My baby is eating!

We decided that it was time. Our baby is one week short of the recommended six months, but she’s ready for food. She has been trying to grab our glasses and utensils for a while. She can’t quite sit by herself yet, but she’s not floppy in her highchair anymore. She can support her head easily. And lately, I have had the feeling that she is not completely satisfied after a feed. She seems grumpy and she always seems hungry. So this morning she had her first taste of cereal.

To be fair, she also had banana three days ago when she pretty much lunged onto Zak’s snack. We let her have a few pieces. The guidelines are much more relaxed now than even three years ago when it comes to feeding. The community health nurses no longer recommend preparing purees at all, simply mashing soft foods. But cereal is still important because it has iron, and apparently that’s what is missing in a baby’s diet after 6 months.

It’s weird, though. I mean, I will never again produce as much milk as I do now. Which should make me happy, since I sometimes feel like a cow. But knowing that I am raising my last baby, I keep going through all of these nostalgic stages of “it’s the last time that…” I’ve already been through the “it’s the last time I have a newborn” stage. Now I’m done with having an exclusively breastfed baby. It’s good. It’s a step forward. But it’s also another tiny loss. Because as strange as it may sound to those who have never breastfed a baby, it is oddly satisfying to know that another human being, albeit a tiny one, receives its entire nourishment from you. Neither of my babies have had to have formula supplements. They relied on me, exclusively, for a year (collectively). Have you ever seen those T-shirts: “I make milk, what’s YOUR superpower”? Well, without calling it a superpower, it is definitely special. And when it works well, it can make you feel really good, and really important in the life of your little one.

Of course, I’m not done with breastfeeding. If my baby and my body will let me, I intend to keep at it for at least another 18 months. But it will gradually become less and less important in my baby’s diet, and more of a bonding and comforting ritual than a feeding relationship. I’ll miss it. I think. We’ll see.

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