Tonight I am thankful that I'm able to nurse my Nugget. I mentioned a while back that I love nursing WAY more than I ever thought I could, and that's still true, but our nursing relationship has changed quite a bit since she was born. Since I know many, many, many soon-to-be mamas out there, I thought I'd take some time tonight to try and describe the world's greatest feeling.
In the beginning (i.e. the first four months when I was at home), nursing was a no-brainer. Sylvia latched well, and I loved rocking with her in her room and feeding her whenever she needed it. Every once in a while I'd venture out into the living room to nurse, when I was feeling feisty, but I've always been content sitting in her room and enjoying that precious space with her...especially when there were other people in our house or other things to do. Sometimes it felt downright sinful to sneak in there with a hungry baby and close the door. "Ha ha, world! You can't get me! I'm feeding my baby and you can SHOVE IT!" That was always fun.
Eventually I got up the nerve to nurse her in public. I love my trusty nursing apron and it really came in handy for the first five months or so. My Mom was skeptical when I wanted to register for one, but when she and I were shopping at the mall and I sat down on a bench to nurse the nugget, she was convinced - they're another one of those "why didn't I think of it" ideas. Once I got the hang of it, I was nursing that baby everywhere! At the mall...at restaurants...pretty much everywhere except for church. I never got up the nerve to nurse my baby in church.
All of the lovey-dovey nursing hoopla took a serious hit when I went back to work. A working, nursing Mama means PUMPING. I hate pumping. It's pretty much the world's most awful thing and I hate it. Sylvain says I look like a milk-making robot and Mom says I look like a dairy cow. My coworkers can't figure out why I would lock my classroom door in the middle of the day (gasp!) and one of them actually UNLOCKED it so they could barge in and deliver something. I had to get very comfortable with "going topless" for twenty minutes a day. For the first three months of the school year, I was pumping THREE TIMES a day! Sylvia was sucking down bottles at daycare like it was her job and I felt like I had to keep up with her. I pumped at planning, I pumped as soon as school let out, and depending on how much she ate that day, there were times where I pumped before I went to bed at night. Luckily, I had a pretty good stash of frozen milk, so on nights where I was too exhausted to pump, I could grab one of those. Then, she hit six and a half months old, and everything changed again.
A couple weeks ago, Sylvia decided that she's just too busy to lay in my lap and nurse. She's been taking bottles so frequently at day care that she wasn't interested in feeding from the boring old breast anymore! I started supplementing with formula and OH MY GOSH IT WAS THE GREATEST THING EVER! Suddenly I was freed of the shackles of pumping. Once Sylvia started taking formula, I could go back to nursing her when we both actually enjoyed it. I still pump during planning, which isn't too bad at all because I have plenty of time and I can eat or work on the computer while I do it. When she's really tired or groggy, she has no problem nursing, so currently our schedule looks something like this: I nurse her first thing in the morning when she wakes up. She eats a bowl of oatmeal for breakfast at day care. She drinks a bottle of breast milk. She eats a bowl of rice cereal and veggies. She drinks two bottles of formula in the afternoons. She eats rice cereal and veggies at home for dinner, sometimes she has another small bottle of formula if she needs it. She nurses before bed. The milk I pump during planning is her first and only bottle of breast milk during the day.
I was really nervous about this new routine, but now that we've done it for two weeks I absolutely love it. I have the best of both worlds! She'll eat a bottle of ANYTHING and she'll eat any vegetable as long as it's mixed with a little bit of cereal. I'm sitting in the middle of one of those rare time-frames where everything seems to be working well. All of my spinning plates are in the air and they haven't shattered on the floor yet. I'm sure that soon we'll have to change our nursing relationship again, but I'm so thankful that she's still nursing twice a day without any resistance. I cherish each and every ride in the rocker that we have because I know our days are numbered. However, now that she's taking formula, Sylvain gets to feed her a lot more often than he used to and he loves it. So does she. At the moment, all is right with our nursing world!