A friend of a friend was struggling with breastfeeding. I don’t remember all the details, but she was a mess about it – as most of us are when trying to figure out how to nourish our babies. Nursing wasn’t working and she had to bottle-feed and was having a lot of guilt. Her turning point came when she was sitting in the baby room at church bottle-feeding. Another mom was nursing and said to her with a loving smile, “Isn’t it wonderful that God gave us more than one way to feed our babies?”
Praise the Lord for that. I love nursing my babies. I love that God has given me that opportunity. But as I said to a friend this morning, I’m tired of complaining about pain. With all my kids I have had this pain on my left side. It isn’t while I nurse, it’s later on. We (doctors, friends, me) think it must be something with my milk ducts when they refill. They’ve done tests, we’ve taken meds – nothing really works. So back in January my OB and I agreed that I would try to suffer through it until at least March to try to get past cold and flu season.
Yesterday I sat and nursed Edwin and gazed at him as you might imagine mommies do (they really do that), and loved every second of it. I soaked in all the goodness of our connection and his growth and how fabulous he is just generally. J
This morning I limped through a solid hours worth of shooting pain and cursed the body that yesterday I’d praised. I’m done, I thought. After talking it over with a friend, I resolved not to nurse off that side ever again. Would I stick to it? I dunno. The big issue of course is, will he take a bottle instead? He has a few times, but usually not without argument. So far it’s almost always been someone else, per the experts.
Lunch time for Eddie came around 12:30. He had just gotten up from his nap and was ready to eat. I warmed some water and got the formula out. 4 ounces of bottle later, I stood in the kitchen and prayed, holding him tight, “Please, Jesus, let this work. Please, Jesus, let this work. Please, Jesus, let this work…” We sat down, and very anti-climatically, he took the bottle. I spoke softly to him the whole time, wanting him to be reassured that this in no way affected our status as mommy and baby. He paused after a minute or two and played for a while, but to my relief continued until it was gone. A good burp or two later, and he was satisfied. As I carried him into the kitchen, he cuddled up to me, seemingly aware of the reassurance that I needed, that this in no way affects our status as mommy and baby.
As I fed him I gazed on him not unlike yesterday. Except this time I saw something different and realized anyone can feed him like this. It means a smoother afternoon for him when I am gone. It means I know exactly how much he’s getting, and maybe he’ll gain weight. It means, well – that a lot is different, really.
And I’m happy. A little sad that he is getting bigger, but for goodness sakes he is so fun right now and hilarious and cute. I love that my big cereal-eating boy has slept a good solid night for the last three, and that he laughs and talks to his sisters like he really knows what’s going on. I’m happy that I can move past nursing without guilt, knowing my baby will be well-fed and healthy. I’m happy that God gives us more than one way to feed our babies.