It’s been a big week in the life of a Little Missy. She’s been happy to stand up and cruise around the furniture ever since we were in New Zealand then, two weeks ago, just shy of 11½ months, she took off. Starting with little unsteady forays in the sitting room, she started to walk on her own, chortling with pleasure, arms windmilling by her sides as she tried to balance and master this new means of locomotion.
Last Monday we had to take a trip to Cork to buy her first pair of real shoes and, although she made me look like a pushy Mama, refusing to walk in the shop despite an audience of six (two aunts, one honorary aunt, two shop assistants and myself) watching on, she’s been loving the new freedom, especially outside, that the shoes give her. And what’s that all got to do with food? This momentous shoe purchase just happened to coincide with the end of breastfeeding, and a corresponding new freedom for me.
After being allowed plenty of feeds while travelling in New Zealand and Vietnam, especially on the 11 flights we took over the six weeks we were away – justification: if we were going to make life easier for ourselves while travelling, there had to be a little give in the (always loose) feeding schedule – it was rapidly down to four a day when we returned to Ireland. Straight off, I took the opportunity to kick the unnecessary middle of the night feed that had crept in while we were away from home and teeth were coming through. Wailing baby in the middle of the night when you’re staying in someone else’s house? A feed is obviously the easiest way of calming and quieting things, giving her the idea that 3am wake ups were a really good idea. She got a sudden shock when we were back within our own four walls but, luckily enough, adjusted quickly.
Gradually I dropped the other feeds during the day, just sticking to the one first thing in the morning while it was still dark and cold. Although LM does sleep through the night now (dating from just two days after returning home – no jet lag for her!), we’re woken by a dadada, gradually increasing in crescendo and fury, any time from 6am onwards. With no central heating at the cottage, in the cold days of February and early March, I fed while the Husband went and lit the fire. Ice on the inside of the window panes will do that to you. Only when it was cosy warm would LM and I deign to grace downstairs with our presence.
Then, one morning last week, I decided to give her breakfast at the table instead of a feed in bed. And that, quite simply, was that. Or should be. Although a hearty grubber in every other way, she refuses to drink milk from a bottle, cup or sippy cup. After being worried for a while and thinking that I was going to be stuck breastfeeding until she reached the age of reason, I saw sense and decided to incorporate milk into her meals. She also eats plenty of cheese and natural yoghurt and gets offered milk regularly – I’m hoping someday she’s just going to decide to take it.
So, new shoes firmly on her little feet, Little Missy has her independence from Mama and Mama – after nine months carrying and almost a year feeding her – is finally feeling like a separate person again. A momentous occasion? I think so. Watch out world, here we come!