When we transitioned from bed-sharing to crib sleeping, I was riddled with guilt. Since we follow a lot of attachment parenting principles, bed-sharing was something I pictured us doing for a long time. It became clear to me, however, that I was not getting better sleep when Lu slept with us. In fact, I wasn't sleeping. At all. Papabear was sleeping, Lu was sleeping, but I wasn't. So we decided to try sleeping in our guest room to see how Lu did without us. She did wonderfully, waking only once a night, some nights sleeping till early morning.
I love breastfeeding. But the last couple of months during our bed-sharing period I began to resent breastfeeding. I was so frustrated with my lack of sleep that I couldn't treasure this relationship. Then we made the switch to crib sleeping. Lu would wake once or twice in the night and I was still resenting having to nurse her. We are against crying it out, so we decided to either nurse or rock Lu to sleep whenever she woke up. Most of the time, I have to nurse her to sleep. I found myself rushing during those night feedings. Trying to get her back into her crib as quickly as possible, even if she wasn't ready. She would fully wake up as soon as I laid her down, and the process would repeat over and over. I was not enjoying this at all.
Finally, I decided to surrender. I put out of my mind all expectations that I had, or I had heard, about how much sleep she should be getting, and let go. I made a conscious decision to take a deep breath every night before I walk in to nurse Lu back to sleep. To release all my expectations of the evening and just be. No matter the time of night.
That first night after my surrender was peaceful. Lu didn't even fully wake to eat. She nursed for a short time, then I laid her back down and knew that she felt safe and loved. I didn't look at the clock, I didn't rush. I enjoyed her.
Breastfeeding is full of surrender. Surrender to your little one's hunger and needs. Surrender to your little one's schedule (which is more often than not different than our own). Surrender to less sleep. Surrender to a messy house. Surrender to a quieter, slower pace of life.
I'm willing to surrender, because I've been through this before. I know that it's gone in the blink of an eye. I see Z, almost four, doing as much of life as she can by herself, because she's "bigger", and I remember the days when she was nursing contentedly at my breast. It went by so quickly.
And so for now, I will surrender.
|photo by Z|
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