After all, he doesn't remember how he was fed as an infant. He doesn't know how he was born. He doesn't know how I cried over not breastfeeding him, how I wrestled with the decision to attempt a VBAC with his brother, how my experiences with him have shaped my life. Six years have put me in a completely different place, a different mindset, and a different role than I ever imagined for myself.
At six, NJ eats regular solid foods, sleeps through the night in his own bed, showers and dresses himself, brushes his own teeth, is reasonably healthy, goes to school every morning, and talks a mile a minute. You can't tell, looking at my six-year-old, that he was formula fed. You can't tell that he was born by c-section. You won't see that I spent months of his infancy struggling with PPD because of the mode of his birth and my perceived "failure" at breastfeeding.
I remember baby NJ, and I remember giving him bottles, the pain of the c-section. But, as for him, you don't see a formula-fed baby when you look at him today. You don't see the perfectly round head of a baby delivered by c-section. You don't see the bottles or the cans of formula. That's not what makes a person. That's a year or two lived in the blink of an eye. That's not what you see when you look at my six-year-old.
What I hope you will see is a boy who knows he is loved, a boy who loves his parents and his brothers, a boy who is concerned for his family's well-being. What I hope you will see is a tall, handsome, red-headed boy full of curiosity and ideas about the world, optimistic and enthusiastic. What I hope you will see is an affectionate and talkative boy, a bright boy, an outgoing and uninhibited boy.
And he is a boy now.
He is no longer a floppy, perfect newborn.