This is a picture of us on the plane to Idaho. I was eating an apple when Nolie started to grab it and gum it. She gummed it for a good fifteen minutes before I, like a ravenous castaway, snatched it from her and finished it. But a beautiful light went on at that moment.
Nolie might be ready for solids.
If you do have kids and breasts, and have used those breasts as the sole means of nourishment for those kids, you understand the importance of this epiphany. If you don't have kids and breasts, you might not see why this is a big deal. Let me see if I can explain.
I think I've mentioned that I have a special relationship with Nolie, one that is most tender and wonderful when she's nursing. Except, of course, for those times when she's trying to remove my nipple from my body via her ultra-strong gum-clasp.
Nursing is great for many reasons--it forces me to sit with her and just be; it releases excellent relaxing chemicals in both of us; it's a chance for us to bond, and look into each other's eyes; and yes, I'll say it, it has helped to get off some of the pregnancy weight (though the last 10 pounds are like a weasly distant relative, out of work and sleeping on our couch, here to stay). There's also the wonderful health benefits for her--breastfed babies tend to be less prone to infections and obesity later in life.
But breastfeeding can also be a huge pain in the ass. I was walking to work from the parking lot today, negotiating the solid sheets of ice between me and my building, carrying a bag of books, my laptop, my purse, and the behemoth known as the "Pump In Style" breast pump, which can double for an ottoman in a pinch. I will not miss hauling that thing around come weanday. Had I fallen, it no doubt would have cracked the six feet of ice in the parking lot, making it impassable for motor vehicles.
There are also times when I don't really want to be put to sleep by the hormones that course through my body when nursing, like at noon, when I have a toddler to interact with. But the minute Nolie latches, I might as well just tuck in and say nighty-night. Addie might as well be raising herself at those moments.
And, I don't love exposing myself to strangers in malls, airplanes, or doctors offices, though I certainly think women should be allowed and even encouraged to do so in the greater society. Maybe if I had a stomach like Cameron Diaz I'd be more into it, but for now, hiking up my shirt to expose my white, white dinner roll-stomach and sand dollar-sized nipples isn't so great.
Then there's all the small physical annoyances--the tiny stretch marks, the bras that leave lumps (hubba-dubba boobs) as my overgrown breasts spill out in all directions, the unwanted cleavage at work, the leaking, the aching, the chafing, the squirting, the insatiable appetite at all hours of the day.
Still, a month ago, I would have refused to give up nursing; I needed the time with Nolie, and felt her need for it even more deeply. But now? Well, it's a month later, and visions of breasts past are dancing in my head.
This has been precipitated by the fact that for the last week Nolie has been tucking rather nicely into solids (she seems to like apple sauce and sweet potatoes pretty well) and is also taking the bottle better from Eric and Debbie. And, we need not understate the fact that she has POOPED THREE TIMES IN THREE DAYS. I've never been so happy to see poop in all my life. Because, much as we as a culture pretend to hate our poop, and it stinks, and we like to flush it away, can you imagine life without it? When's the last time you were constipated? Sucks, doesn't it?
So, solids and soy formula seem to be a pretty handy mix; they seem to be loosening her tubes pretty good, and she might even be sleeping better (she slept for 9 hours straight last night). Oh, I'm not ready to totally give up breastfeeding. It's nice when she wakes in the middle of the night, or when she's really distraught. I'm guessing I'll still keep a few feedings every day. But I'm feeling a lot more ready for her, and me, to make this transition now.