This past week some lovely friends offered for us to use their house while we were away. As a complete contradiction to my previous post – I really enjoyed the creature comforts and am very grateful that all of our friends don’t live like us 🙂 We enjoyed hot baths and heating that came on at the flip of a switch. We had the choice of a dishwasher or washing dishes in hot water! The girls remained glued to the telly for the entire time.
I always find it quite funny because people try to communicate with my girls while a telly is on and they don’t respond. Sometimes people think they are being rude – but they are just totally and utterly absorbed in it. We have a telly in our house but no aerial, so we can only watch dvd’s – and we tend to do much more playing than dvd’s so it’s a bit of a novelty. With the amount of adverts on tv I can only say that I am VERY happy with our choice. Erin started by saying, ‘wow mom, look that’s cool’ to every bit of plastic that was advertised – until I pointed out that they were all plastic. She, like I, knows where plastic eventually ends up. You only need to take a walk on a local beach, hear news like this or watch something like this. Very soon everytime an ad came on we’d be sitting there saying ‘plastic’, ‘more plastic’, ‘even more plastic’. She gets it and she really cares about the earth and it’s creatures. She would sacrifice her desire for a pink princess castle(or whatever), because she knows that in the end it is not going to do anyone good. I’m really proud of her! She also knows she can create her own games from all sorts of things, using a bit of imagination, and her and Ayla are very good at doing this kind of thing together (when they’re not fighting!) This is not to say we are not guilty of contributing to the plastic infestation – we do do plastic – but we’d like not to.
Anyway, I digress! What I really wanted to talk about it the end of an era with my little boy. He is almost 14 months old now and has just started walking. I have been breastfeeding (almost exclusively) for the last 14 months and plan to continue for as long as he wants it. The thing is, unlike the girls, he was showing very little interest in solid food (in any form…) and was feeding what felt like all night, every night. I was/am constantly exhausted and therefore not the happiest person to be around. I am really for going with babies natural rhythm and am 100% pro feeding on demand, and extended breastfeeding, but I got the point where I had to weigh up whether I continued as I was – or reduced night feeds and perhaps became less exhausted and a better mother as a result.
When my friend said we could use her house while they were away it just seemed like the perfect opportunity…I decided to have an evening of one-to-one with each of my girls, using Oliver James’ love-bombing technique(something I’ve wanted to do for ages), and to see how Leander would cope without nighttime boobie(inspired by a friend who recently did something similar). Hubby was willing to have the other daughter and little Leander. Leander has always refused a bottle – even with breast milk – he will play with it, but that’s it. I was so nervous and feeling so guilty about leaving Leander that I nearly changed my mind several times and it almost ruined my evening with the girls. But I know that hubby is a very capable and wonderful dad who is very close to him, and I made him PROMISE to call me if Leander cried (properly), and I’d come home.
I called late evening to find out that Leander was drinking Oatly happily from a bottle (!!) and that he’d been looking around for me but hadn’t cried. He is an amazing little boy and is quite used to being with hubby without me, when I’m at work. He woke up every 40 minutes the first night, and hubby got an idea of how exhausted I usually am. He drank a bit of milk the first couple of times and cuddled up to hubby and went back to sleep the other times, but at 2am he did throw a little tantrum. He screamed, kicked his legs and wouldn’t let hubby touch him, but thankfully this lasted less than 5 minutes and then he cuddled back into hubby and went back to sleep (we co-sleep). I went back at 7am and gave him a big feed and cuddle.
On the second night, Leander didn’t cry – not once. He slept for much longer periods and when he did wake, it was just to make sure daddy was there. He cuddled in and went straight back to sleep, no problems. I was really surprised – I thought this was going to be much harder.
Last night we all slept at our friends house but I slept with the girls and Leander hardly woke at all the whole night. His appetite for solids has increased massively, and although I feel a bit guilty about this and a bit like I’ve rushed him, it is a huge relief and I am already feeling less tired. I have been breastfeeding for the past 5 and a half years (except for 6 months whilst I was pregnant with Leander) and don’t get me wrong, it is wonderfully rewarding, my kids are blooming healthy and I absolutely love it, but it is exhausting.
So it is with both happiness and a certain sense of loss that I am moving into the next era. We are not having anymore kids, so this may be the beginning of the days where I am not awake breastfeeding all night. This just may be the beginning of days when I will not have a baby permanently on my boob. I feel sad, and I will miss it very much. But I also look forward to being a more energised and better mum. Here’s hoping anyway.
And this is all thanks to my lovely friends, without whom we would probably not had a chance to try this out for ages. Erin and Ayla really enjoyed the love-bombing too – I will save the details of that for another post…