Today, I finally allowed myself to take a break away from my 10.5 week old little Oliver to hang out with friends. I went downtown for Laughfest in Grand Rapids to watch Sinbad's comedy act. I was away for a total of SEVEN HOURS! Seven FULL hours! This was the first real separation we have ever experienced. I have been breastfeeding him 100% of the time with the exception of maybe five or six (breastmilk) bottles total. That means I am always with him, pretty much every two hours of the day to feed him. I was a little nervous being away for an extended period of time because I had to make time to pump and maintain a regular schedule for "milk-expression". I was really anxious about leaving him during his feedings. I did not know how it was going to work out. I ended up being super prepared and followed a strict schedule.
- I nursed him right before dropping him off to my moms.
- I pumped on the way to the event.
- We ended up eating and having a drink at a couple bars downtown first.
- Before the show, I went to my car and pumped.
- On my way home, after the show, I also pumped.
When I returned home, my son had only drank 6 ounces.... I PUMPED 11 ounces! That is what I call SUCCESS! And my pumping schedule compared to his feeding schedule was exactly coordinated so I was prepared to feed him at his next feeding. Awesome! I have to practice this extended hours of separation a couple more times before I go back to work full time. One of my biggest fears is losing the ability to breastfeed my son before he reaches one year. I do not want work messing that up. As of now, my husband and I only plan to have two children. That means that this is supposed to be my last child. (I say supposed to be... because you never know what the future holds.) Regardless, I am keeping my goal!
Not only was I nervous about creating problems with breastfeeding, but I was also nervous because I find it hard to trust anyone. My mom is about the only person I trust right now to watch my son. I don't want him to have any food except for breastmilk and I don't trust anybody else to follow that rule. That rule means he is not allowed to have just a taste of any food... whipped cream, mashed potatoes, regular milk, juice, pop... nothing. No formula. JUST breastmilk because he is only 10.5 weeks old and does not need anything else. I have a new goal with this second baby to only give him breastmilk for the first six months. No tastes of any food until he reaches six months of age. I asked his doctor and she said that was a perfectly normal and healthy thing to do.
The trust issue is also because I am scared someone else will do something to hurt him accidentally. They may be perfectly capable to babysit but I am paranoid because he is so little. As soon as he reaches three months old on April 1, I will try my best to relax a bit more and allow him to be babysat. I need mental preparation in order to go back to work and not worrying 100% of the time. Sounds impossible but I did fine today while he was with my mom. Anyone else and I just might have a panic attack.
Anyways-- our seven hour separation was wonderfully refreshing. It was also a really nice feeling to hold him when I got back home. His big sister was helping take care of him the entire time we were away. She helped feed him and keep the milk off his face and clothing. So far, it has been very relieving that she genuinely loves caring for him and playing the role of big sister. I hope she keeps up the compassion and love for him for a lonnngg time! *My fingers are crossed so that jealousy doesn't kick in anytime soon!!*