My baby is 5 and a half months old.
Which means I have been exclusively breastfeeding for over 4 months.
4 months…. there have been easy days and there have been hard days. It’s merely a drop in the bucket for some people who are blessed with a lot of milk but not for me.
For me, it’s a huge deal. I realized the secret to successfully breastfeeding is twofold.
One, really just taking it one day at a time, one feed at a time. Whenever I think about how much longer I need to breastfeed during the difficult days, I get overwhelmed. It has gotten easier but with the baby STILL feeding every 2 to 3 hours at 5 months, it still takes a lot of my time. All I promised myself is I wouldn’t stop feeding at the most difficult day. It’s easy to give up at a moment of weakness but hard to start back up again when regret sets in.
Two, it’s important to ask for help and talk to people who are going through or have gone through it themselves and can lend a sympathetic ear. Joining the groups in Facebook, and chatting with breastfeeding advocates have been a huge help. Getting personal assistance from advocates have been a major boon…
Now, I am no longer struggling with insecurities of my milk supply. When baby cries I don’t automatically assume it’s because he isn’t getting any milk. I have learned that sleepiness can lead to crankiness. I have learned that if he’s no longer hungry and I still continue pushing a latch he will cry like bloody murder too. I have learned that the baby now gets bored or he just wants a cuddle.
I have stopped obsessively tracking his wet diapers because the baby is pooing and peeing a lot. I am enjoying leaving the home in minutes with the kids because all I need to grab is a diaper, wipes and a cloth cover… everything fits in my bag so there’s no need for a baby bag.
The worst thing I’m struggling with right now is the comments that my baby is too skinny because people are used to seeing chubby babies. The pediatrician keeps telling me that baby needs to put on a little more weight even if he is within normal range but I can’t get the baby to eat more than he already is. I am at my wit’s end on how to help baby gain more weight. He is already feeding practically every 2 hours as it is.
I am just taking solace in the fact that breastfed babies are said to be leaner than formula fed babies.
I am also taking solace in the fact that Baby S is on point with his developmental milestones.
He now rolls like a pro and can roll from one end of the bed to the other end very quickly. He is actively playing peek-a-boo with us by turning his head away and back and giving his playmate a sly grin. He laughs loudly and stands confidently on his legs although he can’t balance yet. He grabs toys and brings them to his mouth for a good chew.
He has even started saying “Mama” with what seems like understanding since he says it a lot and stops when I take him in my arms and rewards me with wet slobbery kisses.
He is now working on sitting down by straightening his back off any support. We just need to catch him when he sways side to side.
He is a happy baby (with a loud shake-the-ceiling cry when uncomfortable), which makes me forget my worries about his skinny state most of the time… until the next wellness baby check up looms. I have a few more weeks until the next checkup. Hopefully he will gain more weight by then and get the strain of worry off my shoulders.
He will be starting solids soon. The next checkup will be the last one wherein he will be completely reliant on breastmilk for sustenance.
By the 6-month mark, I would have reached my initial personal goal. Two more weeks to go… then I’ll think about setting my goals a little further.
One day at a time…