Finally, the time I had waited for since I went back to work at the end of August had arrived: Christmas vacation! When I got home from work on the 23rd, I popped the bottles of expressed milk in the fridge, washed the pump parts and bottles from daycare and stowed them all away until after New Year's Eve!
I've heard many mothers describe feeling "touched out" by breastfeeding their babies, but I have yet to experience that. Sometimes I do wish for a little alone time (like for a long nap), but I've never felt like I didn't want to breastfeed my son when he needs to nurse. I do, however, feel "pumped out" – sick of pumping. Sick of the synthetic suction of the plastic flange instead of the natural suckle of my baby. Sick of washing the pump parts and bottles. The prospect of ten days of nursing my baby without the need to pump seemed like utopia.
As we headed out to a few family Christmas parties, I realized how much easier it was to pack the diaper bag and my own bag when Joshua's food was traveling inside my body instead of neatly labeled bottles. There was no need to measure, mix or wait for milk to warm when Joshua got hungry on-the-go. When Joshua started to get cranky while opening presents at my in-laws' home, I didn't need to get up or leave the room – I just nursed him right there. I didn't have to miss out on any of the fun of the holidays or be stressed out by feeding my baby. What a delight! Breastfeeding in combination with baby-led solids meant that I didn't even have to pack any food, since Joshua could sample from my plate.
A blizzard hit New England on the day after Christmas. We were snowed in for two days and while we didn't end up losing power, many people in our area did. If I had been pumping exclusively, I would have been in trouble. Since we have a well, when the power goes out so does our water. If I had been relying on formula to feed Joshua, I would have been in trouble. I found myself contemplating these emergency scenarios as I nursed Joshua, snuggled up under a blanket while the blizzard raged on outside our window.
That week I received the gift of time with my child, and for that I am truly thankful.