Your grandchild tells about pregnancy, childbirth, and lactation
Revised Danish edition July 2009
Helga Wolf. Published by FADL 1989. Copyright Helga I Wolf
A book which tells:
A new team of Grandparents are moving!
Your new Grandchild reminds you of your old days and tells about life in mother's womb, childbirth, and lactation.
Your Grandchild knows, despite its age much, and has many funny observations, that are nice to read about before Grandmother will have a baby in here arms one more time.
Doctor Helga Wolf led the pen for the child, helped by her own 5 children and many other children and adults.
Perhaps you are my grandfather or something else. I'd love to name you as you want.
Now I am on my way. I know it barely even yet. I have no ideas about the future. I can feel when my mother is happy and when she is sad. It is as if it is me who am happy or sad atthe same time.
Now I am become so big that my mother can feel when I am kicking. She can best feel it at night when she is calm. It's fun to flounder or wiggle my body, because mother becomes completely quiet, if she is not too busy. Now mom says, that she is sure that I am here.
Mom has been offered a lot of examinations, that grandmother has never tried. Mom heard about them from girl friends. It is not as in old days when she could ask her mother about everything about me. Today you should be a specialist in order to answer the questions. And even then, no other person can choose for the mother. Mom must find out herself.
I feel that a mother needs to talk to Dad about what is good. And she also needs to talk to you, hear about your experience, get word of what she feels and thinks and then decide what she wants. Mom is not used to determine something as important as me. She has only a faint idea of what kind of being I am. It will take years for her to get to know who I am.
Mom wonders much at me, and dad has also started to wonder what all this is about. Mom gets even in doubt whether she can handle it, and whether it is was whatshe wanted, but now is not the time to regret. I can be quite frightened when she is crying. I can deal better that she told off and is angry, because it goes faster. Soon I will be happy again. Mom is sometimes wildly glad, it is wonderful, but I might be tired of it at length.
I think there are many things a mother must give thought. She chooses father again, she chooses our apartment again, she is talking about floors, furniture, curtains, car, food, water, vitamins, minerals and everything else. She must just think of everything in connection with me. It is nice, although she gets sorry sometimes.
Now I have a size, so that dad can feel when I kick or wiggle my body. Then father and mother laugh.
Now I am 20 weeks old and can hear both mother's and father's voices. It's great. I can hear when they play music for me and that they speak with you when you are visiting. I can hear when they quarrel. I do not understand what they say, but I can feel whether mother is happy or not. I think it reassures me, if she tells me that it is not me, she's mad at, and ifshe tells me when all is well again.
Mother and father can ask you about a lot of things from when they were small. It is not certain you can remember what it was like many years ago. One can easily forget things that just passed, and one can forget things that were not nice. Sometimes it may take a few days before you remember what actually happened on time. I am still too young to have that problem.
I grow, mother grows, my water hollow back grows, and some times it tightens around me. It fits all the time to size so that it keeps about me and my placenta. It is training contractions.
Sometimes mother wears clothes that are too tight. then I complain by jumping, until she understands it. Mom and dad are busy. They say everything must be ready, for my arrival. When it gets too wild for me, I startkicking until mother understands that I need a break.
Mom can sit for avery long time and work on something. I do not know whether it is a PC or what it is. Then I get problems, because I am lying on the blood vessels, that gives me food, and pet for me. The vessels do not work well when mother is sitting stock-still for avery long time. She has to feel after if I am well, and then walk a little, or let me and her stomach hang just so I can gain fresh air before she will sit quietly again. I do not like to drive by car for more than 1-1 ½ hours at a time.
Now I can drink amniotic fluid. It is a nice feeling down in the throat. I can drink enough to get a hiccup. I also draw breath with a little water. It is because I prepare myself to get out. I hiccup also when a mother is too cold. And sometimes I just hiccup.
The contractions are becoming stronger now, and they come several times every day. It is a real nice hug. I get only afraid when Mom becomes frightened.
Mom walks in a different way now. She rock me when she walks, and she rocks me often, when she sits. I like it. Mom is becoming tired of being pregnant. She groans and breathes, and issitting sometimes up at night to take a break - she says - and then she puts her hands on top of the stomach. She may also be able to place a cup on the stomach. She finds it difficult to find clothes that are big enough. I think she wants to get me out soon, even though it may cost some efforts.
