I returned Sunday night from a much-needed four day vacation with 15 amazing women in Branson, Missouri. I started talking to these ladies on an online forum in April 2006 when we were pregnant with babies due in January 2007. Since then there have been more babies born, online forums changed, and so much more. Some of us have met in person along the way, but this trip to Branson was the largest gathering of our group of almost 30 women. It was a fabulous weekend of fun, sun, and relaxation.
But, I won't say that it wasn't without stress on my part thinking of my little boy at home who wasn't even asking to nurse while Mommy was gone. The little guy enjoyed what he came to refer to as "mommy's milk water" in his sippy cup (water because that's all that ever goes in his cup, and yet he realized it was mommy's milk). I pumped twice a day and took my fenugreek faithfully. In the meantime, I had no idea how it was going to turn out when I returned. I spent a lot of time thinking about why I was so upset about the whole situation.
I felt guilty for leaving my son despite being in loving, caring hands and despite him having an absolute blast while I was gone. I felt guilty because he might wean permanently because I took a trip, although the strike started with the gentian violet I used for thrush. Still my fault.
I felt regret for not soaking up every last minute of our time nursing because I assumed he'd continue to nurse for a while just like his brother did. I felt regret for wishing away those night nursing sessions and for saying no sometimes when it wasn't a convenient time to nurse and I knew he could wait.
I felt scared at the idea of having to figure out how to parent this little boy without breastfeeding as a tool. I wasn't going to be able to nurse away injuries or reconnect after a crazy day in the trusted way we always had. I was scared at having to handle naptimes and bedtimes without this tool. I was scared because of all the things I strive to do as a parent and often fail whether with my patience or creativity or whatever, nursing is one thing that I had almost always gotten right. What kind of mother would I be without that? What kind of mother would I be if I had screwed up the one thing I knew I could do?
Sigh. I returned late Sunday night. I was thrilled when he nursed overnight half asleep. I soaked in every second of it. My husband tried to talk to me as we were going to sleep and I shushed him because I savoring what might be our last nursing session. He nursed in the morning still groggy. I had hope. But, at nap time he asked and then refused. My heart broke. I was crushed. He cried. I cried. I didn't know what to do. He had asked to nurse so I couldn't figure out why he wouldn't actually nurse when I went to latch him.
After some Q & A time between us (always interesting with a 2 year old), I finally offered to nurse him sitting up instead of side-lying and he agreed. We nursed! HOORAY! I snuggled him and loved it, and snapped a few pictures with my phone of course. (Again what if this was the last time?).
The next few times were a little tentative, but we seemed to now be over whatever hump it was. He may ask to nurse sitting up once in a while still, but will also nurse side-lying and doesn't hesitate to latch. I can see the relief in his face as much as I can feel it in my heart. Together, we've figured it out.
|Blurry fireworks picture. They get so big so fast. These are the moments.|
It was a big reminder that I need to be more aware and present in my parenting. There are no givens. Nothing can be taken for granted, not even a little nursing session before bed. I am soaking in the moments more often, and I am working to be aware of the other ways I can positively parent this little boy. Some day he will be done nursing and together he and I will figure that out, but I am so glad it wasn't now and it wasn't like this.