Something pretty BIG happened last month and I never got a chance to write about it, because I rarely get the opportunity to write about much these days, but I really do want to take a moment to document this.
As you all know, Saoirse is a breastfed baby. She was born a champion nursling and our nursing relationship has been very graceful from the very beginning. I did begin pumping and storing milk in the freezer for an occasional date night here and there, and I even started relaxing enough to use the freezer stash without any hesitation or guilt.
Well, in early September Brendan and I were called away rather abruptly in the middle of the day to attend to some rather unpleasant business involving one of our older kids. I won't embarrass anyone here with the details of THAT, all you need to know for this story is that we had to quickly shuttle the 3 small ones over to my mom's house during the hustle and bustle of lunch time. Saoirse was ready to nurse as we left, but I assured her that it was all going to be fine and that she could have a bottle instead.
After being gone for nearly 2 hours, we returned to find Saoirse hysterical and still quite hungry. She had refused, flat out refused, to take the bottle from Sarah. She was sweaty and damp from working herself into such a lather and was very much relieved, if not down right ecstatic, to nurse once more. The whole thing struck me as rather odd, as she had never displayed any displeasure with the bottle before this. Maybe the milk tasted funny? Perhaps I ate something too spicy? This was just a one time fluke, right? RIGHT? I mean, it's not like she had bottles all too often, in fact as I sat there that afternoon, trying to remember when the last time was she took a bottle, I realized with a sense of dread that I couldn't even remember! Had I waited too long in between bottles? Had she forgotten how? Was this our new obstacle? Would she continue giving me the "business" when it came to bottles? The bottle business?
We went home and thawed some milk, we tried for the rest of the week to get her back on the bottle, I purchased new bottles in every shape, size and color imaginable and on Friday night we went out for dinner sans children only to return to a crying sweaty baby who was hoarse from crying. Ohhhhhh, it was NOT a one time deal, she did not like ANY of her new bottles and she was DEFINITELY not happy about it!
Now I have heard about this before, about nurslings refusing bottles, but I've never experienced it in even a mild manner. All of my kids have taken bottles of expressed milk without batting an eyelash. In fact when I would hear about bottle refusal I would think to myself, "well, if the baby gets hungry enough they'll take the bottle". However, when it's YOUR baby, your perspective changes a little bit. Initially I felt rather selfish about the whole thing, I mean the NERVE of that little girl! Who did she think she was anyways? Surely I deserved a break from her at least once a week? I wasn't asking for much, just dinner with my husband every once in a while, was that too much?
Once the selfish phase had passed I began to feel sad. I didn't want her to be left feeling anxious about food, feeling hungry, feeling frustrated. I don't know if I ever mentioned this but Saoirse is the most unbelievably calm and gracious newborn you will ever encounter. It didn't take me long to realize that leaving her to cry until she was "hungry enough" was in fact a huge mistake that would inevitably CHANGE her. Change my mellow happy go lucky burrito into something else. And so I took a different approach, a new stance. I stopped thawing milk, I stopped investing in new bottles, I even stopped pumping every morning, put the pump back in storage, and decided that date night could wait. Decided that I could wait. Decided that the bottles could wait. Decided that the only person who COULD NOT wait was Saoirse. Why should she have to?
She is my LAST baby after all, this is it, and so if I have to take her everywhere with me and forgo a little candlelight for a few more months then so be it. And that's what we have been doing for the past month or so, I just keep her with me at all times. Sure we go to the gym, but I am in the building with her and they can always come and get me if need be. Date nights have to take place at home now, or else we just take her with us when we go out. The idea of her feeling panicked or scared just IS NOT worth it.
This next part I'll say in a whisper.....On Saturday night I decided to try the bottle again. I figured that it couldn't hurt to try, and I had long since arrived at a place where it really didn't matter to me whether she succeeded or not, so I knew I wouldn't feel upset if she refused it again. But, BUT, she didn't give me any business at all, she drank an entire 5 ounce bottle!!! We even went out to dinner, although I was practically a nervous wreck by the time we returned, figuring she would be the same sweaty hoarse baby I came back to a month ago. Imagine my surprise when I walked in to find her rosy and sleeping soundly with an empty bottle nearby. So.
So, I guess I am not sure what the point is. I suppose it's mostly psychological on my end, just having the idea, the IDEA, that at some point over the course of any given day, that I could potentially part ways with this child, even just briefly, and she would be just fine and so would I.
Because neither one of us would be waiting miserably to see what happens next.