The Cereal Debate

Recently, it seems like every time I go to the beauty salon, the veteran moms bombard me with unwanted unsolicited advice. Like clockwork, they ask me the dreaded question, “How’s he sleeping?” Since I know that I’d feel convicted if I lied to them, I answer honestly, “He doesn’t sleep through the night.” Without fail, the advice begins.

“Girl, give him a warm bath!”

“Don’t let him sleep during the day!”

And the relentless, “Put some cereal in his bottle!”

Since I had K, every time I go to the beauty salon, I get the “Put some cereal in his bottle” argument. That’s been for 4 months! Now, I have no problem with receiving advice from those who’ve gone before me, but this cereal thing is really starting to get on my nerves! (And Lorrie, if you ever read this, it’s all in good fun!)

I’m very sensitive about K’s feedings. It started in the hospital when after attempting to breastfeed for 3 days, my little one lost a few ounces because my milk hadn’t come in and the nurses advised me to supplement with formula. I had a fit. Maybe it was the hormones, but I cried and cried at the thought of giving my new, perfect baby a manmade formula—especially when God had blessed me with more than enough equipment to do the job! I was a mess! I sobbed and sobbed. I felt like a failure. Everyone tried to calm me and tell me how normal it was to supplement before the milk came in, but I wasn’t comforted. I hated the idea…until K stayed up all night wanting to be in my arms for the duration. I finally caved in and gave him the formula. I haven’t been right since! I kept breastfeeding until my milk came in, and I still am breastfeeding, but I’m still sensitive about the whole feeding thing! And it doesn’t help when every time K fusses a little bit, the older women around me suggest he’s hungry and that I should “give him a bottle.” I mean come on! He could be wet, tired, bored! He’s not always hungry! Where’s the support for the breastfeeding Mom? Now that K’s a little bit older, the new thing is “Give him cereal.” Argh!

The main reason why I don’t want to give K cereal right now is he’s only 4 months and the doctor suggested I wait until 6 months. And I don’t want to see him go through the pain that he went through when I gave him the milk-based formula. That’s when the liquid green poop started! I believe he is allergic or lactose intolerant. I now supplement breastfeeding with Nutramigen, and I don’t want to continue to “experiment” on my son. I know you experienced Moms are probably laughing at me, but I have a little Mommy guilt when it comes to the feedings. I want to do what’s right.

Where’s the divine lesson Lord?

Proverbs 12:15 (NIV) says, “The way of fools seems right to them, but the wise listen to advice.” I don’t think I know it all, but I do know what’s best for my baby. Just kidding! Maybe the Lord is trying to teach me humility through this? I do have a little bit of pride when it comes to taking advice for K. I hate it when people act as if they’re the expert on K and I’m the one with him 24 hours a day. I believe Mommy knows best. But, the Lord does send people into our lives to speak words of knowledge and wisdom. Maybe I need to be more open to it when it comes to K? Hebrews 13:2 (NRSV) does say, “Do not neglect to show hospitality to strangers, for by doing that some have entertained angels without knowing it.” Maybe these women are ministering spirits trying to help me get more sleep!

Well, I’m not convinced yet. I won’t be adding cereal to tonight’s feeding, but I will examine my life through God’s lens and see if there are areas where I am being a fool and not listening to advice. In the meantime, it’ll be sleepless nights for me.

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