What I’ve learned from my baby:

* Every baby is different. What worked for me may not work for you. So take all advice/anecdotes/wisdom (not just mine) with a grain of salt. Learning for yourself is half the fun, right?

* Not only can I put my baby in a sling, but the pouch of the sling can be used to stow a burp cloth, wallet, keys or any other small item. So I don’t have to tote that diaper bag into the bank with me.

* If I have any questions at all about breastfeeding, whether it’s if the baby’s latching on, why my nipples hurt like all get out, how much the baby should be wetting/pooping, etc., I am not afraid to call a lactation consultant or a La Leche League leader. They are there to help and no question is too stupid!

As someone who “felt” that something wasn’t right with her baby’s latch and didn’t ask and then reaped the consequences, I can’t stress this enough. I’m all for trusting my body and all, but without an integrated support system of family members and friends who are breastfeeding experts (as it was in the past), I wish that I had utilized these modern-day experts better early on.

* Pay attention to the baby’s diapers. Keep track of how many wet and poopy diapers he has every day until he is a couple of weeks old and he’s got a pattern established. If he is not wetting enough, this is a problem. I learned this the hard way. Pooping is important, but this seems to vary a lot from baby to baby. Auggie never pooped as much as every other bf baby, it seemed. Those babies all seemed to poop after every feeding as newborns. Sometimes Auggie would go every-other day — lots. We’re talking major blow-outs here.

* Nothing contains newborn bf baby poo. Pretreat those adorable little outfits before throwing them into the hamper, or they’ll be trashed.

* Sing what I know. Don’t worry about the nursery rhymes and other lullabies. He has no idea what I’m saying anyway. For the first few months of Auggie’s life, Tim sang every Guided By Voices song that he knew to calm the baby.

* For us, and I want to stress FOR US, sleeping with us for the first seven or eight months of his life was a bad idea. It was great the first few months, since he needed to nurse at night, but I’ve come to believe the advice: at three months, have the baby sleeping where you want them to be sleeping at one year. Now that I have a very kicky 11 month-old, trust me, I want him sleeping in his own bed.

I loved the idea of having a “family bed” — I did! But it became clear early on that he was using nursing as a crutch to fall asleep. Now, when babies are newborns, they sleep all the time, so nursing to sleep is a natural cycle. However, we came to believe that it was important that Auggie learn to fall asleep on his own. This was extremely hard to do at seven months. He liked sleeping with us. He liked nursing all night long. It took weeks of crying (his and ours) to get him comfortable with the concept. Now, he is much more comfortable sleeping in his bed than ours. When I bring him into bed to nurse when he wakes up at 6 in the morning, he doesn’t go back to sleep. He’s ready to get up and start the day with daddy. Mommy and daddy wish he would nap…

* Auggie took at least one bottle a day everyday from 2 weeks to 8 weeks, and when I stopped giving them to him at 8 weeks, he had totally forgotten what to do with them by 11 weeks. He never took a bottle again. We started him on a sippy cup at 4 months, but he still didn’t really get the hang of that until 6 months or so. So we didn’t really go out for longer than an hour or two for a long time. It was tragic. We missed the Dismemberment Plan.

* Cloth diapers are a beautiful thing.

* Used baby clothes are God’s gift to budgets.

* Nursing was not only the best choice for my baby, it was a great choice for me. After having him naturally, I was ready to jump tall buildings in a single bound once I got home. Not wise, when you’ve got a placenta-sized open wound inside yourself. Nursing him around the clock kept me off of my feet. The awesome hormone prolactin kept me relaxed. It still does. We dozed together while he nursed, which helped me get that much-needed rest. Now, nursing has evolved into not only a means of providing nurishment and security for August. It is comfort for a bumped noggin, an instant chill-pill for a fussy, cranky boy, a time-out for a frazzled mommy. We reconnect, literally and emotionally.

* I think the thing that kept me nursing, even at the darkest hours of the night when the baby slept, yet I had to wake up and pump to build my supply back up, was thinking about how much I would regret quitting. Looking at the nursing shirts I had bought while still pregnant and thinking about how I would never get to use them. Thinking about the bottles, the nipples, the cans and cans of nasty-smelling formula. I decided to stop the pumping and just nurse until my supply was totally gone. Here I am, 11 months later, and nothing’s dried up yet!

That’s all I can think of right now.