Many weeks ago, I stopped nursing the baby before her bottle. Chris suggested it since it would make the feedings more efficient. And while it made me sad to stop, I knew that it was for the best. It would make the day smoother. She would get her main food faster. And I would nurse her only when she got fussy perhaps due to pre-teething or when she needed a little extra after a bottle feed. I was still technically breast-feeding her because I was still pumping as much milk as I could, but I just wasn’t having as much direct breast to mouth contact anymore. The main time that I would nurse her would be before bedtime for the night after her last feed, when she needed an “aperitif” as Chris calls it. I would put her on my boob until she was satisfied, whether that was from the extra milk or just being soothed from being on the breast. I look forward to this time every night when it’s just the two of us in the bedroom together, and she is on my boob and I am caressing her hair and her face and relishing these quiet moments of just the two of us together in the darkness and peace.
Although I will always be sad that I was never able to successfully nurse her exclusively, it will always make me smile when I think about how much she loves my boobs. In the morning when I get up and say good morning to her while she is in the bassinet for her morning nap after her first feed, I usually have the straps on my nursing top undone, so my breasts are exposed to get ready for my first morning pump. And it is the cutest and most hilarious thing when I poke my head into her bassinet to say good morning, and she immediately makes eye contact with me and smiles. And predictably, her eyes move down from my face directly to my breasts, and it’s like her eyes almost bulge out with excitement. Her mouth opens wide and she is just nearly jumping out of her skin. She starts kicking her legs and flailing her arms as though she is trying to say, get me on those boobies right now! She just loves the boobs. If she had it her way, she would be on my boob all day and all night. And this thought always makes me smile and feel happy. My baby loves me. My baby needs me. And even if she isn’t able to get her nourishment directly from my breast, she still loves spending time on my breast. She loves being with me. She is soothed from being on my boobs. And at this point in time, I have made peace with it. I am still her mother. I am still able to soothe and take care of her. I am still able to provide her food from my breasts, pumped into a bottle. And these are all amazing things. These are all things that I am constantly grateful for.