I got a little bit of a lecture today from a friend who was telling me that some people (in her eyes, most people except for me) make sure to make time for friends and put their friends first. They force their babies to be okay with taking a bottle so that they can go out whenever they want. Either the baby takes the bottle or the baby goes hungry, end of story.
How did this all come about? We are a group of four friends who met in university and have kept in touch. We try to get together every so often to catch up and whatnot, but since we live in two (soon to be three) separate cities and we all have different work/school schedules and three of us have babies, things don't always work out.
Getting together with them is always nice, but it's such a headache to go back and forth until we finally agree on a time and place. Basically, as nice as it is, these get-togethers are usually very stressful for various reasons.
So to cut a long story short, we were planning on getting together on Monday this week and then that didn't work out for various reasons. So then it was changed to Wednesday evening - in a different city. First I was made to feel bad by one of them for saying that I can't go because I have to work so that we can put food on the table. Can't I change it? Why no, I can't. It is the night before and the plans still aren't fully finalized. I can't just take off work on a whim. If I go to this play date then I'll be losing out on around $50 - and that's quite a lot.
Then, in speaking with another friend, I happened to mention that anyways I couldn't go because it was too late in the day and would conflict with bedtime. That's when I started getting the lecture on putting myself first and how I made a mistake in not making L.H. take a bottle and how I made a mistake in nursing her to sleep more often than not. "Oh, not to say that your parenting is wrong, or anything." Yeah, right.
I will concede that sometimes having a baby who is tied to you is not the most convenient thing. However, I still wouldn't change the way I have done things. As far as I'm concerned, if a breastfeeding mother has the opportunity (in our case, necessity) to stay home with her child, then there is really no reason to give the baby a bottle. She wants it straight from the source - and I can't blame her. Mind you, for the first 7 months of her life I was still in school and of course I always left bottles for her when I was in class, but mostly she would just drink enough to take the edge off her hunger and wait for me. She clearly was unhappy with bottles so since I wasn't working outside the home I saw no reason to push the issue.
Does this sometimes limit me? Sure, but I think it's in a good way. Yes, it's nice to get out with friends every now and then. But you know what? I'm so tired by the end of the day that I anyways am not interested in going out in the evening. Getting home at 10 is late for me and aside from the fact that N. most decidedly can't give L.H. her bedtime nursing, bedtime is one of those sweet moments of the day that I wouldn't trade for anything.
Sure, I frequently gripe about it and ask N. why he can't just put her to sleep. But then when L.H. and I are laying there side by side and she's snuggling into me or she suddenly pops up on hands and knees to smother my face with kisses - well, those moments are priceless. She will only be this small once. I don't want to just go out and do whatever I feel like doing whenever I feel like doing it because it would be a missed opportunity to have that wonderful quiet time with the babe - the time that allows both of us to sort of de-stress at the end of a long day.
Friends are important - very important - and always will be. But when seeing them comes with so much stress and at such a high (to me) cost - well, I'd rather stay home for cuddles. :)