Felix is just over 3 months old, and we are fairly blissed out most of the time. He is a bit of a zen master, this kid, and I think the constant chaos has much to do with his easy-going nature. Also, his every need is anticipated or met, he sleeps in his mother’s arms, and his big brother and sister adore him.
I still have no idea what he weighs, but he is growing and happy and bouncy and bright.
I have been getting lots of questions on how/what to feed babies, so I’m going to just lay out my philosophy here, but I have to point out that the way I look at these issues has a lot to do with my mother who had a uniquely simply approach to a lot of parenting questions (You’re sick? Eat an orange and go have a nap.)
First though, I want to acknowledge that there are exceptions, always. There are mothers and babies who have legitimate challenges, so the following may not apply to some people. This is fine. The following is just my own experience.
How I feed my babies? I nurse them. From the moment they are born, they are breast-fed. I never give them water. I never give them formula. Hasn’t even crossed my mind.
And the first 5 days of breastfeeding is *always* painful for me. Excruciating with my first baby. Horrible with my second. Awful with my third. Ouch with my fourth. Not really so bad, with my fifth.
(I think this is normal. I think this is to be expected. I think we need to tell more mothers that they just have to suck their teeth for that first week, and that we PROMISE that it gets better. And I don’t really think this has much to do with positioning or latch AT ALL. It just so happens that by the time a woman goes and finds a breastfeeding counsellor, to help her with her “latch”, in order to alleviate the pain, it just so happens that she’s already probably 3 days into the breastfeeding experience, and that her “learning how to breastfeed properly” just so happens to co-incide with her body getting used to the experience, and the pain subsiding. I don’t believe in breastfeeding experts. So there.)
No really, I have *never* given my babies formula.
(But what if your baby isn’t gaining weight? Well, I don’t weigh my babies. If they seem happy and with-it. Great. Cedar, my first son, was roly poly. Treva was *tiny*, and grew slowly. People are different).
I have never fed my babies using a bottle. Hasn’t even crossed my mind.
(But what do you do when you go out, if you have to leave your baby with someone else? Well, I just don’t. I take my babies with me. I have taken them to formal events, I have taken them to restaurants, I have taken them into class with me while I attended university. Breastfeeding the whole time).
I have never used a breast-pump.
(To be absolutely clear, I did rent a breast-pump during my last bout of mastitis when Felix was just a few weeks old, in hopes that nursing Felix *combined* with pumping might clear out a severely clogged duct. What a dumb thing to do (for me). I tried it for five minutes, nothing really happened, and I found it supremely unpleasant. I returned it the next day. I am astounded that some women are able to pump breast milk for any length of time. Nursing a baby is such a delightful, sweet and enjoyable activity. I found the breast pump experience quite depressing. As far as the mastitis? I felt like crap for days, nursed Felix continuously, stayed in bed and rested, and recovered perfectly, as has always been the case.)
I have never counted poops, or nursing sessions, or wet diapers.
(Good gracious. This is one of those ideas that seems to be perpetuated by well-meaning hospital nurses, but which I think is just so extremely silly and stressful and nonsensical…Certainly there are some babies who have problems. But here is North America, we are *all* so comparatively fortunate, and well-fed, and healthy. It is very important for mothers to be vigilant, but I think that if this vigilance took the form more of simply enjoying our babies so that we are emotionally attuned to them, rather than focusing on things like the number of times our children have bowel movements…We do get so caught up.)
As I said before, there are mothers and babies who run into challenges. But for the most part, if we as Mums relax, everything will be fine. And I do also believe profoundly that when mother is anxious, baby picks up on this energy, and this can have a quite serious effect on the nursing relationship, digestion, temperament and sleep patterns.
Don’t worry. You’re doing a wonderful job.
Coming up: Solid Foods