Breastfeeding has become like a religion to me. I take it very seriously, and prioritize it above all else. Her face lights up with a big smile when she hears my bra unclip. It’s uncanny. She knows she’s about to eat, and will soon feel full and content. While she nurses she does a little humming coo. She has done this since birth, and it’s the most satisfying sound. When she falls asleep eating she comes off and lays her smiling cheek down on top of the breast, like a pillow, always keeping it close. While she eats she holds my hand in hers, or massages my chest instinctively. Sometimes she just stares into my eyes while she is nursing as if I am her whole entire world.
Avery doesn’t want to take the bottle. I have pumped a few times for my wife to be able to feed her, and she either cries through it and only chokes down an oz or so before refusing completely and the rest gets dumped, or the bottle sits in the fridge waiting for my wife to get a chance to feed her and then gets dumped down the sink a week later. We have tried a couple of different bottles and some are better than others, but it’s a matter of the lesser of two evils for Avery. I have a few bags in the freezer, but it is such a hassle for me to pump that I just don’t want to waste my time doing it if it goes to waste.
Avery and I are perfectly matched for supply and demand. She feeds on demand, not on a schedule, and she strongly prefers to nurse side lying. Some people would find it too impractical to have to lie down everytime they needed to feed their baby, but it works for us. It forces me to relax for a minute, which seems like a win-win situation. I am very fortunate that my life situation allows for this breastfeeding relationship – and I want to take advantage of it.
I have given in to the fact that this is what my baby needs from me right now – including the 2 hours of cluster/comfort nursing she does every evening. I no longer feel obligated to return to my evening board meetings. My obligation is to my baby, and myself, right now. I suggested that my board try to do weekend daytime meetings in the new year, as this would get me back the soonest. Avery CAN eat in cradle hold while we are out in public, but in the evenings she is still very much a cluster/comfort nurser and me lying in bed with her is what she wants.
I remember when I was pregnant, asking the midwives how soon after birth I could start pumping and bottle feeding so my wife could have an equal role in feeding her. Recently, my wife has expressed that she wishes she could do more of the feeding. But I am surprisingly very protective over our breastfeeding now. This is so natural and so easy for Avery and I that I have given up all of my previous passion for equal feeding roles between partners. Selfish, perhaps. But it’s our thing.