Every now and then I will do something that makes me look over my shoulder for the Mommy police. So, in case she is on my trail and about to close in, I will make a full confession now…
This week, I will start breast feeding Buttercup, who is 7 months old, just twice a day. The other two milk feedings will be formula from a bottle. I don’t have a medical excuse and Buttercup doesn’t have trouble breast feeding. I will do it simply because it is more convenient.
The Mommy Policewoman is taking notes in her little spiral notebook, looking up at me with suspicious eyes, so let me explain.
I know breast milk is great for your baby. I know that my Mom’s generation, when all the doctors told all the Moms to use formula instead of breast feeding, they were completely nuts. I know I bond with my baby when I hold her tight and she snuggles against my body and she fills her belly with the most nutritious liquid on earth.
But, officer, let me give you my defense.
It is more convenient because I work in the mornings and the morning pumping requires cleaning and parts all over the counter. And, if the day care could feed her the mid-morning and mid-afternoon bottles, our afternoons would be simpler. I would have extra time for me to do things around the house and fewer times when we have to go home first to feed Buttercup instead of Buttercup, Sparkles and me going to the park or Children’s Museum or play date. On the weekends, Blue Eyes and I can be more flexible in getting things done and having fun if we are using bottles in the middle of the day. And I can wear a dress again. (Have you ever tried to nurse in a dress? I accidentally took Buttercup to a funeral wearing a dress and realized at the last minute I needed to nurse. Oh, no.)
But, the officer says, don’t you know that breast milk is better for your baby? What are you going to do next, stick her finger in an electric outlet?
I think about this one. How can I knowingly, willingly, purposefully, give my baby food that is less good for her?
Well, let me tell you how.
There are a lot of things I could do for my baby and I don’t think being a Mom is about creating the longest list possible of things that I do for my baby. I could quit my job and stop writing, so I could spend all of my time with her. I could teach her with flash cards and take her to gymnastics, so she could be smart and strong. I could tell her I love her a thousand times a day instead of just ten, so she would know for sure that I love her. When she is napping, I could read all the baby books ever written, so I don’t miss out on learning about new things I could do for my baby.
That isn’t what being a Mom is about.
For me, being a Mom is about living with the feeling and attitude and presence that I want to teach her. I want to teach her that there is enough time to get done what needs to get done. I want to teach her that there is more joy than struggle in almost every day. When she wakes up from her nap, I want her first feeling to be hopeful and happy, expecting good things to happen.
I can live that better and teach her that better if I keep my world simpler and breast feeding just twice a day is part of that for me.
I had given up the morning pumping a few weeks ago and while on this business trip now, I didn’t pump in mid-afternoon either. Tomorrow I get home and I’ll be feeding just twice a day. I will treasure and appreciate these times with her. I will tell her that I love her. I will tell her that life is good and she has so much to look forward too.
The officer puts her notebook away. She understands now. She smiles and walks away.