Welcome, Carnival of Breastfeeding readers. I am pleased to join Tanya and others contributing the Motherwear Breastfeeding Blog Carnival. After you read my post check out those written by others.
It took a few months before Tim and I went on a date after Sara Ellen came into our lives. I used a breastpump a couple times but the results never really interested her so my time out with Tim waited until I felt comfortable with her happiness and nutrition. Amazingly, this was probably not until her sixth month! That night, I wasn’t feeling guilty as we drove away, but I was missing her, just wanting her to be ok.
Sara Ellen is now 20 months old and has never passed a night without me. Some hours in her first week were spent in the hospital nursery, but since then, most of our sleeping has been spent together. Granted we have recently purchased a bed, hoping that our child will [soon] learn to sleep in it by herself, but generally I love having my baby secure with me at night.
There are certainly times when I’d like her to fall asleep in someone else’s company. The thing is, she usually nurses to sleep, the calming and lulling effects are great. Often if I am also tired we can fall asleep together, but this doesn’t always happen, I am more tired than she. If she is really tired, she might fall asleep on someone else’s shoulder while walking or rocking. It can be very wearing to stay up with her till 11pm because she got up, then napped late and just won’t be convinced to sleep.
Over time I accepted or grew comfortable leaving Sara Ellen with others. In the hospital she went with nurses for extra care. After coming home and with some bolstering by my husband and mother, I made a trip out, just to the grocery store. Then a week or more later, I left tiny, sleeping Sara Ellen with her father and grandmother while I went to the grocery store with my sister. I hurried home, but it was great to have that time with my sister. Nowadays, if I really need a break I can make sure she is happy with someone she loves and run away for a bit, coming back when I’ve had my “me” time.
Besides Sara Ellen’s father, my mother and sister do most of the baby-watching while I am away. Tim’s parents and his sister also hang out with Sara Ellen, she has a great time with them. I love that Sara Ellen knows and loves her family. So the next step is seeing if she can spend a night with her grandparents. We’ve thought about having her spend a night with Tim’s parents to see how she does before we try going anywhere overnight. That way we’re close if she isn’t ready. We’re looking forward to having a weekend to ourselves; it’ll happen in time.
Mothering takes a lot of work and moms need a break, but don’t try shoving the mothers you know out the door. The mother/child attachment needs to be respected and given time to gently stretch.