Thanksgiving was my first real break after going back to work in September, and I was looking forward to spending four days with my son Joshua. No pumping, no bottles, no washing and no time away!
I volunteered to host my immediate family for Thanksgiving dinner at our house, which was a break away from larger family gatherings. I had read that the holidays can be tough on breastfeeding relationships, since mom is busy cooking, cleaning and entertaining, and baby may be too excited and social to stop and nurse. Of course, I was determined to host the holiday without letting it negatively impact our nursing relationship.
I've learned since becoming a mother that asking for help is important. Though I'd like to be super-mom, I know it's easier on everyone if I admit when I need help. Fortunately, my mom planned to help cook the meal so I didn't even have to ask. She came over early on Thanksgiving morning and we made stuffing and got the turkey in the oven while Joshua and Ed were still in bed. We started making all the trimmings and then Ed and Joshua got up.
I nursed Joshua and then he sat in the high chair and fed himself some cereal while watching us cook. Ed played with Joshua while my mom and I continued to cook, and then when Joshua got hungry again, I nursed him. Ed decided to take Joshua for a ride to visit his parents, so after Joshua had nursed until his little tummy was full, we packed the diaper bag. I warned Ed that I was looking forward to spending the whole weekend on vacation from the pump, so he needed to get home before Joshua was hungry. But in case they didn't make it back in time, I knew that Josh could have some of the expressed milk Ed's mom had in her freezer.
Over the next two hours, my mom and I cooked the turkey with all the trimmings, some appetizers and desserts, too. My mom then headed back home to the farm to get changed and check on my dad and brothers. Fortunately for us, the farm is only five minutes away from our house. I found myself at home alone, with all of the work done! I enjoyed a quick soak in the bath and it was such a treat. Ed and Joshua got home and I nursed him, and then it was time for our Thanksgiving feast. Joshua joined us and wowed my family as he fed himself turkey, stuffing, mashed potatoes, butternut squash and sweet potatoes (in small quantities, of course). We shared a wonderful meal and then we all relaxed, taking a cue from Joshua's well-timed nap.
I had such a wonderful, stress-free holiday. I'm going to remember what made it such a success, since the Christmas season is just around the corner. It was all about good planning, asking for help, and sharing our holiday with loving family. I have so much to be thankful for this year.