The Bean

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Trial and Error

This will come as no surprise to those of you who are already parents, but this parenting thing is just make-it-up-as-you-go. All of those times our parents made decisions or disciplined us... I'm pretty sure they did not know what they were doing those first few times. They just made it up and waited to see if it worked. I'll tell you what does not work: Feeding the baby for 5 or 6 minutes just to buy yourself 30 more minutes of sleep. It's the parenting equivalent to hitting the snooze alarm. It is not going to be any easier to get up 18 minutes from the first time that alarm goes off. Likewise, those 30 minutes of sleep I just bought myself costs me 5 more minutes of feeding when I wake up. Plus, now I have no idea when she really should eat next. I have this handy little clock thing that has buttons to track how long it has been since she last ate. Ideally she should be eating every 2-3 (or 4) hours. When I feed her the 5-minute snooze alarm snack she wakes up crying for more food several times with in that two hour window. So should I push the little clock thing every time she snacks and hope that it will add up in her stomach and eventually get her through a two hour window. NO! I must give up and realize that the snacks were a HORRIBLE idea. The next time she cries for food I am going to feed her brains out with a bottle and pray that I've erased the snacking idea from her memory. The bottle is a whole other story. Wanna hear it? Okay....

So speaking of trial and error, we have given her maybe one bottle every other day. (Don't freakout out you hardcore breastfeeding people, it is still my milk. I haven't abandoned breastfeeding.) Usually it is my wonderful husband who gives her the bottle and in turn gives me a break. Yesterday, I gave her the bottle myself because she was only feeding for five minutes and then falling asleep. I wanted to see if she would stay awake for a whole bottle. Oh, man, did she stay awake. It was amazing! There was no struggle to latch. Nobody cried. She just drank and then burped and everyone was happy! Now I'm thinking, "Hey, wait a minute. This is way easier than feeding her directly from the source." That was followed quickly by the thought, "Am I a horrible mother if I feed her from a bottle?" Then I hear all of those hardcore people saying, "Make sure you give it at least 3 weeks. You are both learning. Blah, blah, blah..." Ugh. So now what do I do? I've also heard something about confusing the baby. Something like the baby will get confused between the natural nipple and the bottle nipple. WHAT?! "Confused" as in she will stop eating all together? A nurse said, it is the difference between drinking from the side of the cup and drinking from a straw (the bottle being the straw). Well, let me ask all of you, which do you prefer? I personally really, truly enjoy drinking from a straw. Who cares if she drinks from a "straw?" Is she drinking? Is she happy? I'm not seeing how this makes me a bad mother.

At the end of the proverbial day aren't we all just making things up as we go? Mom A is giving Mom B advice based on her experience and her baby. But each mom and each baby is totally different and has different needs. I know that I am imposing all of this judgement on myself and I know I need to just step back and do what I think is best. I just like to do things RIGHT (I know, this is no big surprise). But I am quickly learning that there is no Right Way here folks. Just our way.

Okay, she is starting to fuss. The milk clock says its been 50 minutes from her last snack, but it has probably been two hours since her first snack. Wow, that was a bad decision. We won't be making that one again.


  1. Whatever you do, don't think you're a bad mother! You're tired, overwhelmed, stressed, and, did I say tired already? and all that is making you think you're not good enough to hack it. It's not true!

    As lame as this sounds (and you probably won't be able to do it until you're able to sleep more) find your online community of moms for support and questions. Try
    and see if that doesn't relieve some of the stress you're feeling.

    You're not alone. And you're doing GREAT!

  2. When Seth was born the pressure was on to breastfeed, especially since I worked for an OB-GYN. So, of course, I did. It hurt, he fussed, and on his 2-week checkup, he hadn't gained an ounce. The doctor cracked open a 4-ounce bottle of formula and the little guy gulped it down in seconds flat! That was the end of my breastfeeding. You're correct Kylie. You have to do what works for you both. XO Auntie