I am again faced with concerns that another baby isn't thriving on breastmilk. The second my babies start sleeping through the night (or even most of the night) I can't seem to feed them enough during the day to keep them growing. I had to resort to supplementing with formula (once on doctor's orders after my son actually started losing weight) with my three oldest children.
With our newest baby, who was a perfect 9lbs1oz at birth, I'm doing my best to literally feed her all day. All day. I've become a pro at feeding her sitting, standing, reclining, eating, cooking and, yesterday, while finger painting.
She's doing better on breastmilk than any of the older kids did, but at her last check-up her weight had stalled. She gained maybe a half a pound in a month. I had been so sure that, unlike her siblings, she was thriving that when I saw the number on the scale, a mere 1lb6oz over her birth weight, it felt like I'd been kicked in the gut. I'm starting to get worried. My body, which can grow babies perfectly and has no major problem with birth, doesn't seem all too skilled at feeding these precious gifts.
I've already had comments questioning why I would want to be a slave to feeding, how inconvenient it must be to have to feed all day with three older kids that need me, and asking me what the harm is of formula feeding (as pumping simply doesn't work for me). After years of trying to breastfeed my kids I don't see it as a burden, but as an ideal to aspire too. I want so badly to be that Mom that struggled but, after some work, wound up with a beautiful breastfeeding relationship and a chubby, healthy baby who I'd have to worry about weaning.
The 4 month appointment, days before Christmas, will be the deciding moment for my latest attempt to breastfeed. Either I'll be a happily busy Mom singing Christmas carols with my baby cozy under my shawl or Santa will be leaving a shiny can of formula under the tree.
Either way I'll be grateful that I have the option and that, however I have to do it, I can feed my baby. I will sit in our usual pew surrounded by my family remembering the Christmas 5 years ago when I was pregnant but didn't know it yet and I said an intense prayer for my dream baby. I didn't care about breastfeeding or formula. I just knew I wanted to start a family with my wonderful husband. I know that no matter the struggles God answered that prayer and then some. No struggles seem so big next to that one, incredible, answered prayer.