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Tuesday, May 8th, 2012
My boobs have become a secret weapon in survival. And not just because they feed my child.
When Fia came, it was all me all the time. I was drowning in her barf and tortured from lack of sleep. I became resentful that everything was put on me, even though yes, I am the mom.
Flash forward to Emmett. I am the picture of calm. That’s not an adjective you would typically use to describe me. But between hypnotherapy and the beauty of the boob, it’s a totally different scenario the second time around. Phil on the other hand seems to have postpartum frustration. He stomps around; I sit in lotus. He’s angry; I meditate. Here’s what shifted:
Fia’s melting down at dinnertime? Sorry honey, I gotta go feed Emmett.
Fia’s awake at 5:51 every morning? Sorry honey, Emmett’s hungry.
When you have the second baby, the parenting of the toddler falls more on the dad. Or at least in our house. I’m not kidding when I say that I get an extra hour-plus of sleep every morning because of this. AN HOUR. PLUS. Do you understand what that means? That’s like winning the lottery every day. I lay in bed with my little man as he nurses and we drift off to sleep. It’s heaven.
Cut to Phil downstairs with Fia screaming for Elmo, spilling orange juice and crying for eggs (Phil hates eggs and can’t make them. He claims he will barf. And we have enough barfing in our family with Em’s reflux).
At around 7 or 7:30 (the latter if I’m feeling greedy), I serenely float down and take over. Phil goes back to bed for an hour. I cook eggs, clean up the OJ and read the paper. I hold Emmett and Fia watches Sesame. Or we all play. It’s great. And to be fair, Phil wakes back up refreshed. Don’t feel too sorry for him–I’m not killing the guy.
At night, as Phil is trying to get Fia to eat, I’m sitting in the living room, a glass of wine in hand, watching the news, nursing my boy. Ahhhh… this is the life!
I’m lucky to have such a hands-on husband. I don’t know what I would do if he weren’t. But I wouldn’t have married someone who didn’t look at our relationship as a partnership of equals. I will admit that the scale is tipping a bit more in my favor lately. I’m taking it–guilt free. I carried these babies for 10 months. I endured another c-section. And I know that eventually everything circles back to the mom. This is a temporary reprieve.
When Emmett’s reflux started to increase last week I panicked. Not only because I want to breastfeed him for health reasons, but for my own personal Zen. Hell, if I keep getting these kinds of breaks, I might breastfeed him until he’s 4. Or 14.
So for all you moms out there expecting baby #2, this is my big secret—use the boob. It’s survival for us. And justified because it’s also survival for your baby. Nothing wrong with that.
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babies, barf, bottle, breastfeed, breastfeeding, formula, hypnotherapy, reflux, sesame, spit up, toddler meltdown, toddlers, wine, zantac | Categories:
Mom Situations, Mom Tricks and Tips, Must Read
Tuesday, May 1st, 2012
I’ve never bought into the whole nipple confusion thing. Maybe it’s because my babies latched on immediately to both bottle and boob (this, following a sea of drugs from labor and c-sections). And perhaps I’m bitter from the natural community scaring me senseless as I went into labor with Fia. Tales of drugs, pacifiers and bottles were all the ways your baby wouldn’t latch on, despite scientific evidence to the contrary (at least with labor drugs, like the epidural). This week I got a slight chuckle out of the latest study: pacifiers actually promote breastfeeding. Ha!
Before I get too smug, I will echo what my fellow blogger, Berit wrote in her post on this (click here to read her blog): Rules are forever changing–and yes, it is maddening! Each study seems to contradict another one, which contradicts another one, until it comes back full circle and negates them all. So I won’t smirk…yet. What I will say (and echoing Berit again) is to go with your mom gut. Here’s why:
If I had listened to the nipple confusion thing, Phil would have never given Emmett or Fia a bottle for the first 6 weeks. It would have been all me, all the time. I would have been frustrated and completely tethered. I have mom friends who have been tethered for the first year because they didn’t introduce a bottle those first few weeks. By the time it was “right” to introduce one, it was too late. The babies refused and only took the boob. I think that can lead to some of us moms (uh-em…myself…thus hypnotherapy) becoming martyrs about having to “do it all.” In this day and age, with dads pulling almost equal weight (ha!), let them into the world of feeding.
Phil and I decided he’d give a bottle because it would be good bonding time. It’s his ritual to give the last bottle before bedtime, as I slip away and get a jump start on my sleep. Neither of us would give that up for anything. He loves it. As do I. And I’m sure it helps the babies know their dad even more.
