Friday, July 24, 2009

On nurturing babies...

I had Isaac take this picture specifically to post about rocking babies to sleep. Notice that Benjamin is fussing. If I would just let him nurse, he would quiet immediately. For the past almost 8 weeks now I've been resisting nursing him for comfort. I think part of that has been because, I'm already nursing for about 45 minutes to an hour, out of every 2 1/2 hours! So I'm nursing a lot. Let me go back and explain my past nursing experiences.
Before I had my first child I was given "On becoming babywise". Well, I have a total Type A personality so it was VERY appealing. I could just get my baby on a schedule and he was going to sleep through the night at 8 weeks. And by all means, that was the GOAL. Caring for Isaac was completely centered around getting him to that goal of sleeping through the night. He was going to eat on schedule come hell or highwater because I needed my sleep! (that word "my" God has been working on a bunch in me!)
So Isaac did start sleeping through the night at 8 weeks and 4 weeks later, I had so little milk I had to stop nursing him. It just dried up all together. (Oh, I also gave him a bottle of formula at night after his last feeding in hopes he would sleep longer, which isn't good for insuring an adequate milk supply) I certainly never nursed him for comfort. There were SO many times I wanted to, but I pushed that feeling away, that instinct, to meet THE GOAL!

I also trained Isaac to fall asleep on his own, letting him "cry it out". Oh, how my heart broke through that training process. I totally again ignored my motherly instincts to achieve this other goal, of him being able to put himself to sleep.
Well, of course babies can "learn" to put themselves to sleep, and maybe a part of themselves dies in order for this to happen. They learn to cope. Why should little, fragile, helpless babies have to learn to cope with being abandoned? In their little consciouses that is what it must feel like! They don't know where you went or why you left? But they will learn to just fall asleep in exhaustion, they may even pick up thumb or finger sucking to dull that need for nurturing.
So that is what I did with Isaac.
Next comes Micah. I also schedule fed Micah. I didn't let himself cry himself to sleep though. I did a more gentle form of controlling this aspect of his life though. I would rock him until he was really sleepy and then I would lay him down. He would then easily drift off to sleep. This worked well and was a bit easier on my heart! Nursing though wasn't successful once again. My milk dried up after 5 bouts of Mastitis at 3 1/2 months. He too had to be formula fed.
Third times the charm-Andrew! He was breastfed for a full 14 months and I only stopped because he didn't want to nurse anymore after I went through a late miscarriage. So what did I do different?
I mothered this child from my heart! He was absolutely nursed for comfort, I nursed him to put him to sleep, I didn't nurse him on a schedule, I nursed him instinctively and he thrived and so did I! I was so much more relaxed with him. My adjustment in going from 2 children to 3 was so easy. Going places and doing things was so easy because if the going got tough, and Andrew got fussy or too loud for church, I would just stick-em on! Wa-la! Quiet baby :) :) :)
So this time around I don't know exactly why I've reverted to my type-A ways but today I said it has to stop. Maybe I've reverted out of fear. I wonder if I haven't allowed my heart to completely and totally let go to this child. I feared for 9 months that I wouldn't get to have him and I think that may have hindered the after bonding process. I had a wall there to him for those 9 months-so I guess it makes sense that that wall wouldn't just immediately come down.
Today was good. I nursed him on-cue, I comfort nursed him, I nursed him to sleep several times, and I can't tell you how right and good it feels to look down at a very contented, very happy, nursing baby. (I haven't been letting him cry himself to sleep but, sometimes I rock him to sleep, or pat him to sleep and try to hold off on nursing. I don't think this is wrong or bad, but I've realized today that it is easier to just go ahead and put'em on!---and this will probably help ensure I have adequate milk for him because it is what worked for Andrew)

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