Sometimes it seems like parenting is all about the transition moments. Today I’m thinking about transitions in feeding. When my son was born (big transition for both of us!) he was exclusively breastfed, and it seemed like no sooner had we really gotten that down than the pediatrician was telling us it might be time to think about introducing solids — surely it couldn’t be time for that already?!
Jesse loved tasting lots of different types of solid foods, but only really ingested tiny, minuscule amounts, and, for all intents and purposes was still getting 99% of his nutrition from breast milk until fairly recently. This transition happened to come around the time I moved offices to be further from a pumping room, and I have to admit being a little relieved that if I didn’t make it halfway across campus three times a day, there were other things he could eat while I was away from him. At the same time, it definitely was a bittersweet realization that he now gets a significant (though still minority) portion of his calories from other sources — up until that point, it had been a point of pride that all his growth was from food I had *made* for him, not just prepared. Still, it was fun to see him emerge with his own likes and dislikes (big time favorite: anything peanut, major dislike: anything cold or slimy) and to see him get SO excited when he saw something he loved being offered for a meal. It’s also just plain fun to introduce a baby to new tastes and see how they react — Jesse makes a face like whatever he just put in his mouth is the most disgusting thing on the planet the first few times he tastes it, and then, nine times out of ten, begs for more, which is just funny to watch.
Yesterday, I hit another transition. After just about nine months of lugging my breast pump to work with me, I left it at home for the first time yesterday. I’ve been looking forward to quitting pumping, to greater and lesser degrees, pretty much since I started. Unlike actually nursing, I never really was a fan of the pump. Recently, however, it just seems like I would rather do *anything* than pump, so I thought leaving my pump at home (which was actually mostly due to a combination of running late getting out the door and figuring out how much milk was still in the fridge that would have to be used before it went bad when today is my last day at work before the weekend) would be liberating.
Instead, I sat at my desk jumping up to go pump as soon as my calendar beeped a reminder at me (in recent weeks, I’ve been clicking “dismiss” without even registering it, most of the time) and I felt engorged by 10am, even though I’ve mostly just been pumping once in the afternoon for a few weeks. Seriously. There is no way I was possibly as engorged as I felt.
This all got me thinking though about our next transition — pump weaning. I work outside
the home, and I’m only entitled to protected pump breaks until my son is a year old, although I suspect if I were really gung-ho about pumping and wanted to continue my boss wouldn’t give me a hard time about it. Really though, my closest pumping room is a ten minute walk away (a little shorter in nice weather when I can take an outdoor shortcut) and I’m really ready to be done with my pump, especially since I only work outside of the home four days a week and I’m with my son the other three, so he’ll still be getting lots of breast milk. It’ll be really, really nice to not have to be hooked up to a pump on a regular basis. Also, seriously, can I tell you how amazingly liberated I felt walking to the bus stop with just my purse?? No diaper bag, no pump bag, just my purse. It felt wonderful, which is part of why I think I’m definitely ready for this transition on the whole, even as I get slightly freaked out still about making the freezer stash last until mid-November (my quantitatively inclined husband assures me it will).
I think we’re quite a ways off from full weaning, which will be a whole other transition full of mixed feelings, I’m sure, but in the meantime, one baby step at a time, my little one becomes a bit more independent. Have you started your child on solid foods? Weaned entirely or partially? How did you feel about those transitions?