“There is nothing sadder than finding yourself overwhelmingly homesick for a place which doesn’t exist anymore” @The Bloggess Twitter, April 10, 2011
I've been planning to wean my nearly seven month old for a few weeks now and keep putting it off. The sterilising, finding the right size teat, creating cool boiled water, knowing the formula tastes like wet cardboard, were thoughts that kept him quickly and simply shoved on the boob.
Last night, suddenly and without warning he refused to nurse. He pushed me away and screamed from around 10.30pm on and off for four hours, as I desperately tried to feed what I perceived was a hungry baby. Eventually at 3am and with lots of rocking he calmed enough to pass out and I promptly followed suit.
At 7am I thought 'he’s been twelve hours without a feed he’ll be starving and he’ll have a great feed'. No such luck, my literally painful situation was not going to be relieved by him, no way, no how. So an hour later he gulps down 240mls of formula no problem.With only moments to spareI hook myself up to the milking machine. Spontaneously explosion averted I relax for a second until my toddler wanders over and points at the rhythmic whirring thingy, 'mama w'dhat?' he giggles, 'Max' turn'. Hubby reading the situation redirects his attentions elsewhere and with one hand on the pump and the other on the phone I call the doctor.
On the way to the doctor I have visions ranging from a simple sore throat or a tooth to a rare digestive disorder. I also have that hope that seems to always get dashed, that maybe, just maybe a member of the medical profession will know what is going on and be able to solve it. No such luck, they can't find the reason and just say it may be this or that but he looks healthy so relax.
Whatever the reason I’m struggling to cope with this on only three hours sleep. Not withstanding the pain cold turkey weaning causes, I was emotionally shocked by the rejection and sudden change in how my baby’s existence was going to be sustained. I found myself listening to the voices in my head – plenty of babies survive on formula, I had formula, but maybe that explains everything? what about that study on brain size, am I stunting his potential? Would I have been the amazing successful form of me if I had been breastfed? what about how fat formula makes babies, will I make him obese? what about viruses? he’ll probably get sick all the time; no matter I’ll keep trying him on the breast and we can go back to plan A: a nice slow and steady progression to the bottle when I'm ready.
These thoughts were all very interesting but completely irrelevant as whatever plans I had, the little guy had his own ideas. Albeit less neurotically informed, they were no less determined in their desired outcome: no boob thank you.
So I sat staring at him (rather than Twitter for iPhone), as he guzzled down his fourth huge bottle in twenty-four hours and tears filled my eyes. All the conflicting arguments and old wives tales faded in light of the sadness that my, most likely last, little baby had just taken a big step away from me towards his independence. I know it’s so tiny compared to what I am to expect in the future, but it’s a hint of the pain I’m sure I’ll feel at those larger milestones (I imagine instead of quiet tears at those points their maybe louder whaling-type goings on).
My sadness is amplified as I’ve been wishing the time away, complaining about the sleep-deprivation and my lack of time to myself. I know I will feel some relief when I get used to the idea but for now I lament that it is the end of an era. The unexplainable feeling of growing your baby with your body alone, is now just a memory. Such a quick moment in time, now gone forever.
I’ve been adamant for about a year that I would only ever have two children. But now for the first time I understand all my friends who just keep getting pregnant. Who wouldn't want to stop time and relive a beautiful memory?
All I know is that now I am a Mum to two beautiful boys - time is my best friend and my worst enemy. There are days I long for my baby to be a toddler and then there are days like today where I would sell my soul to stop time and hold my bub in my arms forever.