Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Baby Nursing to Solids - The Next Adventure

There is a heap of newly sterilised storage bottles and caps and plastic pieces in my kitchen. They'll dry, then be packed away. They'll go in a cupboard or box with other "outgrown" baby stuff. The drinking bottles are still in the kitchen, and they'll be joined by little pots and spoons as we go on the adventure of solids. There will be solids, and there will be formula, but there will be no more pumped milk or nursing. I've already given Pippin tastes of solid foods, and laughed and photographed his face while he gnaws on green beans and spits pumpkin out with a grimace. It will be an adventure, I tell myself. Together we will brave the world of pureed broccoli and regurgitated banana, and I will make sure he gets his vitamin drops. It's all just happening sooner than I would like.

Maybe the next baby will be one of the cool kids who gets "real" milk up to a year or two. I made it to six months with Pippin,  and I know I should be grateful for that. Especially since it's very normal for working mothers here to go back to their job after 2-3 months of maternity leave. That's when they have to choose if and how they want to pump, or keep breastfeeding (assuming they did at all.) I should be grateful for these six months, but I just feel guilty.  I'm a stay at home mum, so if I REALLY loved my baby I would keep nursing, right? Even if I'm not one of the mothers who cherished the nursing moments together, I know that breastmilk has a ton of benefits - antibodies, vitamins, etc. And who wouldn't want that for their baby? Not to mention nursing is easier and cheaper than formula and bottles. I also hate feeling like I'm giving up because it's so hard at this stage. One of my friends runs long distance races and finds ways to pump or nurse at pit stops. Three of my friends have three (or more) children under the age of 7. Maybe I'm doing something wrong if I can barely get through some days with just one baby, let alone nurse him fully.  

I console myself that maybe things will be different next time.

Maybe the next baby won't be traveling with us at three weeks old for a three week vacation - special memories of friends and family, more tears from me when we start formula in addition to nursing and pumping. Maybe the next baby will latch better, and I won't be sore enough to need shields from the start. Maybe the next baby won't have a tongue tie and possible lip tie that involve multiple trips to doctors who think I'm overreacting. Maybe the next baby won't get thrush at two and a half months, with me pumping milk for the next two months so the infection won't get worse. Maybe the next baby won't get teeth at four and a half months, after it finally starting nursing ok. Maybe it won't start biting around five months, especially while we're traveling. And maybe at the six month mark, if I do pump occasionally, there will be full bottles in the fridge, instead of 20 ml per 20 min. Maybe there won't be six months of drama and conversations centering on MILK.

I'm grateful for friends and family who are there for me, whatever my choices. I'm grateful for bottles and formula. I'm grateful that Pippin is chubby and healthy and he won't starve because I'm not nursing him. There are women across the world who don't have my options, and instead of being upset because nursing isn't working, they're heartbroken because their baby is dying of malnutrition in front of their eyes. Our earth is not a fair place. Which is why Faramir and I choose to send money and support organisations like Mercy Ships and International Justice Mission, because their people make a difference in the world instead of just complaining when things aren't the way they should be.

It's good to keep things in perspective. All the same, I can't help but hope that I'll be able to nurse for a good long time without regrets....


  1. Excellent piece!
    I had no problems with nursing, except from the nipple pain the first 10 days, and still I found it challenging at times. Yes, there are the days of the oxytocin high, but there are also the days that you just want your body back. I understand how you feel (I try too, as I am not on the same boat), but if it helps, I want to offer some positive aspects of not nursing:
    -Other people can comfort your baby and not just you!
    -Other people can put your baby to sleep!
    -Other people can get your baby BACK to sleep!

    I do wish that things are easier with your next baby though, so that stopping to nurse is fully your choice and not a result of unfortunate circumstances and challenges.

  2. Voel je.niet schuldig Lee, veel factoren hebben die beslissing geforceerd.
    Je.doet het.goed!!!

  3. Mi jita, I'm so sorry that nursing was so hard. It really can be awful. But I think as with everything in parenting, you tried something for your family and you found what worked and what didn't, and that's great. So no beating yourself up. I think that you are awesome--and as always, that's what matters the most, right?