Preparation to my birth
Mother speaks often about her mother, and wonders how it was when my mother herself was on her way. Mom is about to be ready to finish pregnancy. Mom is soon ready to give birth. I am nearly ready too, to let something new happen.
I lie with my head down. It feels safe and secure. I wriggle less when I am supported on my forehead that way.
Someone touches my head sometimes. It's fine when it is done gently. If they presstoo hard, I struggle.
Now and then, mom and dad hug me and rockme. They say they makelove. It does not matter when it doesn't get too hard.
Now mother has contractions more often. They push me furtherdown, and some of the amnion fluid is slipped out. Mother gets restless, and walks to and fro. It makes it easier for me to move down. I understand this is something new. But there is always something that is new to me. I can hear, I can see, I can suck my thumb. I think I am used to changes.
There is much talking, and mother alternates between being very pleased, and being worried or afraid. She alternates a bit faster than I am accustomed to, so I can feel, that it is something special for her. Uterus will continue to hug me and push me a little further down.
My first birthday
Hey - Hey, - Mom. Now I am sliding down. My goodness how it tightens on my head. I have bent my neck, I think. Something tickles in my hair. And it feels like having a tight cap screwed on. It tightens down on the ears. Mother makesnoise and pushes, and now my chin comesfree. Intermission. Something scratches in my nose, and I get a suction into the mouth,it makes noise. Some of my fluid is suckled away, and more is running beside my head. Now it pushes again and my shoulders are squeezed, and more amnion fluid comes out of me and I slip down. Hands and arms come free. Stomach, rump and legs slip to the outside. I lie soft, and get rubbed a little. It's cold. I am put on my mother's naked belly, and the umbilical cord is still pulsating. Mom is warm. Mom begins to touch me and totalk to me. Heavens, it sounds loud, and how much noise and light there is. I lie here and land slowly and get pink and I am listening to all the sounds. Some of them I know well. I am curious and look around with one eye. What can be done about it? I dare one eye more, and look at those who are there. The voices, this must be mother, and that must be dad.
I lie for a long time and look and smell and feel what it's like to be dry and out. It is not bad.
Suddenly, my stomach feels in a new way. I usually drink a little water when it is like this, but this time it is worse. I suck, but there is nothing. Everything is dry. Only mom's skin is slightly wet. Perhaps there may be more that way. I twist and wriggle and turn, and move a little, seeking with my mouth. Here is soft, my hand touches something that feels right. I twist and turn again, and the nipple is becoming more solid. I crawl to one side, and get the nipple on my cheek. It feels quite right, and now it smells quite wonderful. My lips find the nipple, it is so delicious, that I stop moving for a moment. There is a little sweet drip, and I lick it up, and seek for more, and get the nipple into my mouth. I try and try to catch it, but do not suck until mother understands to hold my upper lip near the nipple, and until I understand, that I have to suck on the new thing. Then they all make a great fuss. And I fall off again. After trying some more times I am a Champion at this. It is called food, I think. After a while I lose the interest in it, and I let go of the nipple again.
Now there is something different at the other end. It feels very strange, and I howl a little. Then it feels wet, just like before I was born, and I am happy again, until it becomes cold and nasty. Happily, I quickly am wiped dry again.
Many things happens, and finally I get tired, just like inside the stomach. Now I recognize it. I can work that out.
I wake up again. Everything is quiet. Mother's heart beats no more, it is too hot, while my hair is cold. My stomach is violently hungry and I get very scared. I get also afraid of the high sound, I can make.
Mom takes me into her arms, rocks me and gives me breast. When I have got some milk, she changes my diaper, and lets me suckle on the same nipple again. When I do not want this one anymore, she testes if I want something from the other side, and I get tired again. Mom may try to put me into the cradle again, but then I will have to scream out every time I need food. She can not know when my stomach wants to get more food. Mom had better let me lie with her whenever she is resting anyway, and Dad can also lie with me sometimes, when mom is busy. In that way I get used to rocking a little when I am hungry, and I will not get so scared all the time. I am lying safely between mother's and father's pillows at night. I may also be placed between mother's breasts under her shirt. Lower in the bed there is not enough room for me and in thebottom it smells sourly, so I don't want to lie there.
