On Sunday, my baby will celebrate her half-birthday. She will have her first taste of solid food (which will probably be puréed parsnip). This is a big milestone and one which feels bittersweet to me. It is lovely that she is growing and developing but part of me is sad that she will no longer be a little baby.
For six months, my body has provided all her nutritional needs. Whilst I have been frustrated occasionally by the fact that she will only feed directly from the breast and not take a bottle of expressed milk, there is something very beautiful about being the one who provides all her needs in this way. Sitting sleepily in the darkness in the middle of the night, with a baby cuddled up and feeding is such a precious time (although if it happens too often during night hours, it doesn’t always feel that way!)
Jessica weaning was not quite so bittersweet. There was only a very brief period of time when my breastmilk met all her nutritional requirements. Her weight gain wasn’t brilliant so it was debatable whether it really did then. Before she tasted her first solid food at six months, she was mostly fed a combination of mummy milk directly from the breast and high-calorie formula milk by bottle. There was also a period of time when Jessica couldn’t have my milk at all. As her weight gain was slow, weaning was met with the hope that it would give her a few extra calories and help her put on weight more quickly.
It is hard to believe that six months have passed since my baby entered the world. How fast that time has gone! She is rolling, sitting with support and lifting herself up on her hands when on her front in readiness for crawling. I love each little milestone and celebrate it but at the same time feel a little sad that she is growing so quickly. Each little step makes her a tiny bit more independent of me. That is good and how it should be, but it feels a little sad too.
There is a song called ‘Stop, Time’ which puts this feeling beautifully into words:
“Nobody warns you of this parents’ paradox
You want your kid to change and grow
But when he does another child you’ve just begun to know
(From Big, the Musical. Music by David Shire, lyrics by Richard Maltby Jr)
All we can do is enjoy every precious moment; embrace and celebrate the milestones; love the children that they are today and cherish the memories of the babies they once were.