We are official in the last few days of Autumn and Winter’s icy breath is right around the corner (according to the meteorological calendar anyway). Think Winter wonderlands, icy crystals hanging from the branches, mittens, wellies, rosy cheeks, and cosy homes…and of course I’m A Celebrity! In my house, this signifies that Christmas is fast approaching. This year has gone by in a blur and a flurry of change. As the seasons change so do our little ones; blink and you miss.
As we near the end of the month and we have had some major changes…well, one major one really. I was lucky enough to be able to nurse Paige from day dot, she had a great little latch, drank morning, noon, and night (plus another 20 times throughout the day!) When she was very little it was all about the calories and the feeling of warmth and the bond between us – she went from being in the womb, hearing my heartbeat, feeling my movement to suddenly being a separate entity. That was shocking for both of us and really hard to get my head around at first. I kept forgetting she was in my arms and not in my tummy! So, when she nursed, she could hear my heartbeat, feel the warmth of me and move with my movements. Actually, it was the most beautiful thing and, in all honesty, the most precious part of my day. (it could be painful and tricky and even isolating at times, but worth every moment). She needed me and I needed her. I could give her something on a different level to anyone else in the world and I think it made me feel a bit special too?
When she got a little older (bearing in mind she’s barely two now), everything I just said still remained, only added to that was the cure to all ails, the most heightened level of comfort and safety, the ‘down-time’ between hectic days and loud noises, the calm to each storm and the go-to for any boo-boo, bump or tears. Gradually, feeds started being replaced with snacks, Paige was doing what every healthy baby/toddler should do: self-weans as she grows. The best way it could happen but also incredibly sad in some ways. My baby is growing up! The last few months have been just a couple of moments of nursing before falling asleep and only in the evenings, no real drinking at all, just the comfort, the cuddle after the bedtime story before falling asleep in my arms.
I actually thought I would be more heartbroken. I’m still a bit sad, I find myself feeling a little surplus to requirement, which is of course utterly hormonal and not at all true! But I’ve come to realise, Paige still snuggles up on my chest to sleep, on her feeding cushion, there is still that same comfort and closeness and skin-on-skin, albeit it only cheek to chest. She still plunges her cold hands down my top if someone she doesn’t know says hello to her, she’ll grin and coo and be generally adorable but as long as her hand is safety ensconced down my bra! Haha can you picture it? Incidentally, my bra is also her fave hiding place. I often find bits of snacks, stickers, even tiny pebbles she has taken a fancy to and popped there for safe keeping. I’ve taken to putting a dish on my bedside table to deposit said items at the end of each day. I don’t think I have felt ready for any of the milestones we have discovered together, I let Paige lead the way in change, it feels the most natural to me.
Whether you choose boob or bottle you are a great mum!
I would like to say that it’s different for everyone, whichever way you choose to feed your baby is your choice, there are so many articles about “breast is best” and “you must nurse if you can” – the truth is your baby is still your baby and you are a great mum if you choose to go with formula – you might not have a choice about it either. I chose to, I guess because my mum did, because my sister did, so it was the natural choice for me and as I said, I was lucky enough to be able to produce what Paige needed. There is also the lazy/practical side which meant I didn’t have to spend money on formula or get up in the night to boil the kettle etc. I did express milk because I thought “ooh how wonderful for my husband to feed Paige while I do other things, it’ll be lovely for them to have that bond too” but when it actually came down to it, I wanted her all to myself! I ended up with a freezer full of milk, which became a little obsession, a security blanket, lucky we found it handy if I had a migraine or we were out and about and I wasn’t comfortable simply ‘whipping them out’ or if feeding rooms weren’t available. But overall, it was my thing and my right as her mum, you know? I suppose I should be grateful for the brief interlude my boobs will get before my baby boy comes along in Feb! Happy Winter Greetings everyone!