A Few Things I Said I Would Never Do When I Had a Baby

Formula Feed    I know “breast is best” and I had every intention of breast feeding my daughter. I took a breastfeeding class prior to her birth, bought a state of the art breast pump, a pretty pink breast feeding cover and a Boppy pillow with several trendy patterned covers. A day or two after my daughter’s birth we discovered that my milk wasn’t coming in and the nurses had me supplementing my daughter’s diet with formula. I religiously pumped using the hospital grade pump and rejoiced when I pumped enough milk to cover the bottom of the bottle! Unfortunately, I never produced enough to adequately nourish my baby. After being released from the hospital I persevered by renting a hospital grade pump, taking supplements, increasing my water in-take and drinking Mother’s Milk Tea. But an appointment with a lactation consultant showed that my efforts weren’t improving my milk production and all I could produce at any given time was less than an ounce. I will never forget sitting in the pediatrician’s office when my daughter was only a few weeks old. We were making an extra visit because my daughter wasn’t gaining weight. I wept when the doctor gently told me I should give up on my breastfeeding journey. I felt like a failure and feared that my daughter wouldn’t develop properly and be scarred for life! I know people probably judged me when they saw me feeding my daughter formula, completely oblivious of my tremendous struggle and feelings of inadequacy. Leading up to motherhood I would have been one of those people judging. I was void of the knowledge that not producing milk was even a possibility. When I heard of a mother feeding formula to her baby I felt she had “given up” not wantingto be  inconvenienced  with the demands often accompanied by breastfeeding. There are many women who choose to formula feed but for me it wasn’t a choice. Although my body didn’t cooperate, my daughter and I are extremely close. She had a healthy first year of life, met all of her milestones and continues to thrive; scoring off the charts on a recent developmental screening administered by our Parent Educator. 

Give My Baby a Pacifier     On the day my daughter was born I told the nurses to put a “no pacifier” placard in her bassinet to ensure that she never be given a pacifier. What I hadn’t anticipated is the fact that my daughter was born with a lot to say and she wanted to ensure that everyone (even the family in the room down the hall) heard her! When her pediatrician visited us in the hospital she commented on my daughter’s thunderous cries. The doctor was finding it difficult to hear her heartbeat and questioned whether she had a pacifier. The nurses at the hospital must have felt the same way because after spending an hour in the nursery my daughter came back to the room with a green pacifier in her mouth! The pacifier stayed and my daughter used and adored her “paci”until she was close to two and half years old. It soothed her during car rides, helped her fall asleep and comforted her on airline flights. The pacifier didn’t delay her language development or harm her teeth. Although getting my daughter to relinquish her pacifier was a bit painful for the entire family, as I look back on my days prior to motherhood I can’t help but feel a bit quilty at the mother I scoffed at who had given her older toddler a pacifier on the airplane. I thought the child was too old for a pacifier but the woman was traveling alone and as a mommy I view that nothing short of a true victory! I published a story on this blog  in March titled “The Pacifier,” which details the adventures my daughter had with her beloved “paci.”

Nobody Puts Baby in the Corner!

The line “Nobody puts Baby in the corner” was made popular by the movie Dirty Dancing staring Patrick Swayze and Jennifer Grey. It was delivered by Johny (Patrick Swayze) when he takes Baby’s (Jennifer Grey) hand and says to her dad — “Nobody puts Baby in a corner.” He leads her to the dance floor where she shocks everyone with her newly acquired dance skills. This line comes to mind every time I ask my recently turned two year old daughter, “What is your name?” The reason, she always enthusiastically replies, “Baby!”

I started to question why she calls herself Baby. She responds to her name and when I ask, “Who is Lillian? “she immediately points to herself and says, “Me!” And to my amazement she is even beginning to recognize her name when it is written. Thanks to the personalized book her Godmother Aunt Kay Kay got her for Christmas. I have heard her say “L..I..L..L..I..A..N as she points to the back of the child sized chair adorned with her name that proudly sits in our family room. I have asked her, “Does that say Mommy or does that say Lillian?” and she replies, “It is me!” So I don’t think she actually thinks her name is Baby. Lillian is our one and only child and although she has two cousins they are both teenagers and have grown taller than me! I guess the name fits as she truly is the baby in our immediate family. 

She probably calls herself Baby because I used to greet her each morning with “Good morning my beautiful baby” and throughout the day I would smile at her and say, “What a sweet baby!” Or she may have chosen to call herself Baby because she has two names. Some people call her Lillian while others call her Lilly and to end all of the confusion she may have decided to simplify things by calling herself Baby. I guess my baby, I mean Lillian, is smarter than I think! 

Being the little perfectionist that she is she probably can’t say Lillian or Lilly so she calls herself Baby which she can say loud and clear. After all the initial /l/ sound is a five year old articulation norm while the /b/ sound is a two year old articulation norm. 

Perhaps she calls herself Baby because she has been talking to her friends at The Little Gym. Maybe she is worried another little human will join our family and take her place as the baby. Three of the library girls, along with her neighborhood friend, have recently announced their second pregnancies. So in a few months many of her friends will gain a new name and will be called Big Sister. 

“Nobody puts Baby in the corner” has become part of our modern culture and carries a positive meaning. So maybe when my little one calls herself Baby she is really saying don’t let anyone tell you they are better than you and never let anyone make you hide who you really are. The world deserves to see you shine and everyone has the right to be heard, loved and to dance! Powerful words to live by and ones I hope Lillian remembers and applies to her life. 
My sweet Lillian, I may never know exactly why you call yourself Baby, but please never forget that you will always be my baby no matter how old you are or how tall you grow. I think is is appropriate to close this piece with the loving words Robert Munsch penned in his famous book “Love You Forever.”

“I’ll love you forever,

I’ll like you for always,

as long as I’m living

my baby you’ll be.”