Patience and Peace

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Patience is one of the keys to my inner peace. Sometimes I have it, sometimes I don’t.

Baby’s eating habits are testing my patience lately. She’s become quite expert at eating, but when she doesn’t want a certain food, she sends it flying. This morning after the pear made its way over the edge of the tray one too many times I lost it. No, I didn’t start screaming. I entered the “I do not like this! Stop!!!” mental zone. I told her I didn’t want her to do that any more. And after a number of food offers were met with rejection, I took her out of the chair and ended that eating session.

Later today, out with the family, I fed her in the back of the car. All was going well. She was devouring a plum. Then the last juicy bits went flying left and right. I tried quinoa. She enjoyed it, then shoved her hands into the container. Quinoa on her, the seat, the floor. Quinoa everywhere. I lost it yet again. Messy car, messy girl, mess mess mess!! I can’t stand it!!!

Some breathing and husband intervention later, all was well.

My lessons: First, realize that some things are not okay with me (flying food once she reaches the age of one) so consider what parenting approaches I might try while realizing that I have no idea what is reasonable developmentally. Second, step back, get some perspective and try some more patience. She’s come a long way in terms of eating mess. Just enjoy the incredibly adorable angel in front of me.

Sometimes, patience and acceptance are rewarded and bring peace. We ran out of donor milk a few weeks ago (excluding a few bags kept frozen just in case). I took advantage of this to try the elimination diet for her eczema. I was disappointed that our milk supply dried up, but accepted that we were lucky for what we had received and that making formula for her was simply what we had to do for the next year or so. I knew that I had to wait out this stage of her development and do what she needed. And it’s been a fair bit more work for us (most of which my husband has done) with mixing the formula every day and getting up more often at night to warm bottles. Of course, the donated breast milk was more work for the mothers on the other end, something I’m always aware of.

And then a few days ago, I got an email from a woman in town who had, in her words, a huge amount of frozen milk and was looking for someone who could use it. She generously answered all my incredibly personal health and diet and lifestyle questions, and we went to pick it up today. It comes to about 2 coolers full, and that’s excluding the two months of pumped milk she kept just in case her daughter can use it. We can now settle into another couple of months of donor milk, knowing we can make formula for her if and when we need to. A big, big reprieve, a reward to patience.

Incidentally, I’ve been advised via a chain of connection that babies can have allergic reactions to donor milk because of the foreign proteins and that this could be the cause of her eczema. I recognize and acknowledge this, and don’t know the full extent of the impact it could have. At this point I am back to saying, I wish wish wish I could make more milk. And we’re just going to make the best choices we can for her, based on the information we have. And I’m going to recommit to doing what I can to retain my existing breastmilk. That’s going to involve drinking more water, eating more galactogogues, and following a few other dietary guidelines. I don’t know if this might improve my supply, but I hope it maintains it.

And again: why is breast feeding for several years so important to me? Many women in this country are satisfied with a year. I think for me, in addition to knowing all the health and emotional benefits of extended breast feeding, I think about my little girl and her sleepy, wide-open mouth when she wakes up and wants to nurse. Or how she nestles into me when she’s tired and wants some mama time. She is so innocent and trusting; I want to keep giving her this lovely thing she asks for, as long as I can and as long as she wants it.

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