Sunday, January 2, 2011

Adventures In Baby Feeding

Photo credit: The Dabblist

I've always liked to imagine myself a progressive, new-aged mother. I gave birth naturally and drug-free. I breast fed my daughter for as long as she would possibly take it. I even made all her baby food, cringing at the thought of trusting a jarred equivalent. When she was a newborn, I would scoop Lina out of her lonely little bassinet and tuck her snuggly in bed with me, convinced that sleeping next to her mama was the best way to foster the special bond that was growing between us, mother and daughter.

Since the beginning of my life-changing journey through motherhood, I've always felt a sort of liberal, hippy dippy vibe within me. And I still do. But of course it was only a matter of time before the realities of being a full-time working mom settled in. With a workday that begins with a 5:00 am wake up call and an hour and a half commute to Brooklyn, I'm barely able to find the time to brush my teeth in the morning, let alone whip up organic baby food from scratch. So I caved. A couple months back, I gradually began integrating jarred food into Lina's diet. I kept telling myself, "It's organic, it's the good kind, this is what every mother in America does, it's ok!" But still, this strange sense of guilt and failure sort of washed over me. It was similar to how I felt back when we started mixing formula into Lina's bottles in place of breastmilk. The very idea seemed to go against what felt natural to me. Why give my baby an expensive, manufactured form of milk when I got the good stuff right here? Not to mention the fact that I looked forward to nursing her. It was an evening ritual that soothed both myself and Lina at the end of a crazy day. It also served as a special time for us to just be together. But one day, when Lina was about six months old, she simply didn't want to nurse anymore. And I was heartbroken, convinced it was a sign that my baby no longer felt close to me. I even cried over it (which I'm sure only convinced Mike even more that he had indeed married a nut job). But the truth of the matter was that with me working full-time during the day, Lina had simply grown accustomed to being bottle fed. Perhaps she was even just growing up, which may have been a little hard for her lunatic mother to accept.

But low and behold, the formula did Lina just fine. And so did the jarred food. I may have started out as a mom who turned her nose up to anything that wasn't "natural," but honestly, who am I kidding? In the end, what's worked best for us has been a sort of fusion of holistic, organic approaches with real life tweaks. And I think we're doing ok.

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