My own growth curve
My stomach is growing very much when I'm 4-5 days old, when I'm 4-5 weeks old, and again when I'm 3 months old. When my stomach is growing, I want more food, and I am impatient until my stomach gets filled. If my mother moves me from breast to breast all the time, I becomeseasick, and I getdrowned in the milk, without being saturated. Then I bring a lot up again. When I finish one breast, before I get the next, I can get the fat dessert milk that always comes at the end. It is only in hot summer, or if I'm sick, thatI need to alternate from side to side all the time, to slake my thirst, so I can do without Camille or things like that. Mother's milk is never too thin or too thick and it tastes just as it should. It is tome to decide how fat the milk must be, by feeding for ashort time or a long, often or rarely. Just listen to me.
I teach Mom to breastfeed me. When she has learned, to give me breast, when I tell her, and when she has learned to give me breast even when my stomach is growing, and it can be a little difficult. Then she has successfully passed the first 2 months, and I feel safe, and I acknowledge her as my own Breastfeeding Specialist.
Now it is important that I do not get anything else into my mouth than Mom until I can risk finishing with breast milk. I know that mom's milk is better for me than anything else until I'm at least 6 months old, preferably 8 months. When I start to crawl, I spend the "empty" calories, and can tolerate other food as a supplement in a transition period.
Mother's milk is composed exactly to meet my needs, already when she is 30 weeks gone, so it is also good if I come out untimely. The milk composition changes over time so that the milk always is adequate, also if we continue breastfeeding, even for more than 2 years. It's just the best. Mom's milk protects me during the first 2 years, where my own resistance is not fully developed. Mom's milk helps me to tolerate the other food I get, and I will not so easily be taken ill in the stomach.
If I get something other than mother's milk, I risk that breast-feeding will stop in 14 days.
Only if mother is away from me, and if she is not able to press milk out to me, to get when she is not at home, I need something else but her milk. There is nothing as good for me as my mother's milk. It can not be bought for money. I need no juice or gruel or porridge before I feel like it. It is a bit of a problem that I have a craving for sweets, so you can tempt me into taking other food than mother's milk, but that is not because it is better, it is justbecause it tastes sweet.
My Mom's milk has been made especially for me. It contains all parts of Mom's cells, and consistsnot only of excretions from productive cells, like cow's milk does. Mom's milk contains some very special fat and protein molecules that are meant, to build up my brain, and it covers my need for milk for several years. Mom's milk helps me to excrete bad chemicals from my body, by cleaning up my gut.
Now my gums are itching. It is nice to gnaw at anything. Mother becomes cross and scared when I gnaw in her, and she finds something else for me to gnaw in. Now do I learn how to suck without biting, and Mom is no longer afraid when she suckles me.
Infant formula is not improved by being poured into one of these fancy bottles, you can buy. Mom is easily lured into giving me a bottle prematurely, if the bottle is standing in the cupboard. I would like to wait to get such ones until I am at least 6 months old.
Pacifiers can make Mom think that I do not like her milk. And I get confused having to suck botha pacifier and Mom's nipple. If I get a normal pacifier when I'm restless, I can luckily pull it outor I can spit it out. It is harder with a pacifier without a ring, and witha pacifier so large that I can not cope with it. It goes all wrong if the pacifier is supported by a feeding cloth. Then I can not tell Momwhen my belly wants more food. Nor can I figure out to suck Mom's breast when I am accustomed to a pacifier which is "anatomically mouth-shaped" from the beginning. If I must have a pacifier, let it be with a little stiff teat, but I prefer notto have any.
Luckily,Mom doesn't taste of rubber, and if I am used to tasting gum all the time, I get angry and think she tastes wrong. I risk being completely hysterical, and give mother problems with laying milk down to me. It is easier with a pacifier when mother has learned how to breastfeed me, and a pacifier can be a good thing for me when I'm 4-6 months old, although I think it's premature for me. In return I would like to use a pacifier when mom does not want to breastfeed me more. It feels good until I have grown from my suckling need.
Dad can not breastfeed me. It is not his job. I need that he takes me when mom is tired of me, and thathe takes care of me and talks to me with his lovely voice. I like to lie on my father's chest, and I like the way Dad can bear me, especially when I have troubles with my stomach. It is nice to be carried around the dining table, with a supportive hand on my stomach. Dad smells different than Mom, and he does things in a different way, it is fascinating with a little change.
