Doesn't Noah have the sweetest little face ever? I love it. This photo encourages me and here's why.
When Noah was first born, he was only 4 pounds 3 ounces. Super tiny! His little arms and legs were so scrawny and his face didn't have any of the normal baby chub. Part of why he had to stay in the NICU for 10 days was because he wasn't gaining weight as quickly as the doctor's wanted him to. He had difficulty nursing both because of his small size (IUGR), low muscle tone (typcial of children with DS) and since he was premature it just plain wore him out. Despite this, I was determined to nurse because I felt it was best for his health and I'd also read that babies with DS can benefit from nursing because it strengthens the mouth and face muscles, which are later used for eating solid foods and for speech. After 3 long months...hours upon hours chained to my pump...gallons of water used to wash bottles and pump parts...many tears of frustration after failed nursing attempts...he finally got it! Although it may not sound like a big deal, it was such a feeling of accomplishment the first day he nursed for every feeding.
I remember looking back over Landon's old baby pictures and thinking that Noah would probably never have those big, cute, "nursing cheeks" as some called them. Here's a photo of Landon at 8 months. That kid could eat!
This photo of Noah (now with just as chubby cheeks as Landon had) reminds me that I shouldn't lower my expectations of him just because of his diagnosis. I read several things that said babies with DS can't nurse because of low muscle tone. I'm glad I didn't believe those sites and instead believed in my child.