We made it.

Yesterday, E. had his twelve month well-baby checkup.

He was breastfed for his entire first year.

He has (we are nearly positive) outgrown the MSPI.

Far out. We made it.

It’s hard to feel a lot of pride as a mum. You don’t want to take any credit for the lovely things about your baby, or the things that he does, because in some way that implies that you’re equally responsible for the less-nice things, or the things that he isn’t doing yet, but the little voice at the back of your head is whispering that maybe he should be (especially when you’ve got other mums playing the Baby Olympics and claiming their babies are doing things at E’s age that seem highly unlikely, if not downright developmentally impossible).

But I did feel a sense of quiet accomplishment when we reached E’s birthday.

The last two months haven’t been easy. I haven’t enjoyed having my nursing relationship become a menage a trois with the pump. But I managed. I dealt with it. I wrote an entire dissertation chapter (17,000 words) while getting up twice a night to nurse my baby. I pumped first thing in the morning, every morning, while distracting E. with corn and kamut puffs so he wouldn’t incessantly grab at the tubing and then bite me in frustration when I told him repeatedly not to touch. I broke up my workday, or stayed in with E. after his nap rather than go for a walk, so I could pump again later in the morning to make sure there was enough milk for him to drink in the afternoon. I cuddled and sang and tried not to grit my teeth while E. picked up the feed before bed and then dropped it again a few weeks later. I held my breath and crossed my fingers while we reintroduced dairy into my diet, again, and then, into his.

And I think, I hope, that what we are now facing in E’s second year is a baby with no food allergies.

It may be that he can’t really handle straight cow’s milk. We’re still working that one out. He clearly doesn’t like it as much as the breastmilk, but he’s not showing any definitive signs of reacting, so he might just need some more time to get used to it. Even if he doesn’t drink it, we can be sure he’s getting enough of what he needs if he eats cheese and yoghurt and keeps one or two nursing sessions.

The plan now is to cut out that second night feed (the paediatrician wants me to do both, but Q. and I both feel going cold turkey isn’t going to be the best option with E.). I know he doesn’t need it- he’s had more nights than not over the past week and a bit with only one feed, and twice he’s done an eleven hour stretch. I am dying for a longer stretch of sleep. And I’ll keep pumping in the morning if E. won’t nurse when he wakes up, and I’ll probably pump after he goes to bed if he won’t nurse before sleeping, just to protect my supply. I’m not going to stop pumping until we see that E. is happily drinking milk or eating tons of yoghurt. And then, if he really doesn’t want to nurse morning/night, I’ll stop pumping and let my supply ease off.

I’d like to keep nursing; I really would. But I don’t feel the need to bend over backward to make it happen, now that we’ve made it past the year mark and it looks like his gut has matured. We’ll see what happens.

There’s a lot of noise online right now about that new Time cover (and no, I am not going to link to it), and today I can’t stop thinking about the horrible situation in the UK where it looks like a Canadian woman has killed her fourteen month old daughter and newborn son and tried to kill herself as a result of PPD. All I want to say is this:

We are all Mom enough. We are all doing our best.

And wouldn’t it be nice if, for once, the mainstream media would actually devote its time and energy to raising support and awareness for those who are struggling rather than stirring up judgment and mistrust and fanning the flames of the so-called mommy wars.

Happy Mother’s Day to all my blog readers, be you mums already, or daughters with mums, or mums-yet-to-be. Wishing you love, laughter and quiet moments this Sunday.

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3 Comments

Filed under MSPI, Nursing, Sleep, Soapbox

3 responses to “We made it.

  1. Nity

    Awe! Yeah. Isn’t that first year so much about survival? You made it. Hip hip hooray indeed!

  2. Mel

    That is truly exciting that he has outgrown the tummy troubles. I can only dream of how much easier it has made life. I hope the nighttime sleep is soon to follow because I think of you OFTEN and wonder how you are still surviving. We are 4 months past the switch to formula and I don’t recall one night she’s woken me up since she adjusted and I just think about how tired I was before and, ugh…. I just feel for you.

    XOXO

  3. Pingback: Five years! | Res Cogitatae

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