We’re taking our first trip out of the five boroughs next week to Cheese Paradise— the American Cheese Society conference in Madison, Wisconsin.  I’m on a panel and will be taking the Certified Cheese Professional exam, which is fun and exciting, but I’ve yet to be in a situation where I couldn’t nurse on demand.  Because Mike will be watching her during these times and she may very well be hungry, I’ve been pumping here and there to store up breast milk for this growing bean.  For such a cute little nugget, she goes from zero to hangry pretty darn quick, a trait she comes by honestly.

Last night we tried a bottle for the first time, as I’ve heard horror stories about bottle rejection and envisioned myself abandoning questions about short chain fatty acids to rush to a screaming babe, leaving a breadcrumb-esque dairy trail in my wake.

We’d been talking about introducing the bottle for a week now, and last night seemed perfect— all was calm, she was alert and just starting to get hungry, the bottles and accoutrement were washed and sterilized.  I heated up a few ounces of frozen breastmilk, silently thanked years of babysitting experience for improving my bottle-warming skills, and picked up my snuggly bean.  Oh, and promptly started bawling.

I really, really did not want to give her that bottle.  In my head I envisioned our nursing practice falling right to pieces, losing that incredibly precious bond, my milk supply suddenly dropping off.  Of course, that’s ridiculous- we fed her all of an ounce before switching to the breast, and I pumped a couple of ounces after she had had her fill to protect my supply and provide a little more backstock.  Mike and I took turns feeding her with the bottle (using the lowest, slowest nipple made, so as too not initiate flow confusion), and she went along with it all like a champ.  She switched right back to the breast after the bottle and didn’t seem frustrated at all by the flow, and nursing this morning went beautifully, too.

I’m so glad that she’ll happily eat what she needs while I’m unavailable, but I’m still a bit heartsick watching her grow up.  I know that so many babies start on bottles far earlier than she did, but I had incredibly high hopes for and not-insignificant corresponding fears about breastfeeding.  Because I wanted this so badly for us and because it has, in all ways, surpassed every single expectation I could have possibly conjured, I’m beyond protective of the process.

We also started visiting daycares this week, which is its own special kind of torture, and a subject for another day.  I’m beginning to believe that motherhood is not unlike being a Sesame Street martian:

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