Wednesday, November 13, 2013

mama confessions : her first bottle

these photos are actually from the second bottle - which she, in true finola style, grabbed and fed herself.
Yesterday I gave Finola her first bottle.
Okay, not really her first bottle.  Dada has been feeding her a bottle on occasion since she was two months, and pretty consistently each night before bedtime since she turned four months.  She's been watched by grandparents and they've fed her bottles.

But I never had.  Only the breast from Mama.

Until yesterday.

Lunchtime.  I was dumping some thawed breast milk into a bottle so Hubby could feed it to her later, and she just stared longingly at it from her high chair.  I just decided it was time.  Time to lose my 'bottle fear.'

Am I being a little overly-dramatic?  Sure!  Some breastfeeding mamas feed their babies bottles and have no issues.   But after my experience with Cormac - giving him bottles/formula from the beginning alongside my breastfeeding and then having the breastfeeding come to a emotional and dramatic halt when he was barely 3-months-old - I have been adamant that I wouldn't do anything to compromise breastfeeding Fin.  It would end on my terms.  When I am ready.

My goal was to breastfeed until she was at least six months old. {You can read the first part of my BF journey with Fin here.} That is one week away.  I am still breastfeeding.  Not yet ready to be fully done...

...but I'm getting there.

So I decided I had to try feeding her a bottle, and then I just did it.  It wasn't traumatic at all.  I fed her while she sat in her high chair (which seems much too big for her) and she sucked it down happily.

Instantly I was reminded that there is still a sweet bond when bottle-feeding.  It's different, but it is still so cool to see their little face happily eating (I get a strange high from seeing my babies eat) and I personally love knowing exactly how much she is consuming.
Shortly after that first bottle both kiddos went down for their afternoon nap, and I sat down to pump.  I am not a big fan of pumping, but I did it so as not to deplete my supply.  (I pumped about half of what she hungrily drank from that bottle...not a good sign!  Or I just have a crappy pump.  Methinks both.) But soon enough I will stop pumping to replace the feedings.  I don't know exactly when...but soon.

So why be done?  I've been encouraged by multiple family members to just keep going.  "Try to go a year!" my big sister advised (She breastfed three, going on four, babies up until a year.)  Others seem confused as to why I would stop unless I have a specific reason, like a long trip away from her, or going 'back to work.'   (Because I guess that makes it 'okay' to stop???)

My reason:  I want to.  Simple as that.  I enjoyed the sweet bonding experience of a new mama breastfeeding her infant.  It has been so, so, so lovely...and I am really proud of myself for doing it six months.  I wouldn't trade my experience for the world.

And yes, I will miss the night-time and early morning feedings, when all is quiet and it is just me and her...but truthfully the other feedings are much less productive and sweet.  Truthfully, they have gotten frustrating.

Breastfeeding has become much more difficult as she's gotten older.  Since this was my first time breastfeeding an older infant I've been learning as I go.  The cradle position I've always used with her is becoming more difficult now that she is basically a huge baby (17 pounds!)  She seems a little uncomfortable, arching her back, punching me, and straining to look at whatever might be making noise in the room (*cough* Cormac) but when I try other positions it is no better.  Only at night does the cradle seem effective, when she is super sleepy anyway.  When she is wide awake she does not care to focus on the breast most times...but would rather twist her neck to look wherever her loud, energetic toddler big brother is.  Usually he is banging something, or "jump-jump-jumping" boisterously on the hardwood floors, or trying to climb up onto the chair with us - all of which is VERY very distracting to both mama and baby.  Sigh.  Trying to convince him to "play quietly by himself" is basically futile.

Plus, I have really no desire to find out what breastfeeding a baby with teeth is like.  Just sayin'.

So there is my confession.  I am ready to be done breastfeeding - soon.  I am happy with my experience.  I am at peace with transitioning.  Slowly, but surely.