Wednesday, August 24, 2005

That should be my nipple!

I gave Julian his first bottle yesterday of expressed breast-milk. I almost cried. Bryan actually tried to give him one last week and he refused. Everything I read said someone other than the mother should do it, blah blah but it didn't work. So yesterday I was pumping for a bottle so Bryan could give it another try but then he was looking very hungry and Bryan wasn't home yet. I decided to do it. I thought maybe I should be the one to give it to him at first. Maybe he realizes I am his food source so anything I'm giving him would be OK. I still took my boobs out and held him against my chest for ambiance. He was a little slow at taking it at first but he did willingly finish it off. I didn't have a chance to pump much before he needed to eat and he still looked very hungry once the bottle was gone so I let him finish off the old-fashioned way. I also gave him a heart to heart explaining we will be giving him 1 bottle a day and there may be times when he has to have more bottles but he needs to remember that my nipples are #1.

But since his latch still isn't the best I was hesitant on giving him a bottle. But really we're not making any progress on the latching so it is what it is and we're getting by. And I'm starting to think I MAY be able to work on latching with the bottle anyway. I know it goes against a lot of the rules but yesterday it helped me get him to open wider and get his tounge out more. I can see what's going on better and have more control over it. And I could use a little break and well frankly, I just wanted him to learn to eat from a bottle now. But when we tried the bottle last week, it broke my heart. I couldn't even tell you why because mentally I was ready for him to get one and I don't think him having a bottle is "bad." I wasn't weaning him, I wasn't giving him formula, it was still my stuff and he was still going to be breast-fed 99% of the time so I couldn't figure out what was so bothersome. I figured out it's because it's not natural for him to be eating from a bottle. It goes against some biological thing running through my body. It wasn't so much my mind having issues with it, it was my body, my primitive instincts. It was very surprising but almost fascinating we're designed that way. Afterall, we're not much different from wild animal moms. I'd still react just like a mama bear if someone we're to attempt to harm my son. I still wouldn't hesitate to tear you apart like a mama lion if you tried to hurt him.

That's actually been my parenting style thus far, pure instincts. It can make me feel a little alone in the world of child raising. I do find myself hesitant to tell people our choices which is surprising for me. I'm normally all up in your shit with MY views but this is different. I follow my gut, what my first reaction is, I usually go with it. I will worry about changes that have to be made when we get to them and to quote a friend ""do what works for now & cross any problematic bridges later IF they even occur". But like I said, it can get lonely in this world. I'm way more AP than I thought I'd be. Not that I'm trying to label it but it ended up I naturally parent the AP way. And it's true, a lot of people don't so I feel abnormal. I don't feel I can really talk "parenting" because my views are pretty different and I guess I'm scared for their reaction or scared they will feel insulted if they do it differently (which I am NOT implying). And honestly, this isn't a competition, it's just people doing what they feel is best for their child. Now I know why there are support groups for everything under the sun, AP support, BabyWearing support, C0-sleeping support, Breastfeeding support, etc, etc. People need to feel they aren't totally crazy and alone. So here it is, I'm AP. I breast-feed and have no desire to stop, I co-sleep (in our bed!) and don't have a desire to transition him out, I wear my baby every chance I get, I feel uncomfortable using "tools" so I use my swing less and less, don't use a pacifier and feel weird using a stroller. I respond immediately to his cries, and usually it's way before he cries, I know when he's uncomfortable and a cry will come. I don't feel the need to wait for him to cry if I can sense he's unhappy and won't be able to self-soothe.

Of course I'm scared I'm doing more harm than good, no matter what parenting method I choose, I'd be just as scared and doubtful. None of us know how our kids will turn out or what one little thing can permanently scar them or land them in therapy years from now. We don't know what we're doing will make them more co-dependent or independent. Will it be independent in a good way or too independent they will lack the desire for any human closeness? I'm aiming for inter-dependent but who knows if I'll acheive it. Right now Julian can't verbally tell me what he wants so I use his body language and "cues". Does he look content and secure? As I look down at him snuggled closely to me alseep in the sling, with his hands clasped together I'm gonna say yes. If I put him in his crib right now, I wouldn't see this same peace in him.

None of this is some passive-agressive way of saying if you don't believe the same thing then I think you suck as a parent. It doesn't mean that at all. I have a couple friends that are AP, some that are pretty polar-AP and some right in between. I believe each one of us follows our hearts (hopefully) and are truely doing what we feel is best for our family and that's all any of us can do. Right? Right. And pray our children end up the happy, positive and confident adults we want them to be and that they'll even like us when they are teenagers.


Blogger Veronica said...

Well honey let me tell you this... If you're crazy then I am too
I I co-slept with my kid untill he was 2! yes 2,,,some people look at me funny when I say that but I love the way he relaxes when he sleeps in my arms. He's 4 now and has NO problem sleeping in his own bed now. And yes...every cry/wimper/noise I RAN..dropped what I was doing to attend him..and I too had pp tell me "oh he's fine" as any mother would do and without hesitance I would say " what do you know?" Some pp work so hard to "do the right thing" but in reality what mother would 'not know' whats best for the child...instinct is #1 resource..
SOrry for the ramble..
But I wanted to reasure you that you doing a GREAT JOB! and Julian is so lucky to have such a loving. caring. and protective mother!

