As mama returned to work part-time at the beginning of May and I am a work-at-home papa, I have to troubleshoot when Anjali clearly just needs mama. Many people figure that so long as I have a bottle or spoon, Anjali will get what she desires. Well, yes, she loves mama's milk...but there are times, even when she's hungry, that slurping the milk isn't really cutting it. It's not just about the milk! She needs that closeness, the skin-to-skin contact, the eye exchanges (mama's eyes specifically), mama's smile, mama's scent, mama's heartbeat, etc...And most importantly mama's love.
When Anjali is crying and not wanting milk, I give her Sofie, the giraffe teether, to suck and gnaw on. One time, I sat with her on the glider chair and held her sideways, as if nursing, and let her suck on my finger. That's about as close to nursing as I can get.
But Anjali cannot yet rationalize where mama is or when she is returning. Of course I have my own special relationship with my daughter that I cherish - I'm not knocking myself. I give her as much comfort as possible...And as I have all of these tools in my troubleshooting belt (and always learning and finding more), our days have gotten better and better with minimal crying.
Grateful as we are that mama only has to work part-time, we do curse our country for it's double-standards when it comes to family. It's all about 'family values', but there's no support when it comes to the need for mother and child to be together in the first year. There should be more support than a 3, 6 or 12 week leave from work, period. I suppose if I knew my extra tax dollars were actually going toward such a thing I would gladly pay more, as in other countries. But usually such changes require a cultural and/or national change in mindset first.