I thought I'd give a little "how the baby's doing" update on my blog since many of you are probably wondering. Henry is a super sweet addition to our family and we are enjoying our new life as a family of four. Alex is very sweet with the baby and has really taken to his new role of Big Brother.
One thing that hasn't been as easy as I thought it would be is feeding Henry. He had an improper latch from the beginning, and I let it go for about 10 days. I was extremely sore, but wrote it off as normal soreness. When I took Henry back to the pedi for his 2 week check up, he had only gained 2 ounces in 6 days and was still 2 ounces away from his original birth weight. The pedi was concerned, and as the day wore on and Henry was less and less interested in eating, my pedi (Jason) was also concerned. So we started supplementing him with formula and he was more alert and eating more after a day - a noticeable difference. For those of you who have had a similar issue, I'm sure you understand how anxiety-inducing it is for you to think that your baby is not getting enough to eat. Not to mention the fact that as a mom, there is the never-going-away feeling that somehow you have failed your baby when breastfeeding doesn't work out exactly as planned. I tell you, trying to breastfeed and being unsuccessful (even if for a time) is very, very difficult...both for mom and for baby.
With Alex, I never had any breastfeeding issues. He latched on properly at first and I had good help in the hospital with friends and lactation nurses. Now that I have had a totally different experience with Henry, I fear that I didn't have enough grace for others who had "issues". At the time I was in a small group of women who all had different experiences with breastfeeding, some positive and some negative. While I would have never intentionally been proud of my breastfeeding success, there is a nagging feeling inside me now that perhaps I was. Oh, how good it is now (despite its difficulty to accept and the sadness it brings) to say that I have been humbled. I now have a better perspective and have accepted the fact that God has different journeys for everyone with newborns, hopefully all leading believers to trust Him more and see His goodness in different ways. After all, we have been blessed with health and the gift of knowing Him personally. Who am I to demand more from Him?
Not everyone succeeds at the breastfeeding task. No matter how easy the books and other moms make it sound, breastfeeding is hard work. And sometimes it doesn't work at all. And actually that's okay.
For now, I am pumping my milk and feeding Henry with a bottle. This seems to be more functional for our family than trying to get him to latch on for 20 minutes, hearing him cry and seeing him get frustrated, and ultimately giving up and giving him the bottle. We are going to see a lactation counselor this week to get some advice and guidance about what to do next. So many people have told me stories about how their baby didn't learn to breastfeed properly until a month or two. Of course I am hoping Henry will be in this camp - for the simple fact that it's just plain easier to do the breast than to do the pump/bottle. But there comes a time when we as a family will have to be okay with Henry eating from a bottle if he needs to. Lots of babies do it and it's gonna be okay. In the meantime, we are praying and trusting that God will give us everything we need for today.
And for tomorrow.
And for the next day.
I'm blogging about this because it has sometimes been my experience in parenting that people rarely share about the difficult issues they have with newborns. They are quick to report how much they sleep, how well they eat, how much weight they are gaining, etc., but rarely offer details about the difficult parts. I know lots of seasoned moms, new moms, and expecting moms read this blog. Let our current experience be an encouragement to you - just as the stories of successful breastfeeding are.
I will keep you posted on our progress.