I have now been doing one feeding a day for Ira for a little over a week. Some of the feedings have been a little challenging, but overall the project is going well. I have a much better understanding on my son’s feeding patterns. I am sometimes deciding when he is hungry and when he is done, and that makes me a more competent and confident parent.

I also get to spend a little more time with Ira. Since I’m doing one feeding a day there is a time built in every day just for me and Ira. I spend other time with him during the day, but it is good to have this guaranteed time. It’s also good to have some time that I can just focus on Ira and not have my attention pulled by other things at the same time. And as Lyn mentioned in her post, she is able to get a little more sleep (which was one of my primary motivations for this project).

During one early morning feeding a few days ago, I realized that I could have let Lyn participate in the nighttime feedings more during our last go-round. Feeding a baby a bottle is a more of a hassle than nursing, but it’s not that much more of a hassle, and it’s considerably less hassle than strapping on a supplemental nurser (which I’m no longer having to do at night). It’s also considerably less hassle than pumping five times a day and taking medications and herbs four times a day (note to self: you forgot to take not one, but two, doses today!).

What I’m saying is that last time I could have asked more of Lyn in terms of nighttime care; she did do some, but I could have moved over and shared more of the struggles with her. We shared in Leigh’s care at night much less than either of us would have liked, and I thought the reason was that it would just have been more trouble than it was worth for Lyn to do lots of bottles at night. Instead it turns out that the reason for our nighttime inequity was not biology as I had assumed. It was my inability (or unwillingness) to think flexibly and creatively and to share some of the really tough work with Lyn.

Now you might be asking yourself why on earth I would be unwilling to share the really tough work. After all, Lyn was Leigh’s primary caregiver for a number of months while I worked full time. I was obviously willing to share the mothering spotlight. Maybe in part that’s why I was so hesitant to share the hard and lonely work of nighttime parenting. Perhaps doing that work was a way to prove to myself that I really was the mother and not just one of a pair. I think it was my way of hanging on to primacy. I thought that I was willing to share mothering, and in most ways I did. But maybe I was hanging onto my superior position as bio-mom without even realizing it.

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