August’s Breastfeeding Carnival – “Leaving Ava for the first time”

Welcome, Breastfeeding Carnival readers. This month’s topic is “Learning to Let Go” and refers to letting other people care for our nurslings. After you finish reading my post, I hope you will stop by the other blogs mentioned below to read their stories as well. Thanks!

The first time my husband Jody and I both tried to leave Ava for an evening was when she was nearly 6 months old. The company Jody worked for was having a formal Christmas party and the idea of a night out among adults after 6 months of staying at home with a little one got me a wee bit excited. Up until this point, the only person she’d stayed with besides me was Jody and that was only for short amounts of time.

Because we had no family in the area, we made tentative plans for Ava to stay at our friends’ house, which was, very conveniently, less than five minutes away from the restaurant where the party was to take place. These friends had a son who was 7 months older than Ava. They were/are a very AP (attachment parenting)-friendly family and I had no qualms about their ability to provide Ava with loving care in our absence.

Because Ava had never had a bottle (and had yet to start on solid foods), I was a bit worried about what would happen if she got hungry. However, since the place we were going was so close by, the plan was that I would feed her when we would dropped her off, then we’d sneak over to the party for an hour or two and I would come back to nurse her if need be, and then go back to the party. It sounds fool-proof, right?

Jody and I were dressed to the nines, so excited about an evening out among adults, when we dropped Ava off. Ava was very familiar with our friends and we felt confident that she would do OK with them for the evening. She was doing fine right before we left, but now that I look back at this picture of her and my friend, she seems to have a look in her eyes like – “hey mom, what’s going on?”

Ava with her first babysitter 12/10/04

We got back in our car, which suddenly felt very empty without a little person in the backseat, and drove to the party. We were there for about 10 minutes when Jody’s cell phone rang. As soon as I answered, I could hear Ava crying in the background. 🙁

My friend told me she was fine physically, but was very distraught about the fact that mommy and daddy were MIA. My heart crumbled. I felt torn because although I really wanted to stay at the party, I knew my girl needed me. We agreed that they’d give it five more minutes to see if she calmed down and if not, I’d head back over there. Five minutes later, the phone rang. I grabbed my purse and headed back to their house.

Ava was a mess of tears when I arrived and took her into my arms. Poor girl. I felt horrible – both that she was so distraught without me and that my friends had to listen to her crying while they held her, unable to do anything to make her feel better.

Nearly immediately, I put her to my breast. Her body relaxed and the cries stopped. Instant comfort.

There was no way I could try to leave her again that night, so I took her back to the party with me. Unfortunately because my usual happy-as-a-clam little girl had already had such a traumatic time being away from mommy and daddy, she was on edge as when we went into the restaurant. Many coworkers approached us wanting to say hi and Ava lost it. 🙁 I took her to the car where we hung out for a while as she nursed and slept, while Jody wrapped things up at the party. Then we all headed home.

The evening didn’t go at all as planned, but my priority was always my girl. More parties and evenings out would come along, but I would only have one chance at developing a secure attachment with my child. I think I made the right choice and would do it again in a heartbeat.

Here are the other people participating in this month’s carnival (the list will be updated throughout the day):

Best Shot Monday – 8/20/07

Ava’s been enjoying one morning a week of summer camp at a local farm for the past three months. Last Tuesday was her last day. Parents were invited to come early to watch the kids wear their newly-created “memory” hats (to help them remember what they learned at the farm all summer) and sing some of the songs they learned like “Hermie the Worm” and “Baa baa black sheep.” Jody worked from home that morning so we could all go. It was pretty cute. 🙂

Here’s Ava waiting for the singing to start, before she ditched her hat. (I couldn’t decide between the color and the b/w, so I’m sharing them both.)

Ava’s last day at farm summer camp 8/14/07 Ava’s last day at farm summer camp (b&w) 8/14/07

You can see more of Best Shot Monday by heading over to Picture This.

Please feel free to sign Mister Linky below if you participated in Best Shot Monday! 🙂