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The X-Factor

22 Feb

Okay moms, I’ve decided.  All this stressing, worrying, consulting, reading, class-taking, and flash card purchasing is in vain.  For the first six months, you only have control over 10% of what your kid does well and doesn’t do well (sleep, eat, latch, take solids, sit up, roll over, laugh and crawl).  There will always be another kid that makes you wonder about your effectiveness as a mother.  Don’t let it erode your confidence.  Some kids just have it:  the X-Factor.

Beatrice was always a great sleeper.  By 8 weeks she had a schedule, slept 5-6 hours at a time and went back to sleep easily after waking to nurse.  Her brother Gus….not so much.

I started a new baby playgroup for Fussy Gus and we have met several other moms and babies (all of them first time moms).  I am sure they are sick of hearing me talk about how different Gus is from his sister and what a great sleeper she was.  Who am I trying to convince?  Maybe if I say it out loud enough, I’ll convince myself that I’m not doing anything wrong, or, rather there isn’t anything else I could or should be doing. I just have a fussy baby.

Then yesterday it hit me.  I hosted playgroup at my house.  While a few of us commiserated over interrupted nighttime sleep, babies that have to be held all the time and low milk supply, I was in awe of one mom and baby.  Not only did “J” sleep from 11-6 each night, and had been doing so for weeks, when we asked his mom about nursing, she said she produced 4-5 ounces… per side.

“PER SIDE!!!”  we all exclaimed.  She had 200 bags of frozen breast milk in her freezer.  Meanwhile I was happy to get 3 whole ounces when I pumped (way back when I still pumped).  They sell supplements, herbal teas, even a line of snacks to help with Mother’s Milk.  Old wives tales tell us to drink Guinness every day.  Our Pediatricians tell us to eat fatty foods.  And all of that stuff helps to an extent. Some women just produce a lot of milk and others don’t.

I think, among all of Bea’s friends, their moms and I have probably read just about every sleep book out there on the market:  Happiest Baby on the Block, Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Child, the Sleep Lady, Ferber, etc.  So I’d consider us all pretty educated on the topic of sleep.  Why, then, did some babies cry from colic for three months and not sleep through the night until a year?  My expert answer is: Who the hell knows?  Some kids just have the X-Factor and some don’t.

We all started out feeding our eager six month olds healthy veggies and fruit.  Many of us reveled in making our own baby food.  There wasn’t a colored jar on the shelf that Bea wouldn’t heartily gobble up. So, why, then, does one little friend eagerly gobble up whatever vegan-friendly concoction his mom makes in the Vitamix, and Beatrice suddenly only likes chicken nuggets, rice and plain noodles?  On veggies, he’s got it. She doesn’t.

I nursed Bea for five months, so I was fully prepared to stick it out again with Gus (yeah, it hurt just as much as the first time.  Needles. In. My. Boob.)  But poor guy was losing weight.  We supplemented and he was still losing weight.  He was ravenous after a feeding because he wouldn’t stay on for more than 3 minutes.  So I stopped after two weeks.  Why?  Beatrice had the X-Factor on nursing.  Gus did not.

So, I am happy to say, let’s not stress anymore.  Do what you gotta do, moms. If your baby does not have the X-factor, its ok.  By six months, he will have caught up for the most part (and if he hasn’t, your ped will help you).   If you or your kid is lucky enough to have the X-Factor, be glad, but don’t get complacent.  Your next one may not.  🙂


Mom support line

12 Sep

Milk is delicious from a cup!

There should be a support line of some sort for moms when we need a quick pep talk. I don’t mean like a health-related, or nursing support line (thankfully those DO exist).

I mean when we’re having a moment of Mom guilt and need to hear from another mom that we’re doing the right thing, its not so bad, etc etc. I was really blindsided tonight. I am not one to feel much of the aforementioned Mom Guilt. MG eludes me in most cases. Doctor’s visits, shots, blood draws, sick baby, leaving for work, taking something away when its time for bed–none of it really ever gave me pause.  I hear other moms say how they cried when their baby had shots, or had to have their husbands there, and the feeling is just foreign to me.  I guess Beatrice should to get some credit here. She does fairly well with doctor visits.  But, really, I thought I was immune to the MG.  If you don’t feel bad when they are blood letting your child, when can you feel bad?

But tonight was our first night going bottle-less. We just switched to whole milk. That’s been going ok so far (save for a little, umm, plumbing tweak here and there). My doctor said we really could wait until as old as 18 months to be done with bottles, but I figured, hey, we don’t really need them now, they are a pain, she likes her sippy cups. Let’s just do it.  Yeah!  Let’s do it!

So tonight, instead of her bottle in the cozy dark in the rocky-rock with Mom or Dad, she got a quick story, a little snuggle time and BOOM, was plopped cold-hearted into the crib with nary a drop. Mind you, she wasn’t thirsty, she had three cups of milk today and some water.  I’m not THAT cruel.

But she wailed for like 30 minutes! I felt terrible. I took away yet another part of her being a baby and replaced it with something more grown up. (Oh, she’s still crying, I stand corrected). *sigh*

Was I being greedy? Should I have just been happy with the milk for another month and weaned the bottles more slowly? Would that have killed anyone?

..okay… its really not slowing down…. I’m taking a sip of beer. I guess I’ll give her another few minutes and make sure she hasn’t thrown herself out of the crib. *Double sigh*

Maybe this is a good sign.  I was beginning to wonder if I was just heartless, what with the absence of MG in my life.  So, maybe this is just a sign that I do have a little compassion.  #Silverlining?

I promised some backstory to how we came to have the lovely Beatrice in this post, but our bottle-less evening has changed my plans. More later.

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