Sunday, April 18, 2010
Arabella has two passionate love affairs. One with her Soothie pacifiers and the other with breast milk. She sleeps with a pacifier in her mouth and one clutched in her hand under her belly. She has four pacifiers in her crib for naps and night time. Twice last night before she really conked out she cried until I came in to find that she had pushed or tossed all four of the pacifiers onto the floor. This happens all the time. I wish I could tape one of those darn things to her hand.Bella is slowing down on her breast milk obsession because frankly it's time for her to get over this one all together. I've been pumping for this girl since she was 6 weeks old (just another indicator of what kind of stubborn little monkey I was getting when she chose the bottle over the boob at this young age). She'll be one in a few weeks (what the? how did this happen so fast?) and I'm starting to ween off the pumping (thank God). She drinks some milk before her naps to calm her (a soothing method that I introduced when she was very young because NOTHING worked to calm her for naps). I knew it would be tough later on to get out of the habit of drinking from her bottle before naps but at the time with a screaming overtired infant I didn't care. She drinks a good bottle before bed and then one again around 10PM and then sometimes if she wakes early at 4 or 5AM I'll give her some milk to go back to sleep. Gradually she's going longer and longer without a bottle at night. I know some people look at this like I'm crazy because their miracle babies slept through the night at 3 months or even younger and here my almost one year old is still waking for feedings at night. Both my girls were this way and Addie just grew out of it at one and I'm hoping Bella does too. I'm just not lucky enough to have easy sleeping babies. Arabella has been anything but a sleeper. Anyway, she's getting so much better and the 6 hour block of sleep I am getting is pretty blissful. I am thrilled that I can quit the pumping and have already spread it out so much that the milk should be dropping significantly. I'm really proud of getting through another year. It wasn't as hard this time because I was home most of the time and had Yaya to take over when I needed to sit and pump (especially when Bella was super little). Pumping for a year has simply become the norm for me and what it means to have a baby under one it's what works best for me. A lot of women gasp when I tell them that I pump full time and have been for almost a year. It is a lot of work but to me that worked better than nursing. I don't even think about it any longer. When we went to Puerto Galera last weekend I didn't even think twice about packing the pump, bottles, bottle brush, dish soap, a bowl for washing, ice packs, the cooler, and the voltage converter. Phew, it's a lot of extra baggage that I can't wait to go without it. My pump has come with me all around the Philippines and Asia for that matter. Sadly it was put to use in the airplane restrooms of our flight from PDX back to Manila after Bella was born and then again in the Nagoya business class lounge on the second leg of that trip (my worst pumping experience by far-I got so many pitying glances-alone with two babies, too much crap, pumping, covered in spit-up and breast milk). In Manila it's just in the car since the traffic is so unpredictable. Months ago, I'd just tell Garry not to turn around as I plugged it into the cigarette adapter of the Jeep and pump away in the backseat. It's taken bonka boat rides on the back of our friend. I love seeing a big guy with a breast pump strapped to his back. For me that's the ultimate laugh. The pump has seen Boracay as I pumped while reading the Gurnsey Literary and Potato Peel Society to the light of a night light in the bathroom of our hotel at night. I love all the weird places my breast pump has gone. It reminds me of pumping for Adelaide and the very different locations that breast pump went compared to my current, sleeker, more chic Medela. Having the breast milk on demand has been really nice because traveling in this country doesn't always guarantee fresh milk at our destinations. Bella's had her first taste of cow's milk and while it's clearly a different commodity it's not altogether repulsive. A good sign since she's going to get getting much more of it in a few weeks. When I see my big healthy girl, I know I gave her a very wonderful gift for her first year of life. A sacrifice that I made for both my girls and would do again for any future children we may have. It's just part of being a Mom for me. I do have to say that I am overjoyed that my year's sentence with the breast pump is coming to and end very quickly. I can't wait to wipe it down and pack it up in a closet and not look at it for a long while.