Thursday, September 30, 2010
Lets just say that when I was pregnant and planning how I was going to birth/feed/diaper/sleep with etc my baby, my In-laws were not exaaaactly thrilled about my plans. They were (and perhaps still are) firmly of the opinion that I was completely insane and probably going to ruin my baby in the process. It was their job to stop me and "save my baby". I endured 10 months of lectures and arguments based not on fact but that things like Pampers, formula, pacifiers etc were the "modern" way of doing things and why would you want to do things the "hard" way when the other options were so much "better"(cringe)? Blah de friggin blah.
My Mother in Law nearly did celebratory backflips when I was dragged to the hospital to have my baby ripped out of me (no not bitter there at all) as in her mind, being cut open was so much better than giving birth at home. She reluctantly tolerated my breastfeeding but was much happier when she had a bottle of Expressed Breast Milk to feed him because "how else will you know how much he is eating". She fussed about covering me up when I was nursing and stressed about the fact that we didn't give the baby a mutzets(pacifier) as "how else will she get him to sleep, he just wants tzitzi(boobie)". Somehow despite not knowing how much he was eating, or not having a plastic wanna-be-boobie in his mouth 24/7, he has managed to figure out how to grow, and how to sleep.
I simply had to learn to bite my tongue for the most part, in the interest of family harmony and because I really do love my MIL and know that she honestly believes what she is doing is right, no matter how wrong she is. I stubbornly persisted in doing what I KNEW was right, though sometimes it meant coming home to my husband and ranting for a good half and hour (or hour and a half) about well, everything. Lord love the man, he hasn't committed me yet.
5 months in. Still Breastfeeding. Still Co-sleeping. Still Cloth Diapering. Still no Pacifier. Believe it or not, our little Monkey is still alive and well and getting more fat and sassy by the day.
September is basically a month long holiday in Israel due to Rosh Hashanah, Yom Kippur, Sukkot and Simha Torah. There is alot of family dinner-ing going on and the baby is, of course, the star of the show. Last week, I went to a Barbecue in the woods outside of Modiin (a city about halfway between Tel Aviv and Jerusalem. The whole Fam Damily was there and since we were picnicking in the woods, I did not bring EBM as I had no way of keeping it cool, no way of heating it up, and frankly I couldn't really be bothered as I was having supply issues and it was a heck of alot easier for him to get it straight from the tap. About an hour into the meal, the Little Man decided that it was HIS turn to eat, and if I wasn't going to hand him my chicken leg, Boobie was a close second. I had brought a hammock and tied it up into the trees specifically to have a quiet place to nurse a bit away from the balagan (craziness) that is my family so I went there to sit down and nurse. Unfortunately there was too much going on around him, children playing etc, that he got distracted and just ended up biting me (OUCH) and fussing to sit up. So we took a bit of a break and played some more and finally I realized was really wiped out and HAD to have a bit of Boobie and some sleep.
By this point the hammock had been taken over by the young kids at the picnic and I really didn't have anywhere to go so I simply sat down at the table where everyone was eating and latched the Little Man on, bracing myself to fend off the swarm of meddling Savtas (Grandmothers) that would inevitably begin throwing blankets and fussing. Deep breath... Wait for it... Wait for it.... Nothing....
I was stunned. No one even blinked. No one tried to cover (smother) me, there wasn't so much as a pause in the conversation. No one. Even. Blinked. (And the crowd goes WILD!!!) I had finally nursed enough in front of my family that they realized it was going to happen regardless, that it was to damned HOT in this country to cover the poor baby with a blanket, that if they tried to do it, I was going to take it off anyways, and that it was a normal, natural, not harmful or icky or gross thing. I was so proud of myself that I just sat there grinning. WIN!!!
Not long after, the Little Man finished his nap and was propped happily on his Babushka (my MIL's) knee, doing his Stevie Wonder dance and singing to the crowd when one of the Savtas mentioned that we needed to give him a Mutzets (Pacifier). Seriously?? AT 5 months without one, you STILL think he can't possibly survive with a plastic fake wanna-be-boobie in his mouth?? I cringed preparing for a fight when again to my surprise, my MIL said "If they don't want to give him mutzets, then no mutzets.."
Insert Jaw drop here.
Admittedly I still have fears about my In-laws caring for the baby. Not because I think that they will hurt him or something like that (because I know that the sun absolutely shines out of his perfect little tushy in their eyes), but because our parenting views are SO drastically different that I fear they might do something I am vehemently against and simply not tell me.
Our newest hurdle is solid food. Little Man is now 5 months and change and here is it quite common to start baby on purees/rice cereal (blech) as early as 3 months but more often around 4. Hubby and I are planning on doing Baby Led Weaning (see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Baby_led_weaning ) with the Little Man and I am hoping to give him at least 6 months of exclusive Breastfeeding if not 7 or 8 depending on how ready he is for solids (which if you go by his pinwheeling arms during mealtimes, is VERY). The concept of BLW literally boggles the minds of my In-laws. Most of the people they know with babies his age are eating mystery goop out of a spoon by now and that is what he "SHOULD" be doing. I am TERRIFIED that one day they will bring him home gushing about how cute it was when they fed him xy and z. I am MORE terrified of serving the jail time in Israeli prison after I rip them limb from limb. But I digress...
I insisted that hubby explain to my MIL that it was our choice not to start the Little Fat Man on solids yet and that WHEN we started him on solids, WE were giving the first food, and the first food would most certainly NOT be mystery mush. To his surprise (and most definitely mine) she agreed. She admitted that her friends had told her that she should just tell us she is doing everything our way and then do it her way, be it Sposies, Mutzets, mystery mush, what have you. She admitted that she had considered it but had decided ultimately that it was our baby, and that while she did not always agree, that ultimately she would respect us and do it our way.
Again, Insert Jaw Drop here.
I am so proud of myself for sticking to my guns on what I KNOW is right for MY child. I wish I had had the strength to stick to my guns for the homebirth that I SHOULD have had, but at least I have not compromised on any of my other parenting choices. People are coming around. They see how perfect he is, how lovely and happy and fat and delicious. He is clearly not suffering because he isn't chomping on a plastic wanna-be-boobie or starving to death without fake powdered wanna-be-boobie milk. And in the future when we do decide to give him solids and when those solids are actually solid, normal regular people food, not mystery mush that maybe once was solid normal regular people food, maybe they will see then too that he will not somehow spontaneously combust and that OUR way really IS what is right for OUR Little Fat Man.
But for now, I am very satisfied with the fact that there will be no blankets, no more suggestions of wanna be boobie replacer, that maybe, just maybe, people are gaining faith in us as parents. That we ARE doing it right:).