Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Healthy Babies

A friend of a friend was struggling with breastfeeding. I don’t remember all the details, but she was a mess about it – as most of us are when trying to figure out how to nourish our babies. Nursing wasn’t working and she had to bottle-feed and was having a lot of guilt. Her turning point came when she was sitting in the baby room at church bottle-feeding. Another mom was nursing and said to her with a loving smile, “Isn’t it wonderful that God gave us more than one way to feed our babies?”

Praise the Lord for that. I love nursing my babies. I love that God has given me that opportunity. But as I said to a friend this morning, I’m tired of complaining about pain. With all my kids I have had this pain on my left side. It isn’t while I nurse, it’s later on. We (doctors, friends, me) think it must be something with my milk ducts when they refill. They’ve done tests, we’ve taken meds - nothing really works. So back in January my OB and I agreed that I would try to suffer through it until at least March to try to get past cold and flu season.

Yesterday I sat and nursed Edwin and gazed at him as you might imagine mommies do (they really do that), and loved every second of it. I soaked in all the goodness of our connection and his growth and how fabulous he is just generally. J

This morning I limped through a solid hours worth of shooting pain and cursed the body that yesterday I’d praised. I’m done, I thought. After talking it over with a friend, I resolved not to nurse off that side ever again. Would I stick to it? I dunno. The big issue of course is, will he take a bottle instead? He has a few times, but usually not without argument. So far it’s almost always been someone else, per the experts.

Lunch time for Eddie came around 12:30. He had just gotten up from his nap and was ready to eat. I warmed some water and got the formula out. 4 ounces of bottle later, I stood in the kitchen and prayed, holding him tight, “Please, Jesus, let this work. Please, Jesus, let this work. Please, Jesus, let this work…” We sat down, and very anti-climatically, he took the bottle. I spoke softly to him the whole time, wanting him to be reassured that this in no way affected our status as mommy and baby. He paused after a minute or two and played for a while, but to my relief continued until it was gone. A good burp or two later, and he was satisfied. As I carried him into the kitchen, he cuddled up to me, seemingly aware of the reassurance that I needed, that this in no way affects our status as mommy and baby.

As I fed him I gazed on him not unlike yesterday. Except this time I saw something different and realized anyone can feed him like this. It means a smoother afternoon for him when I am gone. It means I know exactly how much he’s getting, and maybe he’ll gain weight. It means, well – that a lot is different, really.

And I’m happy. A little sad that he is getting bigger, but for goodness sakes he is so fun right now and hilarious and cute. I love that my big cereal-eating boy has slept a good solid night for the last three, and that he laughs and talks to his sisters like he really knows what’s going on. I’m happy that I can move past nursing without guilt, knowing my baby will be well-fed and healthy. I’m happy that God gives us more than one way to feed our babies.


  1. Love it. As usual, your writing is moving :)

  2. Love this! I always have had to supplement my babies - for milk supply issues, and I always felt so guilty. But it really does come down to the fact that we want healthy happy babies & mommies, and God has provided for us to have ways to feed them to make that happen. You did so good to make it close to six months, and that is way more than many moms do. It is one thing to do your very best (as you have done) and it is another thing to not even try. I commend you for working hard at it, in the very important first few weeks. And now, a bit more freedom - yea! Good job mama!


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