The day I’ve dreaded
The day has finally come – I’m introducing little A to the sippy cup. Well actually let me clarify. He already takes a sippy cut of water with all his meals. He has been doing so since we introduced solids when he was about 6 months old.
No – I’m not talking about water. I’m talking about giving A milk/formula from a sippy cup. So what is my big issue with this? It means that my nursing days are numbered. This change is totally necessary. I have known this for a while but have been in complete denial. Why is this such a hard thing for me?
Let me explain. Like many mothers-to-be, I planned to nurse my baby – with my goal being about a year. My type A, control-freak personality thought I was in complete control of these types of decisions. Boy was I wrong. Little A was born 5 full weeks premature. Not only would he not nurse, he would barely eat. Getting him to take a bottle was a huge struggle for about the first month. I remember reading various books and magazines while I was pregnant that encouraged nursing mothers to refuse to let the hospital introduce a bottle because of the fear of “nipple confusion.” Well that all went out the window when my tiny little guy needed food. I didn’t care how he ate as long as he was getting what he needed.
So for the first few weeks, we did all we could do to get him to eat from the bottle. I would occasionally try to nurse him but it just wasn’t happening. But I really wanted him to have breast milk so at EVERY feeding (8 times a day or so) I would pump and then give him breast milk from a bottle. This was a ton of work! Each feeding session would take at least an hour (and when you are feeding so frequently anyways there isn’t much time for anything else!)
After about a month or so when he finally got the hang of the bottle, I started trying to nurse again more consistently. Still wasn’t happening. I then decided to get some help from a lactation consultant thinking I was doing something wrong. We met with her three times when she finally concluded he would probably never nurse. Deflated, hormonal, sleep deprived, mentally exhausted, irrational (the list goes on), I was a complete wreck. I just didn’t want to give up on my plan to nurse my first-born. But after one last session crying in frustration, I stopped trying to nurse him for about 4 weeks. I just couldn’t take the frustration every time I would try. I was very used to putting my mind to something and succeeding. For the first time in my life I wasn’t in control and it was killing me. I now look back and know that God was using this experience to work on me but at the time it was very tough.
So I continued pumping and feeding A bottles until he was 10 weeks old. One day I decided to try nursing him again. It just happened. And guess what? He latched perfectly! I never looked back. We have been nursing exclusively since that day (January 26 to be exact). I stopped pumping (I hope to never see a breast pump again) and have only missed 1 feeding since that day. You read that right – I have done each and every feeding since January 26 except 1 (July 2). That special time I had longed for was finally here. And I loved every single second of it (even at 4 am). It has been one of the most rewarding things I have ever done.
But for the past 2 months or so, little A has lost interest in nursing. Especially during the day. He still likes to nurse at night and in the morning but the afternoon feedings are a bit of a struggle. There is just too much going on in the world around him for him to focus. I don’t blame him. But I have known for a while my days nursing were limited.
So today for the first time I am giving A a sippy cup with breast milk. I don’t plan to wean him entirely but I know this is the first step in that process. I have almost made my goal of nursing for a year so I can’t be too disappointed, especially given our rough beginning.
Wish me luck.