Wednesday, January 30, 2013

It's Important to Feed a Hungry Baby

In my classes, we've talked about so many topics that are interesting to me (and I'd certainly hope that's the case; it would be silly to get a master's degree in something that doesn't interest me). A recent discussion in my human growth and development class has been on my mind.

We were talking about Erikson's eight stages of development, specifically the first stage (trust vs. mistrust). In short, this is a very important stage that babies go through; it sets the stage for so much more of their lifespan development. Children come out of this stage with a sense of whether or not people can be trusted in close relationships, and this is determined largely by how consistently their needs are met-- particularly hunger. This says a lot to me about how important it is for parents to respond to their babies' hunger cues rather than implementing a strict feeding schedule! For babies, responding immediately to their hunger is about more than just nutrition; it helps them understand that their parents will respond to their needs. 

But we also discussed breastfeeding-- both the benefits of it and the struggles many mothers face (physical, emotional, lack of support in the workplace and culture, etc). And an interesting thought occurred to me. I haven't researched it extensively, but I think it makes sense...

Many women struggle to make enough milk for their babies, and many babies have trouble gaining weight. This often causes moms to discontinue breastfeeding. Obviously there could be a variety of factors at play here, but I wonder if one of these factors could be scheduled feedings. A mom's body makes milk on a supply-and-demand basis. So suppose the baby is hungry, the mom's body has the milk all ready, but the baby is not nursed until a set time. It won't take long for the mom's body to scale back milk production based on when the baby is fed (which in this case would not correspond with the baby's initial hunger). But I wonder... could that possibly lead to a reduction in supply to the point that the baby isn't getting enough milk, or isn't gaining enough weight because he/she is being fed at scheduled times rather than immediately upon becoming hungry? I wonder how often supply problems or weight gain problems could be remedied by nursing on cue rather than on a fixed schedule?

Like I said, I've not put a lot of research into this, and I'm certainly not saying that's the only reason these problems might occur. But I do think it's a possibility worth considering if the mom and baby are having these issues. 

At any rate, regardless of whether parents are breastfeeding or bottle feeding, feeding on cue rather than on a schedule seems like a biologically appropriate choice when you take into account a baby's physical and emotional needs. I would personally be very, very cautious about advice to schedule a baby's feedings. Some babies naturally fall into a predictable pattern, some don't-- but that's okay! Being responsive to their needs builds trust, which is very important throughout life. 

Thursday, January 24, 2013

My Tentative Return...

So... a couple years ago, I got this idea. I had been blogging for a long time at that point. Things had been going pretty well on my little blog here; I had several readers, and some really thoughtful and interesting conversations took place in the comments. So I decided it was time to step it up a notch, purchase my own domain, and become a Real Blogger. No, that's not a thing, but in my mind it was this level of blogging awesomeness that I simply had to achieve. ;) My own name was available for purchase, so I did it.

But it's just... not working. I wish I could explain why it's different, but I can't. I mean, part of the problem is that I posted less frequently and I didn't do much to promote my posts like I had previously. I think I just felt... scared and overwhelmed, maybe? Whether it makes sense or not, there is something incredibly intimidating to me about having my own name in the web address. Like... everything I ever post there has to represent exactly who I am, and I feel like I have to be so cautious and careful about what I say and how I say it, because what if I accidentally misrepresent myself? Or what if I say something and later change my mind, but now that opinion is out there with my name all over it for anyone to see?

That last one is kind of funny because that's a risk I run as I return to this blog. I've looked back over it, and while there are many things I've written that I still totally agree with, there are other areas where my views have softened or strengthened due to further thought or life experience. I guess that's how it is with life, but when we live so much of our lives online, in such a publicly viewable way, it becomes even more obvious.

So if you are looking back and you see anything that doesn't quite sound like the me you know, take it with a grain of salt. Whenever I write something, all I can do is draw on my experiences up to that point. For that matter, I could say the same of anything I write from here on out. Where I am today may not be where I am in six months, or a year, or five years. I hope not, anyway, because that would indicate a level of stagnation that I'm not comfortable with. ;)

I was going to try to quietly move my posts from my newer blog back over here, and just keep the original dates on them so this one is seamless and doesn't have a two-year posting gap. Now that I've put the first few of them on here, I see that they are going to flood Google reader as though they're brand new posts, even though the post date is from 2ish years ago. So... um... sorry about that. You might be seeing a lot of posts from me over the next few days/weeks as I move stuff over here.

Anyway, I'm looking forward to posting here a lot more!

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

The Little Things

The question was posed to me: What would you most like to hear God say to you when you get to heaven?

I knew almost immediately what my true answer was, but it felt too personal to vocalize at that moment; I felt vulnerable. So I opted instead for a funny answer. Humor is all too often my go-to response when I feel like the conversation could be approaching some of the more tender spots in my heart. Defense mechanism, I suppose.

But I’ve had more time to think about it since then, and I want to give my serious answer.
I would love to hear God say, “I saw all the ‘little things’ you did and said, the sacrifices you made, the things you thought no one else noticed or appreciated… and I want you know that those things really did matter.”

Deep down, I know that I make choices based on what I believe in my heart is the right thing. It’s not about praise or affirmation from others. I’m not in it for recognition or appreciation. But every now and then, in those moments where I am feeling the most tapped out, when I feel that I have given and given until there is nothing left to give– yet more must still be given– in those moments there is something within me that desperately wants to know that it matters. That someone notices. That what I do/say/give is appreciated. That it really does make a difference. I think sometimes, if I knew that, it would help renew my energy and I would not feel so depleted.

And so part of me hopes that God notices, regardless of whether other people do. I hope that someday God will say to me, “I noticed. I saw. I heard. What you did mattered. It made a difference. Well done.”