Each of my boys has had their own set of challenges especially when it comes to breastfeeding. Simon was by far the easiest but having been in the hospital twice within the first month of his life things in general were pretty challenging. With Abel’s current struggle to breastfeed effectively I’m learning what is really important about raising a child.
With my first son I was set on upholding a set of standards for our life as parents. We would breastfeed, co-sleep, cloth diaper, babywear, eat organic, homebirth, etc…. but with each child my standards shifted. What I once thought was important to properly raise a child became a set of rules that crushed me every time I fell short.
Raising kids is hard work. Each child is different and as parents the way we address the challenges of parenting individual human beings will be different.
The past few days as we’ve been working with Abel on his breastfeeding I’ve been constantly reminding myself what is most important. Yes, I’d love for him to easily breastfeed for the first year of his life. I’d love it if things came naturally to him and me. I’ve been second guessing my decision to introduce a bottle to him so soon thinking that maybe the bottle has made his breastfeeding challenges more difficult. But then I’m reminded that each decision I’ve been making for the past 11 days has been based on what is best for Abel and our family. It’s more important that he eats and gains weight than for me to maintain an exclusively breastfed status. Yes, maybe introducing a bottle will inhibit our timely success but it’s not the end of the line.
I’m slowly seeing progress in his ability to properly latch on and successfully nurse an entire feeding. Yesterday he successfully nursed 4 times but then he still wanted the bottle in the middle of the night. I don’t see that as a failure even though I thought he may have finally “got it”. I am extremely pleased that I was able to spend my entire evening breastfeeding my sweet boy instead being hooked up to the breast pump.
Even though Abel is my 4th child and I think I’m pretty good at reading baby cues, each child has their own personality (even at 11 days old) and Abel and I are learning how to communicate with each other. This breastfeeding thing may not come easily for either of us but we are already working together to overcome this challenge and I’m super proud of this little guy.