11:14 AM  
Anonymous supa said...

I think you're awesome. Do whatever you want, because *you're* the mama.

I for one am all for refusing to step into the parenting battle. To each her own. Who am I to judge?

We use a mixture of AP and old-school, and it works for our household. No reason why it would work for anyone else, so I don't evangelize. I think it's cool when mamas [especially new ones like] can feel like they've found a footing.

Keep up the good work: Julian is a darling.

11:19 AM  
Anonymous Carol said...

This entry is music to my ears! Or for my eyes, I guess ;)

Sometimes it can be difficult to stand up for your views when it comes to parenting. But stick to your guns, parent from your gut and you won't go wrong.

:) You're doing a fantastic job, Cara! Really, you are. I'm not just saying that.

12:52 PM  
Blogger Candice said...

It sounds like you're doing great! As long as you make the effort to do what you feel is best, I think you can't go wrong. Someone who cares as much as you do, and let's face it, we've all seen mothers who don't, is going to raise one happy, healthy boy. OH BTW on the breastfeeding/bottle thing. I breastfed Cole to a year old, but I also worked full time, and wasn't able to express enough milk to keep him satisfied while I was gone (especially because he wasn't really into eating REAL food until a year anyway) So he ended up getting formula a lot while I was at work. It actually worked out well and took a little pressure off of me, like if we went to my parents house or in public (sometimes) he could have a bottle but it didn't mean we gave up our breastfeeding bonding either. So that's my two cents.

1:09 PM  
Blogger The Mom said...

Maternal instinct is the only way to go. You know your baby better than anyone else. After all, the "rules" and all the literature out there are just based on someone else's opinion. What makes them better equipped to raise the child that YOU made?! Just follow your heart and your own intuition and don't worry that you're doing something wrong, because only you know what's right for your baby!

1:15 PM  
Blogger Heaven Sent said...

I think you hit it right on the head - do what you think is right for your child. You know him better than anyone else, so you need to be the one to decide what makes him feel happy and loved. "AP" or not, you are a VERY loving mother, and that's a label you should be proud to wear!!! It sounds to me like you're doing exactly what Julian needs. If he's content, then that's all that matters!


1:52 PM  
Blogger Helen said...

Hi... I've followed your pregnancy a little bit (from an original link through daphne blue I think)and your post just made me think of some good friends of mine who are new(er) mommas. One of them is waaay AP and her recent post (get past the potty training part) might be helpful to you...


4:39 PM  
Blogger KELLI BELLY said...

Your doing a great job Cara! You do what feels right for you, thats all that matters. I think arrainging a marriage now between J and Gianna would be the best thing for both of them. No need for either of them to look anty furthur:0) We'll get together when I get back from Oregon. We need to get our grub on:0) I need to hold that baby!

9:43 PM  
Blogger littlefeet said...

you are doing a fabu not doubt yourself...

i am an AP parent...and i have no issues admitting of my kids slept with me well past the age of 2...but she needed to...and it was ok...Pman (2) sleeps half the night in his own bed, half the night in

instincts are the way to do have to do what works for you and your family...cause thats what matters... :)


11:26 PM  
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4:36 AM  
Blogger Andrea said...

Parenting by instinict is the way to go! Truly it is all about what works for you and your family. I have a friend of a friend who babbled on and on how she was going to AP when her baby was born, and her little one wanted nothing to do with being held, nor would she sleep in her bed, so see you have to let your family go with the flow....
I think that was a pretty disconnected thought....
I mix many parenting styles, I wear Ryan, but didn't breastfeed. He sleeps with us if it feels right or in his crib if that is what needs to happen...
He is happy and healthy and our little family is grooving right along....

7:29 AM  
Blogger reet said...

cara, i'm glad that you don't think i suck! i'm also glad that you have found what works for you and J and bry.

2:24 PM  
Blogger Little Miss said...

People are always going to give their unsolicited advice (I too am guilty of this), but I find joy in hearing another woman's passion for motherhood. You rock.

2:33 PM  
Blogger Melinda said...

The only thing i dislike about the AP stance on parenting is the never letting them cry it out. I think to try to ALWAYS live up to that can cause alot of stress in a mama. Sometimes when a baby is having a bad day (and unfortuently, they all have them) the most healthy thing for mama is lay that baby in his/her crib and walk away for a few minutes to regain herself. To get rid of the tension. So she can return to her unhappy lil baby and continue soothing. Other than that i Love AP style and think it is awsome! And for some woman is the most natural way of parenting an infant. Yea unfortuently we never know if what we did was right until i guess we see what kind of adult they turned it to. Even then there is no way of knowing if it was our Nurturing or Nature! I mean could we just get a little note from above saying "keep it up" or "Stop dont do that anymore"!

8:01 AM  

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