Now I am so old that my grandparents can take care of me for a short time. Until now I needed Mom and Dad, and should not pass from hand to hand like a challenge cup, from grandaunt to plastic cousin to neighbour, etc. As long as I am a little baby, your best help is helping Mom and Dadwith practical things, so they can take care of me. I wouldalso appreciate if you take care of my brothers and sisters, so they stay comfortable. Then they not as easily getjealous on me.
When I am baptized, or when Ihave my own name party, you can come to me. Now I am able to laugh and play a little. I need company, and I learn to feel confident with other people at home with Mom and Dad.
Mom says we should stop breastfeeding. I do not understand what she thinks. She can not just take food from me before I can handle myself with other food. I'm probably more stubborn than she is. Mom can not compel me to or from the chest. If Mom doesn't say that we should stop feeding and lets me have a little breastfeed in the morning and evening, I will sometimes forgetto ask for breast, and one day we may have finished it together. Don't be scared if I want to get breastfeed until I am more than 2 years old. It is normal in most of the world, and mom's milk protects me against precisely the bacteriology in our surroundings. At that age, breastfeeding is a private thing, but still very important to me.
I get more and more need for my grandparents. The first year, I want to be pampered all the time. After this, Mom and Dad have to explain to me what is dangerous and what to play with. But my grandparents can still pamper me without restraint. I like to read in books, tamper with things and put funny things into my mouth. It can be difficult for Mom and Dad to follow me, so you must help me, when you have time. Maybe we can go for a walk if I'm not afraid to be away from Mom and Dad. It is now that you can tell me all the wonderful things you want me to know. I can not tell it to others until I am 2 years old, and then I haveforgotten the words but not the good meaning.
Show me the world,
read picture books with me and
read to me.
If we are singing,
please sing slowly
then I can sing with you.
Wish-list before birth:
* Understanding and room for both joy and sorrow.
* Understanding for the work Mom and Dad are doing to resolve conflicts in theirmarriage and family.
* Practical help to carry out the changes in the dwelling that Mom and Dad have decided. * Support in preparing for a natural birth, breastfeeding and care of me.
* Offers of help, instead of control.
* Time to talk.
* Baby things that my Mom and Dad say they want and need.
Wish-list at birth:
* An agreement about who is calling whom, and when, when I come out.
* Accept that my parents don't call you, until I am old enough to be measured and weighed. Otherwise, they have to call you twice.
* An agreement about who is going to take care of our flowers and perhaps airing the dog, or who is going to take a walk with the vacuum cleaner and a floor cloth, if I am a little too early.
Wish-list after birth:
* Peace to us all three, so Mom and Dad can getto know me.
* Generosity with praise and visits, but the visitswith a stopwatch in your pocket. Do not stay for more than 45 minutes. If you stay longer, it will be helpful, if you take hold of the household, andnot of me.
* Baby clothes to me and blouses and shirts for Mom and Dad. I think we shall be happy of these. (It is not only my ownclothes that I make dirty.)
* Ready to Eat food to the freezer or canned food and preserve to the cupboard.
* A whole meal for Mom and Dad + dish washing afterwards.
* Gift token to get the home cleaned when needed is a nice help to the survival ofmy new nuclear family.
* Mom and I belong together during the pregnancy and breastfeeding period.
* Kissing and hugging and baby-sounds and baby-smell makes Mom's milk run.
* Lavishing pays off: The more Mom breast-feeds me, the more milk will be produced.
* Let me decide how often and how much, then there will be plenty of milk.
* Mom can breastfeed. Even women who do not have born can breastfeed.
* Pacifiers are only an emergency solution.
* Stress stops the milk inside the breast.
* It takes a week for the milk to disappear.
* Cold and draught produce milk nodes and fever.
* Practical help, together with praise, peace and room are a panacea for breastfeeding problems.
* Breastfeeding is learned most easily by seeing others breastfeeding. Let Mom breastfeed me, even though we are visiting somebody, and are together with other people, especially when I am less than 6 months old.
* Breastfeeding prevents infections to the baby. Breastfeeding removes poisons from my intestinal tract.
* And at last some words I do not understand, but have heard said many times. They must be important: Breastfeeding prevents breast cancer, probably more with longer breastfeeding time.
Illustrations: Stefan Johannes Wolf 8 years.