My baby girl was seven months old last week. A significant milestone for us in two ways. The first is that we are now in the month in which she will start crèche. I don’t really want to think about that (though it’s on my mind all day long).
And the second is a milestone my sister-in-law asked me about tonight. I am now breastfeeding for longer than I ever have before. Each day is a new milestone really. So how do I feel about it? A cause for celebration? In some ways, yes it is I guess. But the truth is that I haven’t really given it a lot of thought because it just isn’t an issue. We’re not having any problems feeding wise so there is nothing to think about, no reason to change.
I remember with my son, that when I switched him to formula, I felt like I had been breastfeeding him for a long time. But we had problems every step of the way. It was never easy with him. The night he turned seven months I breastfed him for the last time, the two of us alone in the dark. I felt we had worked hard and it had been a long long road to get to that point.
But this time around, with my daughter, it’s been a breeze. Even those early painful feeds are a distant memory. And so when she reached seven months last week, I didn’t feel like I had been breastfeeding forever. I feel like it has gone by in a flash. I look at her and she still looks like a baby. I can’t imagine weaning her, never breastfeeding her again. Instead of feeling that breastfeeding will be hassle when I return to work, I am grateful that I will still be able to take her into my arms and nurse her when we are together again in the evenings.
Instead of worrying that I must get her to sleep through before I return to work, I am happy that if she suffers from the same separation anxiety that her brother did when he started crèche, I’ll be able to offer her some extra comfort at night while she settles into her new routine.
When she wakes at night to be fed, we doze together through the feed. I guess it’s all a matter of perspective. Last time I saw night feeds as a problem to be fixed at seven months of age. This time I see them as a fleeting stage and I focus my energy on maximizing my own sleep while accommodating feeds.
So now that I’ve given it some thought I realise that what I really feel about breastfeeding this long is grateful. We’re about to have a tough few weeks as we settle in the new routine of crèche and work. And at least we still have these moments together each day. At least that much won’t change.