I've become a humble mother. I'm constantly seeking advice from those mothers who came before me, and I'm constantly changing my approach to caring for our son. As month seven fades, and a return to office work looms in my future, I've updated my approach to my two baby goals. Back in February, I wanted nothing (yes, NOTHING) more than for Thomas to sleep through the night and to take a bottle when I was away from him. I was convinced I'd done everything wrong -- waited too long to introduce a bottle, rushed to him too quickly at night to respond to his cries -- and those mistakes had created a situation (a baby that would only eat from mama and that woke up every hour looking for a nipple) that I couldn't easily change.
Two comments by my public health nurse (love her!) changed my entire perspective on our situation, and I now feel much more confident in Thomas' ability to thrive while away from Mama when I head back to work.
- Sleeping Through the Night -- My nurse said that babies who are well-established at breastfeeding often wake regularly at night because it helps maintain mom's milk supply! Knowing his waking might simply be nature ensuring that we're able to continue breastfeeding for the foreseeable future is actually pretty amazing.
- Taking a Bottle - My nurse said that Thomas also wouldn't take a bottle because he's so well-established in breastfeeding. Knowing that his rejection of the bottle is an indication of my dedication to exclusively breastfeed until one and to then continue to breastfeed until he self-weans, not an indication of a failure on my part to introduce a bottle earlier, was so reassuring. In fact, she mentioned he was actually old enough to skip a bottle all together and move straight to a sippy cup or even a regular cup. So far, he's preferring a regular cup to any of the alternatives! I don't know why I was so bent on thinking that taking a bottle was central to us maintaining breastfeeding even after I'm back at work -- it didn't even occur to me that I could give him breastmilk in an actual cup!