Sometimes the Internet has as uncanny knack of throwing things into your path just when we need them. I’m not talking about the endless adverts for fridges when you’ve just bought one or googling whatever is on your mind, because believe me I’ve googled everything about babies in the last six years and really I’m still a novice. I mean when the right articles, comments and blogs just happen to pop up into your feed when you need a reminder of the right path or a hand on your shoulder.
Last week I read an article about what to say to people who disagree with breastfeeding past the first six months, a blog about a Velcro baby/child and had a comment on Instagram telling me that someone has to be in the room with their three year old in order for her to fall asleep. All in the week where I’ve felt conscious of the fact that Lady Mck mostly, feeds to sleep, wants only me and still feeds in the day.
The odd comment about feeding or question about how she’s sleeping, together with the comparison with her brothers and when they self-weaned had me doubting myself and her. She has come so far in terms of sleep. I see Twitter mamas who are a few months behind us and still waking many times in the night and I want to hold their hand and tell them it will get better. Lady Mck now sleeps all night, most of the time in her cot, sometimes in her pushchair, but she still has to be fed to sleep or cuddled to sleep before I can put her down.
She still feeds in the day though and this has been bothering me. Once to have a nap and once before dinner, when the school run is finished. I know I could use other ways to get her to nap, but feeding means no crying and I get to sit and drink a coffee. The late afternoon feed I thought , maybe, she could drop. Replace it with a snack and a drink. This resulted in two days where she followed me around, crying at me and so I gave her what she needed at totally the wrong time, resulting in burnt fish fingers one night and over cooked pasta the next. So, I went back to sitting for ten minutes, often less and offering milk. I have my happy girl back. This feed has nothing to do with hunger, it is her having a brief period of downtime, connecting with the person she is most attached to and there is absolutely nothing wrong with that. She has let me know she is not ready to give up and I am not ready or prepared to make her.
I sure that part of my wobble is because, still feeding in the day has the potential to be much more visible. The boys used to feed maybe in the morning and eventually just at bedtime. Lady Mck could potentially ask for milk at anytime and feeding a walking, eating toddler doesn’t look the same as feeding a babe in arms. (I’m never quite sure when to start using the word toddler. To my mind they’re a baby until they’re two and don’t really deserve the moniker of toddler until they do a good line in tantrums)
Seventeen months isn’t even that old, but I am comparing and reading things into this that aren’t there. Comparing to others experience and to my own with my older children, but I know enough to know, that each one is so very different. She is far more attached to me than the others were. They were always happy to take a bottle or to go to Daddy. She isn’t. Sometimes it has to be me. People saying she is my last and so I will feed as long as possible, for my own reasons, make me doubt myself. I shouldn’t. I know I will be a little sad when this job I’ve done for all my children is done, but I will stop in the knowledge that I did it well, I stopped when they were ready and I should have nothing to regret. It can often be tough going to, there are lots of times when I think I would like to stop. Moments when I want to be less needed, have less responsibility and to be blunt, not have someone on my body so much. This post I read sums those feeling up perfectly.
As I read this post back, I notice that what is really bothering me isn’t what I think or what Mckdad thinks, but what others may think and that makes me cross, with them, but also with myself. In the past I have always been very confident about my feeding choices. Never one to feel the need to hide away, cover up or explain my decisions. Where has this sudden crisis of confidence come from? So, I must push away the comments and the doubts and go with what I know. I accept that this will be a longer journey for she and I, than it was for the other two. How long? I really have no idea. She can change at any time. Drop a day feed. Start to fall asleep without help. Give up totally. Who knows? What I do know is, for now at least, things are fine. There is no need to change. I am continuing to feed on demand and do what needs to be done to make sure everyone is as happy as possible and gets as much sleep as possible. This is the way I have always done it and this is the way I shall continue.