are still good and not frustrating.
    Just a thought

    ReplyDelete
  2. Sheila - I am going with the w-ing, but in the interest of not having another bout with Mastitis, I'm taking it as slow as she'll let me.

    ReplyDelete
  3. Oh, how well I know. So sorry.

    My baby is 2 and it already seems like a distant memory. I hate that.

    ReplyDelete
  4. First of all, I had to go back and read your other posts (thanks for the links) to see what your BF thoughts were to begin with...my baby is 15 months and still nursing, and I'm starting to feel the heat to stop. We are s-l-o-w-l-y easing up, but neither one of us wants to totally quit. He's my #3 and I am reluctant to stop because I look at my other two "babies" and know that they grow too, TOO fast! So enjoy and do what you want.

    (I do agree, though, that there comes a point...if you are helping your kid with homework, a proper comfort for a frustrating day is NOT a boob!)

    Have a good day!

    ReplyDelete
  5. Sadly, I completely understand... :( It's hard but happens, whether we like it or not...

    ReplyDelete
  6. I have been in the same funk lately. Watching my babies grow is so fun and I love how new and exciting the world is to them but it is also sad. These are my last babies, there will never to be another. I miss those small little bodies, I lament that I did not have enough time to hold and cuddle each one. Growing up is just so bittersweet.

    ReplyDelete
  7. As the mommy of an 11 year old who once curled around my body the same way, who once snuggled and coo-ed, and needed mommy more than anything and is NOW embarrassed to kiss me in public ... let me tell you: It doesn't get any easier.

    BUT on a positive note: they grow up to be some AMAZING little people. Not babies anymore, but individuals who have so much to offer.

    You'll never stop loving them ... just the way you did when they were curled around you, holding on to mommy.

    ReplyDelete
  8. It's a sad milestone for sure!!! Good luck.

    ReplyDelete
  9. Ugh--sometimes it's so hard on US when they hit those milestones! But the treat thing is that she's doing it on her own so you know it's right. Hugs!!

    ReplyDelete
  10. So sorry to hear you both have come to this milestone. It is a sad one to give up. I understand what you are feeling, my breastfeeding time with both of my kids was MY special bonding time and I loved every minute to it. At least, she is chosing to "W" and letting you know it is okay, maybe not with you, but it is okay with her! :)

    ReplyDelete
  11. I would follow her lead. For the last two months, I just nursed the Bub when he woke up in the morning.

    Time doesn't stand still, like you say, and good thing, as there are more wonderful memories and milestones in your future with your Bean.

    ReplyDelete
  12. Sigh...

    and

    Sigh...

    I know. I feel you, I get you, and I know. As the mother of two daughters who took no bottles, no formula, and not even breastmilk in a darn sippy cup...I was their main nutrition. For a year. And then they self-weaned.

    It was hard. And then I celebrated. WOOOOOOOOOOOO! But every now and then I miss it. I do. And, I swear to you, Cara, I feel "phantom letdown" whenever I see another mother nursing or hear a newborn cry. Not all the time...but every now and then. And I welcome that feeling. I miss it.

    Sigh...

    ReplyDelete
  13. I.know.exactly.what.you.are.talking.about!!! This transition was always very difficult for me...especially with Jack...last baby :(

    ReplyDelete
  14. Awwww... It was hard on me too...Dottie gave it up on her own, I was so sad...

    ReplyDelete

Give me some sugar, baby!