It’s a busy time of year. Thanksgiving, Hannukah, Christmas, New Year’s… we all have a lot going on and there seems to be so much to do. It can be tricky to get through all of the lists: the shopping list, the gift list and of course, the never-ending to-do list. What’s the first thing on the list?
Feed the baby, of course!
It can be easy to forget about the needs of a little one, unless they work hard to make themselves heard. There is even something called vacation weaning or holiday weaning, when a baby or toddler is weaned from the breast simply through the busy-ness of a vacation and being away from the family’s usual routine.
Although my first was a high-need baby, my subsequent children have been very content to hang around in the sling, watch the world go by and grin at passers-by. It would have been very easy to forget that they needed to be fed if I hadn’t reminded myself or had overly full breasts to remind me. If I’d somehow forgotten to sit down and nurse, my baby would usually spend more time at the breast in the night. I didn’t mind– it was a nice time to reconnect… and after a few days of this it became clear that I needed to slow down my pace! I was too tired to carry on!
In this way, not only is our nursing relationship with our babies a useful way to insert rest breaks into the day, it is also a pacemaker for our lives. The imperative of meeting the baby’s needs means that our lives must slow down to match their pace. We can’t spend hours shopping or wrapping presents without slowing down a bit, taking a break, finding a comfortable chair, or nodding off for a power nap. Babies don’t have to-do lists, or if they do, they’re pretty basic: “1. Feed, 2. Sleep, 3. Feed, 4. Poop, 5. Feed, 6. Cuddle.”
They don’t have our worries and anxieties about whether Aunt Sheila will like the sweater I bought her or whether the in-laws will start bickering over Christmas breakfast. Their needs are basic, and meeting those needs in a time of busyness can be a joy rather than a chore. ”Oh, you want me to get everyone another round of drinks? Sorry, I’ve got to feed the baby.” “You’d like me to take you shopping for the grandkids’ presents? Sorry, I have to feed the baby.” ”You want me to sieve the gravy? Sorry, the baby needs to be fed!” Even if you would normally stay downstairs to feed the baby, at this time of year when houses are full of visitors and our lives are full of tasks, what a gift it can be to sneak upstairs and cuddle with the baby. Lying in the quiet with my little one nuzzled into me, I can hear the goings-on downstairs… the older children playing with their toys, perhaps having a disagreement over whose turn it is; the adults talking animatedly and then breaking into laughter; the clink of glasses and dishes; steam and heat rising from the kitchen as the meal is prepared. Meanwhile, the baby and I are safe in our cozy nest, just the two of us, enjoying being number one on each others’ lists.
About Lisa Hassan Scott
Lisa Hassan Scott is a stay at home mother of three little ones, age 2, 6 and 9. An American living in Great Britain for over 15 years, Lisa is a Yoga teacher certified by the British Wheel of Yoga, and a La Leche League Leader. She blogs about mothering, breastfeeding, Yoga and the mind at http://www.lisahassanscott.co.uk. Follow her on Twitter: @lisahassanscott