What’s funny about the no-pacifier-now-maybe-debunked-theory is that for both my births, the nurses passed them out like candy at a parade. It was like Flying Nurses–they’d breeze through, chucking them into cribs. Okay, not really. But the paci’s were everywhere. Then, inevitably, a lactation consultant would come in and give me the nipple confusion spiel. Since Fia’s birth left me feeling like I had been hit by a bus, I was too confused to care. With Emmett, I chose to ignore. We’ve all been better off for it. In fact, I am trying to get Emmett more addicted to his pacifier. Fia sucked on hers like a lollipop. Still does at nap time. She’ll go to PA (Pacifiers Anonymous) soon. Emmett on the other hand tends to suck for a bit, then spit it out. Come on baby, you got addictive genes in this family. Use them!
To put the entire feeding and soothing process (NO PACIFIERS!) on the mom not only becomes exhausting, but I think it can also rob a Dad or other loved ones of special moments they might not get otherwise. Not to mention the risk of the baby refusing everything but the boob.
So I take “observational” studies like this with a grain of salt. Like Berit, I am going with my instinct. It has served me well thus far.
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Wednesday, December 21st, 2011
Author’s Note: Join me every Tuesday or Wednesday for “Moving Mid Pregnancy,” to read about my ongoing search for a new “everything” (from nannies to mom friends to health providers) while pregnant and living in a new city.
Okay, I know she’s two. And for many parents that means the pacifier (or Bagdee, as Fia calls it) should already have gone into outer space. My pediatrician in Brooklyn told me to get rid of it before 18 months. That’s when they get really attached. We didn’t do it. Then came the move to LA. With that whole sh-t show of a plane ride/barfing baby, moving across the country, etc, we needed Bagdee as much as Fia did.
But now we’re settled. Except that…in 6 weeks all hell is going to break loose with Baby #2. And once again, Fia will find big changes in her little world. So it was with great trepidation I brought up my dilemma with her new pediatrician during the 2-year check up.
I explained to Dr. Iyer that Fia only has it during nap times and bedtime. And usually it falls out once she falls asleep.
When she looked in Fia’s mouth, she said she couldn’t tell that Fi was a paci-user. Then she gave a FREE PASS!!
She said with all the changes about to happen, and the fact that Fia is already hooked on Bagdee, not to worry about it. Just let it be. I also still give her a bottle at night, but only before bedtime. Then we brush her teeth. I cringed, waiting for Dr. Iyer to say it’s time to give that up too. Nope. Said that as long as we brush her teeth after and the bottle isn’t going in the crib with her, it’s fine. The only thing she had us do is switch from whole milk to 2%.
She also explained that with the new baby, he’ll presumably have a bottle and pacifier. So to take away both of those things from Fia, only to then “give” them to the new baby could cause her to feel sad/jealous/insecure, etc. I buy it. Happily.
(Side note: I’m planning to breastfeed, but I also don’t buy the whole “nipple confusion” thing and plan to do both bottle and boob. BTW–that’s another piece of faulty info I had from some in the natural community during my pregnancy with Fia–that if you introduce a bottle they won’t take the boob. I call B.S. on that one!).
So both bottle and Bagdee are going to stick around a while longer. Which leads me to wonder–should at least potty train? Get one hurdle out of the way… Thoughts?
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boob, bottle, breastfeeding, brush teeth, Dr Iyer, Glendale Pediatrics, moving, moving mid pregnancy, moving to LA, newborn, pacifier, pott, potty, potty train, potty training | Categories:
Fearless Feisty Mama, Mom Situations, Moving Mid Pregnancy, Moving to Los Angeles
Wednesday, July 20th, 2011
yeah, I know. I gotta tackle the pacifier thing soon....
If there is one thing I am evangelical about in motherhood it’s sleep training. I want to spread the gospel far and wide. I want to convert those who don’t believe. I simply don’t get why moms (or dads) would rather suffer and put themselves through Guantanamo Bay-sleep torture by choice.
In fact, I don’t think you should complain about being tired/up with your baby at 3 a.m. if you choose not to sleep train (this excludes the first few months when you hunker down and deal with it). And there are exceptions: illness, special needs babies, adjusting to travel, etc. But at a certain point if you choose not to sleep train it’s like complaining about you’re unhealthy diet and eating donuts all day. Makes no sense. Especially because you’re not doing your child any favors–I mean, babies need sleep. Humans need sleep. We need uninterrupted sleep. It is essential to life, to our well being.
I didn’t always feel this way. When I first had Fia and my pediatrician suggested letting her cry it out all night, I gasped in horror. And changed pediatricians. By three months I was the walking dead. By four, my husband threatened a padded room and straightjacket. Our strong marriage foundation was getting weaker with each anguished night. Many of my friends had sleep trained. They were gentle with me and would simply say, “If you do it right, it works.” I thought they were monsters.
