The Full Feeding



Every parenting book tells you to do it.

“From Day 1, work with your infant to get a full feeding. Nothing is more important to their sleep and well-being.”

I really do take this to heart, but man it’s hard. Especially in the middle of the night when Malachi and I are both falling back to sleep after about seven minutes… and I’m so tempted just to tip-toe over to the crib, lay him down, and sneak back to my bed as if that seven minutes will tide him over until morning. The only thing keeping me in the nursery, doing jumping jacks, changing his diaper, pattin’ his back, and rubbing his earlobes is the reality that his quick 7-minute nursing will buy me 15 minutes of sleep, whereas a full 30-minute feeding will buy me 3 hours. It’s a no-brainer, but when I have no brain, it’s hard to do the right thing. It’s even harder for Malachi to do the right thing. Poor kid. After a few minutes, he feels all warm and satisfied, so he lays his head back, purses his little milky lips, and starts to snore. Bliss, he thinks.  And there is nothing he can do about the great seven-course meal that he’s missing out on. Until, of course, he wakes up screaming in ten minutes because he’s starving again. So up on my shoulder he goes for the burping!

Believe it or not, this actually reminded me about the way in which I read Scripture. Sometimes, I go in for the quick fix. I’m so happy and fat-feeling with a good 3-minute read of a Psalm – or better yet, a Proverb. I read the words, smile, pray, and frolic off for the day, thinking that those few light minutes will tide me over. But then it’s breakfast time and my arms are full with a boppy and a baby at the kitchen table, trying to hold the baby steady while I somehow fill glasses with water, get Vivienne honey for her Cream of Wheat, apologize helplessly to Lia saying oops, she didn’t want salt on hers, and dig into my own warm, creamy bowl only to plop some on the baby. As pathetic as it sounds, that’s enough to bring me to the end of myself. It’s only been ten minutes since I read that great verse (what was it again?) and my spirit is starving.  My days are so much better when I hunker down and read for a good 20 minutes or 30 minutes (a luxury for a sleep-deprived mommy). When I really meditate on the words and think seriously about what they mean and how they affect my life, is like getting the full feeding. I might have to pull on my earlobes to keep myself going, but my spirit gets truly full.