Lately, I find myself feeling incredibly conflicted and the phrase “six months old” scares the crap out of me. You see, my little girl is growing up SO quickly, and I’m just not sure if I am ready for it.
For me, the first big step towards letting her grow up is related to breastfeeding. For the past six months, every single day I have nursed or pumped at least eight times (yes, she still eats about every 3 hrs). That’s roughly 1500 feeding sessions over the past 180+ days. 1500. Wow. It’s no wonder I’m having a hard time letting it go – it’s such an integral part of my relationship with Stella.
Sure, there are days that I hate that pump. There are days that I just want to hang out and have drinks with my friends and not be the one that has to go feed the baby.
But most of the time, I love it. I love the quiet moments in the middle of the night and the cuddles on my lunch break. I love the way she strokes my chest and my face and stares into my eyes while she nurses. I like that food is always available, always warm, and always ready, not to mention it’s the perfect food and balance of nutrients (and it’s free!).*
But now she had to go and grow up and I’m supposed to start giving her solid food. SOLID FOOD!
I’m thinking we’ll be doing mostly Baby Led Weaning, which basically means we’ll let Stella feed herself from the very beginning. (“weaning” in this sense means “adding complementary foods” – the British definition) I might do some purees, we shall see, but so far the plan is to just give her chunks of food and let her go at it. Avocado, sweet potato, banana, bell peppers, broccoli – basically anything we eat (as long as it doesn’t have salt on it).
On one hand, I’m excited for this new adventure (soon-to-be stinky diapers be damned)…but I’m also kind of nervous about how this will affect me and us. Does that make sense? Even though I have never intended on doing extended breastfeeding, I also cannot imagine stopping, and having to let go of some of that connection with her already is freaking me out.
After struggling with a lot of disappointment with my body during TTC, I am so grateful that my body worked for me for this. I’m proud of my breasts, and I’m grateful that I’ve always had enough milk. Sure, I’ve been frustrated to never have much of an oversupply (5 months of pumping and I still only have about 100 oz in my freezer stash), and I have oddly lopsided production (probably 1oz on the left for every 3 on the right), but I read horror stories of thrush, clogged milk ducts, bad latches, fast letdowns, not enough milk, etc…. and I think WOW, we really got out of this easy. Sure, my nipples are sore from time to time, but in all reality, breastfeeding has been pretty easy for us, and I’ve enjoyed it. I’m afraid to let it go. I’m afraid to let Stella go.
So we shall see. We made it to six months exclusively breastfeeding, and now I’m not sure where the path is going to take us. I might nurse for a year, I might not. Maybe longer, maybe shorter. In the meantime, we are starting this solid food journey, ready or not, so wish us luck!
*I totally get that not everyone can breastfeed (or wants to, for that matter). I’m just relating my experience with it here!