9 months out

Dear Ben,

You are 9 months old!

There is an expression I heard recently: “9 months on, 9 months off” and it applies to the weight you gain during pregnancy and how long it takes for it to come off. I think there is some truth to this. (I put on my jeans yesterday and found that I could actually breathe) but there is another one that resonated even more that I heard: “Nine months in, Nine months out.”

You are nine months out!

I’ve noticed lately that people keep calling you a “happy baby” which they never did before. They used to say, “He’s so chill!” or “What a sweet smile!” or even “He’s so serious!” but now you’ve got something else going on in addition to your handsomeness, charm and overall cuteness appeal. You are a happy baby now! And although it probably has little to do with me, I smile and take the credit and say, “I know.. he’s SO happy!” and I gloat just a teeny weeny bit.

As I write this, I am developing a theory that maybe, just maybe, you are entering happy baby phase because you are finally getting all the food you need. I’ve been weaning you slowly from breastfeeding over the last couple of months, trying desperately to get you to take the bottle. You have been, shall we say, a bit stubborn about it and prefer to take what little milk I can offer you than have a full meal at the bottle. This results in mama being a full time, all-night snack shack and you being a tiny bird of a boy.

Anyway, there is a lot to celebrate about all this weaning business.

I am proud of us that we were able to sort out the breastfeeding thing at all. It was so hard! Do you remember? For the first 3 weeks of your life you were SO hungry and didn’t know how to latch and I didn’t know how to get you to latch and we didn’t know you were hungry and you would cry all night and it was such a nightmare! Then there were all the lactation consultants and La Leche League and hospital grade breast pumps and I was bleeding and in terrible pain and you were like a tiny torture chamber and I was terrified to feed you because it was SO PAINFUL but of course I had to every two hours, and I would cry the entire time and then you would cry later because you couldn’t get enough milk.

There was so much crying during that first month.

Anyway, it is nothing short of a miracle that I was able to breastfeed you at all. I can’t believe that I didn’t quit. But after six long weeks, we figured it out. Our first major collaboration. High five dude!

I also want to say that I learned something really important throughout this process. For as much as I am proud that we stuck with it, there was also an opportunity for me to have taken another path. I have thought about this a lot in retrospect… about how if we had simply put you on the bottle when things were so hard there would have been some great advantages to that too. You would have likely gained weight at a more “normal” rate, you might have slept through the night many months sooner, and overall have gotten the nutrition you needed. (Not to mention that I wouldn’t have felt so inadequate and worried all the time.)

There’s an expression you’ll hear when you get older called “The path of least resistance” and I am a big fan. Often, when things are really hard and full of struggle and you’ve done everything you can and it’s still not working, it’s time to ask yourself, “How can this go more smoothly? Is there an easier way? Is there something I can let go of?” And if you look inside, you’ll see that there often is.

In this case, I didn’t choose the easiest path and I don’t regret it. I just see now that there were two good paths, with gifts and challenges in both. I think I thought that breastfeedng you was THE RIGHT PATH and I didn’t have any options. Come hell or high water, I had to make it work. This was not true. I think this will prove to be a good lesson for me in the future, both in parenting you and in the rest of my life.

Okay dude. I know this was a long one and there was a lot of boring adult stuff in here, so I appreciate you listening.

You totally rock.
And you and your adorable little frame are truly perfect.

Happy 9 months my love.


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