Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Breastmilk works!

Today my baby had his eight-week well checkup. I think I can claim Mommy-milk bragging rights when I tell you about this baby. He was born 8lbs., 3.5oz., you may recall. At two weeks (actually, 17 days), he was 9lbs., 14oz. And today? 14lbs., 14.5oz. (Probably if I had fed him before being weighed, he'd have broken 15 pounds!) He's off the charts for weight!

I realize that having a big baby doesn't mean I'm a better mom or anything. It's all genetics, after all. It's just very satisfying to know that I'm giving him everything he needs. He's being fed exclusively breastmilk, and I don't think you'll find anyone who will say he's not getting enough to eat! You should see his thighs!

Just for an interesting comparison (although, as my preschool-teacher mom always says, slightly facetiously, "You shouldn't compare children!"), my first son, who was mostly formula fed, was born 9lbs., 1oz. I apparently didn't write down his two-week weight, but at eight weeks, he was 14lbs., 13oz. So, almost the same as his baby brother. But he started out bigger!

The middle boy was on a slightly different trajectory, since he was born a couple of weeks early. He was born at 7lbs., 6oz. At two weeks, he was 8lbs., 1oz., and at eight weeks, he was 13lbs., 1oz. So his weight gain was similar to the baby's, but he's smaller overall (still is!).

I think this interesting study, with a very small sample of three genetically similar individuals, shows that breastfed babies grow faster in the first couple of months than formula-fed babies. Or maybe it's just genetics. But still, it's cool to really be able to see that breastmilk works.

Speaking of breastmilk working, my middle son randomly came down with croup. He's on the mend, nothing serious, but he's congested and coughing a lot. I thought I'd try giving him some breastmilk to drink tonight, to see if it might help his throat. Croup is the inflammation of the voice box and windpipe. Breastmilk has anti-inflammatory properties. So... would it help? I expressed about an ounce or two into a paper cup and gave it to him to drink. He drank it down and asked for more. I wonder if he has a residual memory of the flavor of breastmilk. He only weaned in January, but he says he doesn't remember nursing. When I'd attempt to give breastmilk to my first son when he was sick, he generally wasn't a big fan, so it's possible his palate developed more attuned to the flavor of formula.

I did have a breastfeeding-isn't-working moment today, though it's not exactly what it sounds like. I'm a big believer in using nursing as comfort, when necessary. The baby had his first round of shots today, and I'd planned on just nursing him afterward to soothe him. I did that, and he went to sleep and was fine for several hours. Unfortunately, he woke up crying. I assumed he was hungry, as it had been several hours since he'd last eaten. I tried to get him to nurse, but he wouldn't nurse! He just cried and cried. How was I to comfort him if he wouldn't take the boob? I remembered my middle son doing the same thing after his first shots. The only thing that helped was to give him some infant Tylenol and let him go back to sleep. When he woke up, he was fine. Same thing happened with the baby today. But it made me feel so helpless that he was too upset to nurse. When he woke up again, he ate very well, slept some more, nursed some more, slept some more, and right now he's playing happily, staring up at his "friends" - a mobile of a zebra, giraffe, and lion - smiling and cooing. Too cute.

There's really nothing that compares with the expression on a baby's face when he's done nursing, pops off, and looks up at you with glazed eyes and pure bliss. They call it being "milk drunk," and I can think of no better description. What could be better than getting your fill of warm, sweet milk?

P.S. I'd like some input on how to refer to my kids here. I'm usually pretty open with my name and my kids' names on the internet, especially on Facebook, but somehow I feel that on this blog, whose viewers I have less control over, I maybe don't want to use my kids' real names. It's becoming awkward trying to refer to them as Son #1, the oldest, or what-have-you, so I'm thinking maybe they need blog nicknames? What are your thoughts? Nicknames, numbers, real names? What's the best way to do this?