Tag Archives: nursing

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.  🙂

Things every parent has done at least once that you will never admit to anyone.

19 Mar

• Let your child eat off the floor. You’re at Panera Bread, your kid drops his gigantic chocolate chip cookie and before you can say “yuck,” he is gnawing on it again. You look around; no one saw you. You make a mental note to watch for hives and fungal infections over the next 48 hours.
• Forcing sleep Part 1: the swilling nurser. Your breastfeeding baby has been AWFULLY cranky the past few evenings—oops, was that your second glass of wine or your third? Oh well, no matter, its mostly metabolized, time for bed!
• Let your child go more than 3 days without bathing. Life gets in the way. Its 30 minutes past bedtime, and you have to get up for an early meeting the next day. A wet washcloth with some hand soap will have to do for now. They stink all the time anyway, right, what’s one more day?  Its not like they’re trying to impress anyone.
• Laughed when they cried: You’re usually not a cruel person. You love to see your child happy. But today you have been hit in the face 9 times, kicked in the groin, had your home cooked meal spit out, been told ‘no’ ad nauseam and now your child has the audacity to ask you for a snack before dinner? You say no, the tantrum begins; the tears start to flow and deep down you’re thinking “Now you know how I feel, buddy. Sucks doesn’t it?”
• Forcing sleep Part 2: the ‘extra long’ case of hives. Hell, I’ll cop to this one. Beatrice had an awful case of the hives last fall. The doctor said Benadryl every 6 hours until the hives were gone for 48 hours. We all slept fabulously that week. But when the hives started to disappear, hmmm, well let’s just say I was being EXTRA cautious to make sure they were gone for good. “Bob, don’t you think that looks like an itchy spot? We don’t want the hives to come back, do we? Its 7 pm, she needs some Benadryl.” Time for bed!
• Cheetos for dinner. Or cookies, or French fries, or cake. Cheetos is a metaphor for “I haven’t had time to go to the grocery store, husband is coming home late tonight, I have laundry to finish, the kids are at their wits end and I think they had broccoli two days ago.” Sometimes, you have to make trade offs for your sanity.

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