I haven't written much about breastfeeding for a couple reasons, primarily because it's gone pretty well, so it didn't seem like a very interesting topic for discussion. A series of posts detailing the ways breastfeeding was a success for me just didn't seem like must-read blogging. So here we are, six months into this whole mommyhood thing and this is my first real feeding post.
I feel very lucky--particularly after reading so many reports of how differently it could have gone--that Smudgie and I had such an easy time of it. No real pain beyond those first two weeks or so, no supply issues, a great latch right from the beginning. We had pretty much the dream breastfeeding relationship. Smudgie was exclusively breastfed up until we started solids this week. And while I choose not to talk about or write about it much (partially because I realize how lucky we are and don't want to seem smug), I feel damn proud of myself. Middle-of-the-night feedings, constant nursing, pumping when away, and wearing only easily accessible outfits for the last six months--I've done it all to sustain him in the way that feels healthiest and the most right to me.
This past week, though, Smudgie had his six week checkup and we got an (mildly) unpleasant surprise. He's always been a teeny little dude, but his weight gain curve is leveling a bit and he dropped from the 5th percentile to the 3rd for weight (he's more for length and head circumference). His doctor did not suggest that this was due to breastfeeding, that it's a sign of anything wrong, or that I need to switch to formula. She encouraged us to begin solids feedings right away (which we have) and to bring him in for a weight check in a month or so and see where we are then.
But I can't help feeling guilty. Have I doomed my son to shrimpitude thanks to my egotistical desire to solely breastfeed? Is he truly healthy? Rationally I know the answers to these questions, but it's hard not to feel like I'm failing him when I learn that he's so tiny.
Despite his small size (he can still wear some of his 3 month clothes), Smudgie is doing great in all other respects:
- Smudgie rolls eagerly in both directions. He now flips instantly to his belly as soon as I lay him in the crib, and seems to sleep better that way.
- He smiles, squeals, giggles, grins, and belly laughs at new faces, familiar friends, and all our little games.
- He naps about 4 hours a day in his crib (over two or thee naps) and wakes once in the night (over a 12 hour period) to nurse. Incidentally, I am so glad I continued with that feeding, despite reading that he didn't need it any more and I could drop it without a problem. His pedi confirmed that with his weight being so low, continuing the night time feeds makes sense. Score one for mom's intuition!
- He looooooves to stand and can hold himself up like that with no external support save his own grip on my fingers (and quite a grip he has).
- He plays attentively with favorite toys, observing them from multiple angles, dropping them, moving them around, passing them between hands, and (of course) sticking them in his mouth.
- He recognizes Bella! He smiles ear to ear when he sees her and is quite fond of grabbing her beard fur (we're working on this one).
- He's a big fan of books, following my finger on the words, examining the pictures with rapt attention, and trying to stick them in his mouth.
- He's all about his exersaucer--his little legs kick and flail crazily as he plays with the toys.
- He loves music, whether it's me singing him show tunes while I change him or the classical music station on the radio or the first sing-along I brought him to (he shrieked happily at the musicians the whole time).
- Smudgie responds to his name now and loves playing imitative sound games (repeating ba-ba-ba back and forth to each other and so on) and peekabo.
- He also loves his bath time. He starts kicking his legs emphatically before he's lowered in the water. Once he's in there, he's all about splashing, chewing on the washcloth or his bath toys, and smiling at mommy and daddy. He doesn't mind at all when he gets water in his face. He can be about ready to scream with hunger, but show him the bathtub and he's all smiles.
- He's started noticing other babies, smiling at them in church or at our playgroup. He's still a massive flirt, as well, giving coy smiles to women (while basically ignoring all men except his daddy).
Smudgie still has his challenging days here and there. But overall, he is a delight--the cutest, sweetest, silliest, most fun, most wonderful little person I can imagine. Gosh, I am so lucky to have him!
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