Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Binky and Bottles.

Kaleb still lives in the Valley of Firsts.

Everyday (almost) it seems he is experiencing something within his world for the first time. I doubt he's as aware of the implications of this as much as we are. I doubt he cares - when he bobs his head up and smiles at us - but we are overjoyed, ecstatic with glee. "Did you see that?" We point at his toothless grin, "He loves me!" Further proof of his genius.

Everyday it seems he is becoming more cognizant of his surroundings. He makes eye contact and holds his gaze evenly until his attention becomes focused elsewhere.

He is three weeks and five days old now. Oh, they grow up so fast!

I had certain plans for how I was going to raise our son - at least in the beginning: Breastfeeding, cloth diapers, no pacifiers, lots of hugs and kisses.

Even though I had planned on breasfeeding, I bought a pump so I could express milk and have other people join in the feeding fun. Well, when the recommended three week milestone to start to introduce the bottle came, I discovered, to my dismay, he didn't like the bottle.

He cried and threw distress at me with his blotchy, red, contorted face, that, really, he wasn't very interested in this plastic nipple thing and would much rather prefer the real thing. OK. No problem. I am patient and I could work on it with time.

So, he fed on my tit. Relentlessly.

I complained to Kaleb's doctor about my sore (and now damaged) nipples and he told me to give him a pacifier in between what should have been the time between feedings. He should have been eating every two hours but at times, he would give me a bathroom break (maybe) and ask for more. Sometimes for hours at at time. In the middle of the night. I was hallucinating patterns on my baby's face. That didn't seem good.

At this point, I felt I had no choice. The doctor said he wasn't really eating for all those hours and my boobs really needed the break.

So, with a cocktail of feelings mixed with guilt, shame and hope, I gave him a pacifier. And he hated it. Secretly, I felt a little relief. My boy was above that. He didn't need any false stimulation to address a burgeoning oral fixation. I didn't need to hang that on him.

But the bottle, I was determined to work on. I had a plan. Maybe if I started with the boob and then switched over to the bottle, he might not notice.

It worked.

Yay! My boy would eat with other people. Yay! I could go and do things for more than 1/2 an hour outside the home and know my son would not starve or be uncomfortable!

Then he started to cry. And I thought to myself: maybe now that he took the rubber nipple, he might be coaxed to take the pacifier too. I tried. And again, it worked.

I put him in his stroller and we walked into the park where I treaded on a path of guilt. How could I encourage such false dependence, based solely on my comfort? How could I sell out my own son, so quickly, because I needed a break?

This was the day that he first ate from the bottle and he first took a pacifier.

I wasn't so sure I was happy with either.

9 comments:

Julie Buckley said...

Oh my God, Rina. HUGE (parenting)progress for 3 weeks. Are you trying to make the rest of us look slow?! Your courage and accomplishment is truly great for a new-ish mom. Did you ever realize the depth of the conflict-- the reach to put into motion something you believe, yet rail against?!!!
I feel relationships are both the most difficult thing and the most most rewarding. Being a mother takes that to another level...
XO, Julie

Kathleen said...

You are super:) I love that you are keeping us up to date through your blog. Perfect! When I get to eperince raising my children, hope you don't mind if I call you for some advice.

Love you and your family! Kaleb is a lucky little guy.

Peace and Love,
Kathleen

Anonymous said...

Kaleb is very lucky to have you as his mom! I completely understand the guilt of such conflict (times two!). I used to brag that Nathan and Adam never had a pacifier, but in retrospect, I realize that they "did" have a pacifier--two of them. They are called breasts! I was exhausted and walked around like a zombie for months until they started drinking from a cup. This time around, because of the circumstances, I have had to pump and feed Yonah and Remi with a bottle--plus, at the NICU they got them used to the pacifier to encourage latching. It worked, but now Yonah is obsessed with the binky and I don't know if I love it or hate it. I think its both. And I think I'll just have to be at peace with that.
I think its awsome that you are keeping up with Kaleb's progress and your experience. Be assured that in the end, it is your nurturing presence that will matter--binky and bottles or not.
Love
Yazmin

Anonymous said...

Oh Rina!!! Congratulations on your little bundle! I can totally relate to what you are feeling... well, not in regards to the bottle and the paci, but with just about every other decision or choice I have had to make along the way regarding Payton. Truthfully, it never occurred to me to NOT give my daughter either a bottle or a paci and I gave her both of them in week 1. I breastfed her for 9 months (only stopped because we wanted to try for #2 - baby girl coming in Sept) and she never had a problem going from boob to bottle. She never had nipple confusion or anything that I have read about. My pediatrician said the paci was a good thing and would help her sleep and decrease chances of SIDS. Not sure if its true but Payton has, for the most part, been a great sleeper. Either way, I totally understand where you are coming from and just know you are doing the best job you can do and your little man is SUPER lucky!!! Think about it... have you ever seen a first grader walking around with a bottle or a paci. Ha,Ha! Love you and love your blog!!! :-) xo, Judi Hart

Anonymous said...

Went to the blog...it's great....don't feel guilty about the bottle thing...just wait till he's 16 and stays out after curfew while driving YOUR car.......think back on this as you wait for him to get home...you'll cherish the memory! Have a great Mother's Day!!!!!!!
Love
Julia

Katayoun said...

beautiful. I remember all of that with ariana, same exact progress...amazing...she didn't take a bottle the first year either...breastfed exclusively. I went no where without her. but in the end she's the most confident, comfortable with herself child...who knows if it's genetics or breastfeeding...whatever...they're all amazing.
congrats
beautiful!
xo
katayoun

Anonymous said...

Rina, I don't know if you will even know who I am bc I was on bed rest & missed many of our birthing classes. I rcvd your e-mail about the pics & just got finished reading this blog entry. I am a LAUGHING HYSTERICALLY!!! Tears are streaming down my face as I can relate SO well to your plight! & You are a terrific writer! Truly, you are gifted. Anyway, hope to see you at one of the walks, & thanks tons for brightening a sleep deprived mama's day! :) Amy

Eirlys McKenzie said...

Ahhhh, Rina, beautiful musings in early Motherhood. Someone told me when I worried while pregnant, "this is just the beginning of your worrying life." Kids and worry go hand-in-hand. As always, "The Plan" is not up to me. Our children have a higher power,and we are not it! Also as usual, whatever I judge ends up in my life within days (like the pacifier my 4.5 year-old only JUST gave up - cuz Daddy and I are big wusses). Stay as flexible and open as you are, and it'll be a joy ride!

Stratton Family said...

haha I don't know if you meant this to be funny but it made me laugh because I can relate. We tried sooo hard not to give into the world of binkies but about 3-4 weeks along I couldn't handle it anymore I HAD to have a break just as you did!