Having made it to the 4-month mark breastfeeding Mylo, I made the decision last weekend to start weaning him onto formula feeding. I know it's not as long as a lot of mums choose to breastfeed their babies, but the time was right for me. And when I thought I might not make it past the 6-week mark to start with, I do feel a small sense of achievement at having lasted this long. It's about as long as I fed Noah, so they have both had a good start.
Mylo's sleep had gone a bit downhill of late, only sleeping 45 minutes at a time during the day for about the last month, and he had started to have the odd night where I was up feeding him 3 times at around 11pm, 2am and 4am. I'd be lying if I said his sleep wasn't a factor that contributed to my decision. Last week, as the number of bottles he had increased, he had several longer day sleeps (coincidence?!) for the first time since before Christmas, so I'm hoping that eventually it will have a positive impact on his nights as well. I'm not asking him to sleep through the night like his older brother who was already sleeping 10-12 hours straight through most nights by now, but even a getting a more regular 8-hour stint till say 3am would be very welcome! When I look back on how well Noah slept through the night from such an early age, I am kicking myself that I didn't appreciate it more at the time....aah the beauty of hindsight!
One of the other advantages of Mylo being fully bottle fed is the extra freedom for us as parents to share the responsibilities between the boys, where up until now Mark has had the lion's share of looking after Noah taking him out and about on weekends, whilst I have mostly remained at home with Mylo. It felt like a real thrill when I took a turn and went to the supermarket for our weekly shop with Noah on Saturday morning.....the first time since Mylo was born. I took Noah to the zoo early Monday morning (long weekend in Welly) for a sneak peek behind the scenes at the new animal hospital, meeting up with his daycare friends Phoebe and Sam. Later that day, we went to the movies together, just the two of us, to watch Alvin and the Chipmunks. I loved spending this one-on-one time with Noah, really loved it. That's not to say I expect to be able to do it all the time, but to have the choice felt SO liberating.
I will say that I am grateful that I could breastfeed for as long as I did, because I know many mums aren't able to at all. So I do feel privileged to have been in the position to choose to continue or not, and I'm really glad I persevered with it past the 6-week mark when 4 months seemed like a very unreachable milestone. But now the decision is made, it is time to move on and focus on what is next around the corner.... which is likely to be when to start Mr. M on solids.
I have come to realise that parenting really is just one decision after another, some easier than others! Another decision we made a couple of weeks ago was to encourage Noah to try going through the night with no nappy. After buying a mattress protector and having a couple of accidents whilst wearing undies to bed the first 2 nights, we then tried a pull-up for a couple of nights rather than a nappy, and Mark also started taking him to the toilet at around 10pm before he himself went to bed. We are up to about a week of dry nights in undies now, with Noah's reward for his efforts being the 'Monsters vs. Aliens' DVD after he had two dry nights in a row. It came with a bonus movie to watch in 3-D with 4 sets of glasses...Noah showing off his 3-D look below!
Making decisions is never easy, especially as a parent, when your decision not only impacts on you, but also on your child, partner and sometimes even other members of the family. But once you have made a decision, you just have to have confidence in yourself that it is right. Some decisions may later prove to be wrong, in which case there's a chance to reflect and either reverse the decision, adjust it, or simply learn from the mistake, all of which is a valuable process for us mums and dads to go through. And in the event we get a decision right, whether through sheer luck, careful consideration or otherwise, we need to be humble enough to realise that this will not always be the case, and therefore not get too over confident that we have this parenting lark downpat! That's truly the beauty of parenthood....we learn as we go, and the learning never ends!