Motherhood is funny. Just when you think you have a plan set, your child throws you for a loop and it all changes.
I was so paranoid about breastfeeding and pumping enough milk for my daughter while I'm away at work. I was counting down until the day where I could add food to her diet and breathe a sigh of relief that I'm her sole provider of nutrition, especially with my not-so-small obsession with maintaining a stash.
I'm happy to say I have been able to keep up with pumping, and my frozen stash hasn't had to take too much of a hit. I've been able to exclusively breastfeed far past my original goal of three months, and I have new goals to breastfeed to a year! If you asked me during my pregnancy if I thought that would be possible for me I would have said "heck no!" Now? Now, I think if I keep working hard, I can do it.
My fear of lasting through an all-breast milk diet turned to fears of losing my milk buddy. Would she still want to breastfeed when she discovered how yummy solid food is? Would she want to feed herself or be fed? Would she still come to me and want to nurse as soon as I get home?
Around four and a half months my daughter started acting funny around food. Others may call it "showing interest." For weeks and weeks I tried to ignore it.
I ignored her reaching for my bowl of oatmeal every morning, and the fact that she'd lean toward me and open her mouth when a spoon came her direction. But when I wasn't quick enough she grabbed a tater tot off my plate, put it in her mouth and started chewing. In a panic I pulled it out of her mouth and sadly admitted two things. 1. I need to start eating better and 2. she was probably ready for solids.
So I had come to the realization that my daughter is probably ready for solids. But was I ready to give in to her readiness? Breastfeeding was going so well, and I wasn't ready to say she was no longer exclusively breastfed. This was my badge of pride. My "I DID IT" sign I could have in my back pocket the rest of my life, pulling it out on the rare occasion of the awkward question "how long did you breastfeed?"
I read more in my baby food book about first foods for babies and decided an organic brown rice cereal would be a good choice if we were going to try solids. I want to stay gluten-free with her for a year, and brown rice would be a healthy start. Plus I can mix in breast milk as the liquid, and she'd be familiar with the taste.
I found a brand I liked and was ok with trying, and prepared to end our exclusive breastfeeding relationship.
I thought it would be a little sad but it wasn't in the least. Just like I thought, she was ready. She leaned in and opened wide from the start and surprisingly, more of it made it in her mouth then on her bib. After her first few bites she was ready to chow down; so much so, when it was all over, she licked the bowl.
Of course I got it all on video.
Lil' J loved her yummy rice and milk. The next night she didn't miss one bite and was mad when it was all gone.
So how is this effecting our breastfeeding relationship? Well, it hasn't so far. She seems to be eating the same amount during the day. I still need to pump twice a day to have enough milk while I'm at work, but at night she doesn't cluster feed as much.
We're starting slow and making breastmilk organic brown rice cereal once every couple nights, but I'm excited to experiment with more tasty foods soon. Avocado, peas, carrots, oh my!
Lucky for me, the transition hasn't been as dramatic as I pictured from either side of the spectrum. She isn't drinking less milk and she doesn't hate nursing now. She still comes to me when I visit her on my break, and when I come home at night and wants to nurse right away even if daddy just finished feeding her a bottle right before I walk through the door.
How did you feel about your baby's first solid meal?