***Men - I'm warning you now, this post is not what you're hoping it is. Turn back now :O)
Ok, so, now that it's just us ladies here we can talk for real. Pictures like this one have been rare around our house:
You see, up until a few weeks ago, I was still exclusively breast feeding Abby. So, for the last 17 months I've been the only thing keeping this little lady alive, through pregnancy, birth and infancy. I both loved and hated the responsibility of it. It meant that every 3 hours I got to sweep her away from whatever was going on and snuggle with her in a quite spot. But also that she wanted me at 3am and no one else! I got to bond with her and talk to her when no one else was listening. It was time for just her and me, and I've loved doing it. But, with that comes a lot of responsibility!
Up until the other night, Ryan had only put Abby to bed once or twice since she'd been born. In fact, I could count on one hand the number of times that I hadn't put her to bed. It had always been a routine for us that I'd get her ready for bed, feed her and put her down. It's both liberating and sad to think that now I can hand him Abby, and a bottle, and walk away to do something else. I seriously teared up as I gave him the run-down of the routine on how to turn this little toy on and put her head here, and give her this blanket to snuggle with. This had been mine, and now I was having to share. Of course, at the same time, I could walk down the hall and grab myself an adult beverage and sit down to watch some gloriously stupid television while he did the hard work!
I'd wanted to be done breast feeding her by my 30th birthday. It was arbitrary but I had to pick a date, because if I didn't we'd still be here a year from now talking about how I was still breast feeding her. It was easy to say "just one more day", and never stop. You see, when I went back to work, I fought with supply issues. It was hard going back. My emotions were in turmoil and I just wanted to be with my Abby. I called in all the Mommies I knew and want to thank them profusely for helping to talk me down off the "I can't do this ledge" (Thanks NS, MJ and KS). I got so caught up in the "she's drinking 15 oz's at daycare and I'm only making 12" that I sort of lost sight of how I actually enjoyed the process. Don't get me wrong. I hate pumping. It's just so weird. I felt like moo-ing every time I walked down to the wellness center at work. After doing it for over 5 months now I still don't love the idea of it (and all the bottle pieces to clean!), but what I did love was that I was doing everything I could for my baby.
To all you formula Momma's out there, I'm not judging! Not one single bit. I went into this whole breast feeding thing like I went into the whole motherhood thing. I had an idea of what I wanted (cloth diapers, breast feeding, normal birth-with pain meds! etc etc etc), but I wasn't going to make myself crazy with the things I couldn't control. I've got one friend who had her baby at 31 weeks! Her body just wasn't ready to breast feed her baby and her little guy is doing just fine! I've got another friend who was cursed (sorry if I just put that word in your mouth) by having only one breast that could produce milk. She ended up formula feeding her first but was DETERMINED to make it work with her second and she's doing great with it! Then, on the total other end of the spectrum, I've got a third friend who is able to pump enough to feed her own little guy AND another baby that was born early. And yet another Mom who was pumping today to feed her little guy tomorrow. Here was I was, with over 100 ounces of milk in reserve stressing over what I was producing each day (thanks NS for telling me to pump often when I was on maternity leave and build up a supply). These Mom's, they just amaze the crap out of me. Here I am, with things working just about normal, and these ladies are moving mountains!
So, I'm finding this moment a little bittersweet. I will miss every second of the time we spent together while breast feeding. I'll miss that closeness and that bond. But, I love that Abby is getting more independent; and that Ryan is able to help a little more. Maybe that's what parenthood is all about. Giving your all until they don't need it anymore and then being able to take a step back and see how they manage without you.
Here's to one baby step closer to being not a baby any longer. It's scary and exciting at the same time. I just want to squish her back into being a teeny tinny baby 5 lb. baby again! I guess that's how we end up having more :O) (No Mom, I'm not pregnant again!).
And with that, the booby talk is over. Cheers to all you Mommy's out there that have made it work one way or another. A friend told me the other day "You've got this, you're doing great". It's my new mantra as a Mom and I want you all to adopt it too.
Say it with me. "I've got this! I'm doing great!" Because, at the end of the day, we all are! We are all doing the best we can with what we've got and that is all that anyone can ask of us.