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baby, baby napping, baby sleeping, boob, bottle, bottle-feeding, cried, cry it out, crying, eating, Ferber, Ferberizing, fussy, nap, pregnancy, pregnant, sleep, sleep associations, sleep training, sleep training methods, sleepy planet, torture | Categories:
Fearless Feisty Mama, Mom Situations, Mom Tricks and Tips, Must Read
Saturday, November 27th, 2010
From the beginning of her bottle life, Fia took it like a champ. So much so, that even after she turned one, I was apparently feeding her too much formula. Truth is, the bottle became my crutch. If she didn’t eat enough real food I’d get nervous that she would be hungry, so I’d give her one. It was quite enlightening when I recently took her to the pediatrician for her one-year appointment.
Here’s how the conversation with Dr. TJ Gold began:
“How’s her appetite?”
“Well, I’m still giving her about 32 ounces a day of formula. Real food is kinda hit or miss.”
A stern stare. I continue.
“She gets picky at the table and I worry that she’s not eating enough, so I fill her up however I can.”
Dr. Gold nods knowingly, as if saying, yeah, I’ve seen this before.
“And do you also run around while she plays trying to put food in her mouth?” she asks.
“YES!” I exclaim, thinking she “gets” it. She understands how picky babies are. I continue: “I run around the exersaucer chucking cheese into her mouth. I run after her through the living room, shoving saltines in. Anything I can get her to eat and any way I can do it.“ I beam, waiting for the sign of approval.
Dr. Gold clears her throat and she says something to me that was a game changer for me.
“Terrible Two’s happen because of parenting choices made during the 1’s.”
She continues, “And it’s much harder to reverse bad behavior than to just begin with good behavior.”
Look, I feel like I’m a fairly reasonable, somewhat smart and aware person. And I’ve read the range of babybooks—from Dr. Sears to Babywise. But in this scenario, for whatever reason, my mom instincts were off. I’m sure it stems from my primal need for sleep and my irrational fear that she’ll start waking up in the night hungry if she doesn’t get enough during the day. Whatever the cause, I’m so so so glad Dr. Gold stopped me cold in my tracks and reversed my behavior. It immediately made a difference, and continues to nearly a month later. Here is a recap of what I learned:
You feed your baby broccoli one day, the next day she flicks it off her tray and refuses to eat it. You try pasta, which you know she likes. And oops, there goes the flick again. She isn’t interested in any of the usual staples. Desperate, you scour your fridge. Yogurt and applesauce. The sweet stuff. You pull it out, try it on her, and voilà, she eats it. Guess what? You’ve just been had and your baby just won a major battle. Continue like this, and soon she’s the master. And you’re the servant, scrambling to find food she’ll eat.
“Picky eaters are formed by this exact scenario,” Dr. Gold tells me. They know if they flick food off, eventually mom will come running to their rescue with something sweet.
Then she gave me a very healthy warning. “This is also how you end up with a 2-year old who can’t sit still at a restaurant. And it’s how you start to lose your edge as a parent. “
“But, what do I do?” I say, wringing my hands. “If she won’t eat, then she’ll wake up in the night, and next thing you know, I’m dealing with a newborn schedule again!!”
Not true, says Dr. Gold. Mealtime is very specific. You put her in the highchair, TV off, time to focus and you feed her. If she flicks her food, you stop feeding. Take her down. Wait 30 minutes. Try again. She’s not going to starve. When she’s hungry enough, she’ll eat.
She also told me to switch to whole milk and cut down to 16 ounces a day max.
At the visit, Fia was in the 10th percentile for weight, 48th for height. While Dr. Gold wasn’t a bit worried, I swear Fi fattened up within 3 days following her instructions. It was a remarkable shift. And now, she literally eats everything. And lots of it. When she sees me setting her food out, she toddles up to her highchair and throws her arms in the air, begging to go in it. A far cry from me running around in circles, chasing her while shoveling bits of food in her mouth.
Every baby is different, so this might not work for you, but I just thought I’d share my own experience. My new and improved routine goes like this:
7am – She wakes up. I give her a 6 oz bottle of whole milk.
8:30-9am – Breakfast. Yogurt, toast with peanut butter, banana, etc. Sippy cup with water and a splash of OJ.
11am – Lunch. Chickpeas, rice, chicken, mac and cheese….whatever I’m eating. I just cut it up in small pieces.
1-2pm – Small bottle. Snack.
5-6pm – Dinner. Again, whatever we’re going to eat.
6:30pm – Bath time.
7pm – Book and 6 oz bottle. Baby sleeps through night.
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advice, appetite, baby, baby bottle, baby food, baby formula, bottle, eat, eating, flinging food, food, formula, hungry, hungry baby, milk, picky, picky eaters, poor appetite, terrible two's | Categories:
Fearless Feisty Mama, Mom Tricks and Tips