My baby has just turned nine months old. And whilst I am still referring to her as my “baby” she no longer seems like a baby. I was hoping she wouldn’t be in such a hurry to grow up but she is clearly in a desperate hurry to keep up with her sisters. I wish she would slow down. When each of my other daughters was nine months old, I was already pregnant with another baby growing inside me. This time I am not, nor do I intend to be. I notice myself touching my tummy sometimes, subliminally yearning to feel those little bubbles – the early signs of life. But there is nothing there (only a rounded belly – the imprint of having been stretched three times in three years)!
It occurs to me now that my baby has had her final feed, that I am no longer needed by her in the same way. She has shown her preference for the bottle over my breast and she decided this without forewarning. I wasn’t intending on breastfeeding her for much longer but I had hoped to hold onto one feed a day for a little while longer. In any case, I had hoped to be aware of our “final” feed together but she made it abundantly clear one morning that she was no longer satisfied with what she was receiving from me. For a week I tried to coax her into a final feed but it was not to be. I am no longer her physical lifeline. I am all dried up.
These past few years for me have been exclusively focussed on creating and nurturing new life and I have loved it. I wrote here not long ago about preggy envy and I know I will long to be pregnant again. When I first experienced pregnancy I felt like my body made more sense. I was relaxed with my changing shape I felt more “me” when I was a “we”.
She is transitioning quickly from baby to infant. I hated packing away the bassinette and capsule and all the beautiful wraps. I miss wrapping her up like a souvlaki (seriously, it doesn’t get much better than that!) I know its time to move on to the next “stage”, but there’s a part of me that is still holding on. Each week I pack away more clothes but I won’t be able to pass them on just yet. I’ll be stretching out her ‘onesies’ for a little while yet.
When I weaned my other two daughters, I always thought that I would have another baby, so it was not going to be the last time I ever breastfed. But this time it is different. We are pretty certain that we won’t be having a fourth. I miss the beautiful intimacy of breastfeeding my baby – watching her bottom lip curl up and hearing the gentle, rhythmic sucking that follows.
On the upside, I won’t miss my feeding bras, which have had a good innings. I feel like having a burning of the bras ceremony to commemorate being free. Those tops have survived hundreds of wash cycles and I am relieved to see the back of them. I am free to wear strapless dresses this summer! And whilst breastfeeding is a lovely and intimate experience I won’t miss my overused pump and steriliser. Breast-feeding may be a lovely experience but expressing milk is downright undignified.
Another upside of moving through this stage is I am nearing the end of making baby mush. My ice cube trays will soon be free of pureed carrots and will be rightfully reclaimed for my summer G&T’s….