Ode to Le Boob

Maggie is seven months old now, an age where the introduction of solids and juice may begin. We decided to try child-led weaning and put some small finger foods on her tray to examine, eschewing rice cereal. Given the way she voraciously approaches feedings, I was concerned that once she got her chubby little hands on some roasted carrots, baby peppers that fit right in her hand, and avocado slices, that would be it for nursing.

I needn’t have worried. Maggie likes applesauce. Maggie likes pears. Maggie couldn’t give a damn about anything else.

Over the course of a month, we’ve replaced exactly one feeding with solid food. That’s all she wants, and it’s usually applesauce. Mind you, she completely rejected the Gerber Organic stuff and because I was concerned about the sugar content of other applesauce, I make it for her myself. We tried to get her to take two different sippy cups after the applesauce affected her regularity, and nothing doing. Wouldn’t have it. I froze the finger foods we prepared, rinsed and dried the sippy cups, and dutifully took pictures of her eating and examining the few foods she was happy to gnaw but not swallow.

Here’s what I plan to do about her ambivalence to solids: nothing. My mantra is “It’s not like she’ll go to college [fill in the blank].” Maggie will get into solids when she’s damn well ready, and not a moment sooner. I can wait.

And truthfully, I love nursing my baby. I adore it. There’s the obvious benefits to her, but it’s great for me, too. It makes me more conscious of what I put in my own body; pregnancy and now with nursing Maggie is the first time I’ve eaten three solid, balanced meals a day with sensible snacks. Thanks to the calorie burn, I’m keeping my weight low. I drink my customary glass of red in the evenings, but I don’t ever drink to excess. I’ve almost cut Diet Coke out of my diet completely. (Almost. Ain’t nobody perfect.)

And it’s a beautiful thing. I have to resort to cliches to describe it, but it really is beautiful. When Maggie latches on, her eyes roll back, her body relaxes, and her hand settles on my face. Babies have the right idea: warm, dry, fed, cuddled. When she’s nursing, she’s four for four. She’s figured out there are no snuggles in a high chair–just googly faces and “Here comes the airplane!” Maggie calls shenanigans on the airplane. Why take the airplane when you can curl up under a blanket and snuggle-snack?

I’m grateful to have this luxury, and it IS a luxury. We can afford for me not to work right now. Maggie has been able to nurse on demand since birth, and the only time she’s ever had formula was when the neonatal doctor insisted she take some in the hospital to help boost her caloric intake to burn out the fluid in her lungs. A friend gave me a great Medela to help relieve myself when Maggie slept through feedings. In addition, my supply was great, I had fantastic spousal support and Tom’s aunt is a lactation consultant, available to me for free 24/7. It was work at first, catching on, gritting my teeth through the soreness and the exhaustion and sitting up at night on stitches that ached for weeks, but it paid off.

Hard work and an equal amount of luck–it paid off. Some women work even harder and it doesn’t work out for them, and I feel for that work. It’s a huge investment.

Sooo…where am I going with this? Yes, Maggie and solids. Not ready yet, not happening, and that’s cool. We’re in no rush; we’ll try here and there to introduce more solids but when the time comes to wean from nursing it will be Maggie’s decision. And really, I’m okay with that being a very, very long time from now.

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