I nursed my fourth child for the last time one Saturday morning in April 2016. I had spent quite a few of the previous eight years being pregnant or nursing. I didn’t think much about that morning feeding that day, but at some point later the thought hit me that, whoa, that might be the last time I ever breastfeed a baby (I blame the Brad Paisley song “Last Time for Everything”). You don’t always know when something is the last time. And then a chapter is over.
Or not. I didn’t close off the option and so here I am, a few years later, with a new little one. He has been, by far, my easiest baby to nurse for a simple reason: I never go anywhere.
From January to March, I had some of the old stress of nursing because even though I wasn’t traveling for work, I was trying to time feedings around driving other kids places, and trying to match ounces pumped for ounces given when I would, say, go to church.
Then in March all that ended. I didn’t have to time feedings around anything beyond phone calls, and even then, I could often mute myself and proceed. I kept pumping a bottle a day to keep my supply up, but I just packed it into the freezer because we had no need of bottles. I recorded an audio book in late June that required being gone from the house for 6 hours and I went on an 8-hour fishing expedition in August, and that was the extent of my bottle requirements. For, basically, six months.
Since late summer, this has started to change. The baby has started eating a lot more food, and our childcare is such that I pump a bottle for him mid-day. I went on an overnight trip with my older children in late September and so I pumped around the clock during that one and whoa, that was a reminder of how actually being around the baby is so much more convenient than tethering oneself to a Medela Pump-in-style every few hours. (Though, product endorsement! I have used this same Medela since 2007. I switched out the tubing and pump parts multiple times, but the motor has been fine — I prefer it to the others I’ve tried — and humorously I still have the photo of my now 13-year-old son as a baby in the photo part because all my babies look the same and if anyone saw the photo, they would completely think it is kid #5).
Anyway, absent a pandemic there is no practical way I could have not left the house for months. Whether I was working or not, I would have had plenty of obligations with the other children. So the knowledge that never leaving the house makes breastfeeding far easier is not particularly useful to myself or anyone else. But hey, now I know.
The little guy is growing up fast, as babies do. He’s starting to get distracted during daytime feedings. The world is an interesting place! Lots of things to crawl to and put in your mouth! As he nears his first birthday in December those feedings may go away, but I imagine we’ll keep doing morning and night for a while. I’m still not going many places, so why not? The last time for everything comes eventually, but life brings many possibilities. I’m trying to enjoy looking at my baby’s fat little legs* as he’s curled up in my arms.
*23lbs 9oz at his 9 month pediatrician visit, and at the 94th percentile for BMI. He’s wearing 18 month clothing, just with the pants folded up at the bottom since he’s not the height of an 18 month old child yet!
Photo: Baby caring for a baby