I just opened the most insane-looking Evite for my friend's upcoming fortieth birthday party. I mean, there's a party bus! I know it's going to be a great time . . . except I might not be there, because my 10-month-old son is still breastfeeding and he won't take a bottle. No matter what I do, my guy has simply put his bare, little foot down on the matter. He won't take a bottle from anyone else (including his father). I'm basically bound to my baby until he stops breastfeeding, and it's totally my fault.
When my son was first born, I was adamant about never being away from him. Ever. I just didn't feel ready to leave the little person who had been inside my body for the last nine months. And so, I was the one who took care of his every need, including breastfeeding him every two hours, day after day, and never allowing either of us a break. On the one occasion that I was away from my son for more than a brief amount of time, he refused the bottle my husband offered him for hours. He was so stubborn about taking that darn bottle, that I often ended up coming home early to breastfeed him. I'll admit it was kinda sweet to see how happy he was to cuddle up to me and feed, but I also felt a tad resentful that I'd had to cut my plans short.
Now, as we are closing in on his first birthday, I am still tethered to my baby day and night. And while I never set out to exclusively breastfeed, I regret that I was so rigid about breastfeeding. I realise now what I should have done. Even if I didn't feel ready to leave him, my husband could still give the baby a bottle. If only I'd had the foresight to figure out that my little guy would become completely dependent on me for feedings if I never gave him a chance to experience any alternatives.
To be fair, it's really hard to see past that initial attachment you feel when your baby is born. And, moms are under so much pressure to make breastfeeding work. I was enamored with my son, and focussed on doing everything right for him, and I just wanted to do everything in my power to do right by him. I don't think there is any shame in that. Because in the end, the truth is that I have loved every second of breastfeeding my baby. (Well maybe not when he bites me with that one tooth he recently sprouted.) But in general, breastfeeding has been amazing, and I'm in no rush to stop. I still want to spend as much time with my baby as possible, because I know how quickly this special time will fly by.
But it would still be great if he would take a bottle once in a while because I would love the occasional break. But I've come to realise that it's just not happening with my son. I'm making my peace with it, because the most important thing to me is that he's happy and well-fed. Besides I know if I go to the party, I'll spend the whole time worrying he won't eat or go to bed, since I usually breastfeed him right before I put him down. And I'll feel too guilty thinking about him being so upset, wondering when the boobs are coming back. So the party bus will have to wait. Unless no one minds if I breastfed him on the bus.