Thursday, August 26, 2010


Look at his first tooth in this picture!

I just went back and watched the videos of when Baby Max was born. Wow, things have changed!

I was especially surprised to watch the video of 1 week postpartum to see how pregnant I looked. My belly was hanging out of the bottom of my shirt. How funny! I was huge!

The most special memory I have with my son so far is breast feeding for the first time. Everyone kept saying that breast feeding was so hard. But I didn't understand why or how it could be so difficult. Max came out ready to suck and made my job easy.

I think the reason it was so special to breast feed him was because it made everything so real. We put him up to the boob and he knew exactly what to do. It was probably the most pure and natural moment after giving birth. I stared at him the whole time. It was so amazing to see how he opened his mouth and started sucking. He seemed very happy there and I loved having him on me.

At that point my milk hadn't come in yet and I knew he was getting colostrum that he needed to clean out his digestive tract. The funny thing about colostrum is that it is clear and watery so you don't feel like you are feeding your child. It was more of a time to be close and get to know each other. My heart goes out to mommies and babies who are unable to breast feed because the bonding is so special.

But now that I have breast fed Max for the past 6 months, I understand why people say it is hard. It has nothing to do with putting your boob in a baby's mouth. That's the easy part for most. Of course there are always exceptions to the rule when there are health disorders and latch problems. But the actual act of feeding is quite easy. Especially with all the special pillows such as the boppy and the breast friend.

The reason people say breast feeding is hard is because you don't get to retreat away from your child and there is almost no opportunity to be selfish. For most of us that have only had to worry about taking care of ourselves for the past 30+ years, it is a huge lifestyle change. Newborns have to eat every hour or two, and that is the breast feeding mother's job. Point blank. You are the only one there to do that job.

So you might not think that sounds like a big deal, but when it comes down to not being able to sleep more than 3 hours in a row or just run off to run a quick errand, you start to realize how hard it can be. That's why you really need to look to your "village" for help with things like cooking and cleaning.

When I think about being attached to my son for the first 3 months of his life, it sounds easy and natural. But when you're living it and haven't been able to skip off to a yoga class or a retreat to the movies or anywhere at all by yourself for several months, you can see why many people quickly give up on breast feeding.

But if you hang in there past the first 3 or 4 months when sleep deprivation is at its worst, breast feeding becomes a miracle. Any time your baby is sick or fussy, you can always soothe by nursing. I've heard that many mothers regret that they quit nursing as soon as their baby is sick. It's too bad that moms will quit nursing and let their milk dry up when all they needed was help. It's a good feeling to know that I was able to nurse Max half the night before he got his first tooth. He must have been in so much pain and it's nice to know that I was able to bring him some relief.

My favorite thing about breast feeding is that I don't have to pack formula and bottles everywhere I go. Babies need enough these days between diapers, wipes, carseats, change of outfits, etc. The last thing I want to have to do on top of that is make bottles. And since I am not making bottles, I am not cleaning bottles. And you know the last thing I want to deal with is cleaning anything I don't have to.

Now that Max has begun eating solid foods, I am not the only one capable of feeding him anymore. So a breast feeding mother is only 100% in charge of feedings for 6 months. Then it is possible to share that responsibility with others. Just because breast feeding is so consuming in the beginning doesn't mean it will stay that way. It just gets easier and easier.

I'm starting to sound like a lactation consultant, huh! I wish all mothers could share this bond with their babies. My most special moments with Max are revolved around nursing when we stare into each other's eyes. He knows I am nourishing him and always there to fill his needs. And I know I'm doing a good job because he's getting heavy!

We went to the pediatrician yesterday. Max weighs a little under 17 lbs. I think he actually lost a tiny bit of weight this past week. He is so active these days and always reaching out and scooting towards his toys. He's burning tons of calories with all this action. He went down to the 25th percentile in weight and is in the 75th percentile for height.

We just started giving him brown rice cereal yesterday, so he'll probably pack some weight back on really fast. I barely gave him any these past 2 days, but we'll increase that very soon. After hearing too many nightmare stories about babies being constipated, I've started slow with the food.

Going to the park is one of my favorite things to do with Max. We love being together and we love being outside. I love being his mom and it is so beautiful to reflect on our journey together, thus far.

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