Katie Katie Parsons is the creator of Mumbling Mommy and is a freelance writer, editor and communications specialist. She works from her home office on the east coast of Florida. Most often she writes about life in a combined family of five children and what it's like being a full time work-from-home parent. Feel free to pitch guest post ideas or just drop her a line at katie@mumblingmommy.com.

A lot of us really want to make nursing work.  And fortunately in our case, it works well.  Perhaps it is going a little TOO well.

Halle, embracing some independence

Halle is a little over 8 months old.  She will not take a bottle, and it looks like she may never drink from one. When she was less than two months old, she would take a bottle, then- BAM- she flat out refused.She went to daycare during the two weeks I went back to work (before staying home full time) and every single day refused the bottle for the entire 9 hours she was there.  Our baby-sitter said she literally did not drink an ounce the entire day.  To get Halle some milk, our baby-sitter had to squeeze drops into her mouth.  She truly could not, or would not, suck on bottles.

The refusal probably stems from the fact that we were not consistent with giving them to her once I stayed home.  I am not sure why she refused for our baby-sitter, but I still haven’t converted her to a bottle-liking girl in the months she’s been home with me.  It is so much easier to just go ahead and nurse on demand instead of messing with pumping, especially when she (obviously) preferred the breast. Why would she choose a bottle if mommy is nearby with a milk supply?

Luckily, I really enjoy nursing.  I think most moms who nurse their baby enjoy nursing it for many reasons.  Beyond the health benefits, nursing is a great way to bond with your baby, and plus it is secretly really nice that while I nurse, I get to sit down.  If Max is playing, I can use this time to search the Internet guilt-free (and not worry about dirty dishes or sweeping the floor).  I also love the convenience of nursing.  Halle still wakes at night, so I can stumble half-asleep down the hallway into her room and feed her without the hassle of traipsing down the stairs to the kitchen, turning the lights on and making a bottle.

You may wonder where I am going with this?  Yes, I have mommy-brain but I do have a point, I promise… As of this moment, I am now in full-on operation-drink-from-something-other-than mommy mode.  We have tried numerous bottles with no avail, so have moved on and she seems to enjoy drinking from sippy cups.  I am praying that they will sway her thoughts and make her realize that drinking like a big girl really isn’t that bad.  We’re getting there!!She used to only bite the mouthpiece/nipple (better than mine, she has five teeth now, OUCH!), now she is actually sucking some water out, holding her cup on her own and really seems to enjoy being a little more independent. The recent introduction of food has also piqued her interest, so I think maybe she will soon embrace the idea of drinking more than just a few sips of water and eat more solids (therefore will nurse less).

Because she will be a year old in May, I went ahead and am hoping for the best, and made a commitment to attend the weddings of some dear friends of mine this summer.  After so many months of telling people that I cannot leave my child (for an extended period of time) because she must be fed by me and me alone, I am starting to think people wonder if I am being honest, or just brushing them off and using Halle as the scapegoat. (Maybe some of you I haven’t managed to connect with are reading this and know I am telling you the truth!).  While she is my daughter, and I would do anything for her, I need to give her the gift of independence from me as much as I need to get it for myself.

Just like the other things I do for her consistently, I need to give her the sippy cup every single day.  I have a freezer full of milk that expires in February, so I am thawing out the liquid gold and giving it to her in a sippy cup before it is bad.  I am crossing my fingers that by letting her drink on her own time (better that she thinks it is her idea to take it) and not when she is starving and frustrated, we will get on the path of drinking like a big girl.

With all of this being said, I must take a moment and say that I feel very proud we have nursed exclusively for so long! I am thankful that nursing worked for Halle (I know some people cannot make nursing work for one reason or another).   I never set a specific goal for the length of time I would nurse.  I stopped with Max right around 6 months, as my supply had diminished from being back at work, despite pumping. The fact that I have nursed Halle this long is partly due to being at home with her, and also due to her strong-willed desire for nursing exclusively.  At this point, I could not stop nursing even if I desperately wanted to be finished.

I am so excited she is beginning to embrace the idea of drinking from a sippy cup. While I do not want to wish her babyhood away, I am eager to have a little more freedom to be away from her (and I mean that in the nicest way possible).