Star Powered Parenting 1

For those of you who may have missed the announcement on our Twitter and Facebook pages, my wife gave birth to our son Leto over the weekend.  Mom and baby are doing great, and we’re very grateful for all the good thoughts and well-wishes people have sent our way.

Since I’m a new dad, I will probably take the opportunity to blog about our adventures in being first time parents more than once, hence the number following the “Star Powered Parenting” title of today’s entry.

Our original plan was to breastfeed Leto, since it’s best for him and my wife.  While we were at the hospital, he was doing great.  Latching on, eating plenty, causing Alyssa to make many “wow he’s latched on tight!” faces as he was feeding.  But then came time to take him home.  As we were being discharged from the hospital and we were buckling him in to his car seat, he began to cry quite loudly and became very fussy.  The nurse attending us asked us if we wanted to give him a pacifier.  All the lactation consultants had told us to wait 2-3 weeks to introduce a pacifier, or at least until regular breastfeeding was established.  We expressed this, but the nurse said it shouldn’t be a big deal.  We accepted the pacifier, and were amazed at how quickly he was, well, pacified!  The car ride home was quiet, and everything looked to be going according to plan…

…until we tried to breastfeed him at home that night.  He simply would not accept my wife’s breast, and despite every trick we were taught to get him latched on, nothing was working.  I can tell you that I have never felt so profound a fear as we did that night.  It was our first night in our new home with our newborn son, with no nurses to come at the press of a button, and we could not feed our baby.  To put it lightly, we were a mess.

The next day I rushed out to buy a breast pump.  We had gotten one for our baby shower, but it was missing a part and we were waiting for its replacement to arrive.  Waiting was no longer an option, so I bought a whole second pump.  Much to our relief, Leto gulped the breast milk right up through the bottle.  We may or may not have cried a little.  I’ll never tell.

Few plans survive the battlefield, they say, and ours had to be modified.  Leto is still getting breast milk, and Alyssa’s body is producing it normally, but there’s just a slight twist to our plan.  We wanted to introduce these bottles for when she went back to work in a few months, not a few days after our son’s birth.  But the most important thing is that he’s eating, not how he gets it.

Here’s what we learned, and what we would have done differently: – We should not have accepted that pacifier so early.  We’re certain it caused nipple confusion in our son. – We should have kept calm.  Freaking out helps no one. – We should have been more open to alternatives that night.  Our hospital encouraged direct breastfeeding, which is good, but did little to speak of alternatives like formula or even breast pumps at these early stages.  We were so focused on what had been working that we weren’t trying to think of what else could have worked instead. – We learned what profound parental fear feels like.

I’ll post more on my parenting adventures as interesting stories emerge.  I won’t bore you with how cute my son is and/or every stage of his development.  I plan to do that to my family.

About Michael

Michael Terracciano loves comic books, superheroes, outer space, and telling stories. His friends call him "Mookie." He spent the last ten years as the author and artist of the fantasy webcomic, "Dominic Deegan: Oracle for Hire." He enjoys spending time with his wife and their three cats. His favorite planet is Jupiter because it's awesome. He wants having superpowers to be fun again, and for this to be a universe you want to escape to, not from. He hopes you enjoy reading Star Power.