It’s a battle of wills over here, y’all, and I’m pretty sure my daughter is winning.
Also – gratuitous booby talk in this one. Just forewarning you.
I have never been really good at anything in my life. Which is not to say that I’m good for nothing I just mean that I am not super fantastic at anything. I can do a lot of things sort of well – I’m a fair baker, a mediocre writer and I can cross stitch a mean sampler, but I don’t have one thing at which I really shine like some people who are just born to do certain things. Well, didn’t until now. You guys, I am a champion breastfeeder.
And so is my daughter, I guess.
When I was pregnant I was
poor destitute. Also I read a couple of reports about formula being recalled. So I decided I wasn’t going to use formula. I was going to breastfeed come hell or high water! My mother and grandmother had trouble breastfeeding and gave up after only a few tries but that wasn’t going to be me! I am way too stubborn to give up! So I read books, scoured websites and armed myself with entirely too much knowledge about the subject. I was ready. It was on.
When Louisa was born a special nurse, the lactation consultant (I’m sure if you’ve given birth lately you’ve met one yourself), came along to find out if I was planning to breastfeed and if so would I like some help getting started? Why sure! Y’all, she was fantabulous. Eff all of the books I read, she taught me how to breastfeed. And I was good at it. And my daughter was latching on appropriately in the first 24 hours after birth. And my milk came in. And there was much rejoicing. The nurses all remarked how lucky I was that my daughter was such a good feeder.
My plan was to breastfeed exclusively for the first six months, and then introduce solid foods and see what happened. I did not (do not) want to nurse past one year. I just don’t. I know lots of people do it until their kids are toddlers but I don’t think that’s for me. I’m not judging, mind, because I think parenting is personal and what works for some people doesn’t work for others but we should all just get along.
Anyhoo – fast forward to Lou’s six-month checkup. The pediatrician let us know that it was entirely appropriate to start introducing foods. I didn’t go in for that rice cereal nonsense and I didn’t really want to buy baby food, I have a super cool immersion blender and wanted to make it myself. The doc was all for it. As long as you puree it you can feed a baby most anything. So we fed her bananas. And peas. And sweet potatoes. And pears. One at a time, mixed with lots of breast milk, pureed to a nice baby food consistency. And she hated all of it. and by hated I mean she pulled faces and gagged, literally GAGGED on anything we put in her mouth. I mean come on! Who doesn’t like bananas?!
I didn’t push the issue. I figured what the hell. She’ll eat when she’s ready. I kept breast feeding and we kept trying to sneak little bits of pureed nummies in her mouth. She kept gagging and making faces, and developed this awesome habit of just holding her mouth open until the food slides out onto her chin/chest/bib. Did i give birth to the stubbornest or what? GEEZ!
And then… her teeth showed up. And she started biting. Yes me. Biting me. BITING MY NIPPLES. When they tell you babies won’t bite as they’re breastfeeding? They’re lying. She doesn’t do it all the time but often enough that I started wanting to wean sooner than later. And stepped up the food introduction. Somebody told us that if you feed them while they’re lying down they have to swallow because gravity. I tried it. And it worked. She started swallowing bananas. Triumph! I put her back in the high chair and she would still swallow bananas. And there was much rejoicing. But she still won’t eat anything else. I broke down and bought baby cereal – she gagged. I broke down and bought jarred baby food – yummy peaches and pears! She gagged, pulled faces and let it slide out of her mouth and onto her chest.
And still with the nipple biting during feedings. Especially because (and this is my biggest parenting failure) remember once when I mentioned that the only way to get her to sleep was to feed her to sleep? And that I would probably live to regret it? Yeah. So let it be written, so let it be done. She still sleeps with me and she still feeds more than once during the night. I barely notice it and sometimes sleep through it but the tiny voice inside me keeps saying ‘WTF yo, she’s going to be on the tit until she’s 35.’ Suddenly I’m that mom on the cover of Time Magazine nursing her 14 year old.
Luckily she doesn’t bite during the night, but still. She won’t really even take a bottle (again, I am ashamed of my parenting skills) because we’ve never really given them to her. I’m always at home with her and it’s way easier to just feed her with the actual boobehs. When I do happen to pump and try to feed her a bottle she thinks it’s a chew toy, you know, for the teething so, like every other thing we hand her, it goes straight into the chompers.
So yeah. That’s what’s going on around here with my now 8-month-old daughter. Nipple biting, food spitting, bottle rejecting. I have been composing this post since Monday, though, and since that time I’ve convinced her to like jarred baby food sweet potatoes. She ate a ton of them yesterday for dinner so I’m hopeful. Even though she still hates cereal…