Posts Tagged ‘ reflux ’

Is it Time to “Mom-Up” About Sleep Training?

Tuesday, September 4th, 2012

At 7 months, I decided it was finally time to say goodbye to my “hired” village, and as my friend and Babble blogger Cassandra Barry likes to say, “Mom-Up.” I had to get rid of my night ladies. Places in Africa needed water wells for god’s sake. I think I could have built/dug 20 so far if I hadn’t employed my gals.

It’s just that with Fia, I was such a wreck from no sleep and no hired help, that I kinda lost my sh-t. We Ferberized her at 4 1/2 months. I became evangelical about the beauty and benefits of sleep training. With Emmett, I’ve done the opposite. I have managed to find all sorts of excuses–some valid, others not–to put it off.

He has reflux. He has gas pains. He’s farting too much. He must be in pain. He’s pooping too much. He must be in pain. He’s not pooping enough. He is constipated. He ate too much. His tummy hurts. He didn’t eat enough. He must be hungry.

This little dude has me weak in the knees with his ridiculously happy temperament that it’s been hard to think about letting him cry.

But the real reason I haven’t done it is I’m not tired! I think in order to go full throttle on sleep training, you have to reach the brink of insanity and misery. Or be falling asleep at red lights. Or have your husband threaten to check you into the psych ward.  Instead, with 8 hours of sleep a night, I have bounced happily through his infant stage, feeling pretty damn good as our bank account dwindles.

Phil and I both started talking about sleep training oh, about 4 months ago. Emmett would sleep happily on one of us while we watched every episode of Storage Wars, The Daily Show, and Breaking Bad. I wasn’t frantically going to bed at 8 pm, hoping to get a 3-hour stretch of zzz’s.

“When are we going to sleep train Emmett?” Phil would ask. “Soon,” I’d say, sipping my wine, not taking my eyes off the TV.  Neither of us were exactly motivated.

At 10 pm, we’d hear the knock on the door and in came our night help.

Frankly, with that set up, I didn’t want to “Mom-Up.” I mean, no one gets an award for lack of sleep, so for me, this was the right decision. To a point. But then it became a bit ridiculous. A little too easy. And I knew it was also in Emmett’s best interest to learn to put himself to sleep. Not to mention we needed our house back. And to some extent, our freedom. I didn’t want to travel anywhere because I knew I’d be the one losing sleep. Having a night nurse does get limiting–in an upper-class-problem kind of way.

So, with this 3-day weekend, we decided it was time.

Night 1:

This one was pretty bad. We put him down at 8:30 pm. He was up at 10:30. I changed his diaper (was only wet). He was up again at 11. I went in and tickled the back of his perfect neck (god I love that boy). He fell asleep until 1:30. Then started to wail. Fia woke up and started wailing too. Phil was running one way, I the other. It would have been comedic if it weren’t the middle of the night. Phil got Fia back down then came into Emmett’s room. I was sitting there rocking him.

“What are you doing?”

“I thought he pooped,” I said, knowing he hadn’t.

“Look, we are either doing this or not. If you can’t handle it, go down and sleep on the couch, and I’ll do it.”

“No, no, you’re right. Okay.”

I put him down (asleep) and walked out. He slept until 3:25. Then we let him cry for an hour. But before everyone freaks out at my cruelty, it wasn’t like he wailed for an hour. He would calm himself down and have 5-10 minute bouts of sleep. Then gear up again. Neither of us went in.

He slept until 7. The worst night was over.

Night 2:

Much better. He woke up at 10:30. I changed his diaper. He slept until 4 a.m. Cried for 7 minutes. I didn’t go in. He put himself back asleep until 6:30.

Night 3:

Down at 8 pm. A small crying fit at 3:30 for 5 minutes. Not a peep until 6.

I think we are there. And I am feeling this tremendous sense of freedom. I’m already planning our next two trips. As happy as Emmett was, I think he’s even happier now. He too is getting the sleep he needs. I also get to say I’ve “Mom-ed Up.” At least in the nights. No way am I getting rid of my daytime help. I still think Cassandra will be proud.

It also goes to show that there isn’t just one “right” way. This is a good lesson for my judgmental self. I was so sure that Ferbering at 3-4 months was the only way to go. Until I read Bringing Up Bebe. Then I thought I should have done everything differently to have my kids sleeping through at 4 weeks via “The Pause.” I was cursing myself (though by Chapter 6, I was annoyed by the book).

But now I have a baby who is sleeping through the night, who can still take naps on me during the day or sleep on us occasionally while we watch TV. I have flexibility to do what I want when I want. And for me, that’s the true definition of “Mom-ing Up.”

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Emmett’s 6-month Check-Up. Is He Too Hyper?

Wednesday, August 1st, 2012

Emmett had his 6-month appointment this week. I told the doctor about how hyper/active he is. It’s even hard to change him or put on pants. She observed for a few minutes as he kicked and laughed and did his high pitch cooing. God he is cute. I’ve said it before, thank the universe that at least he is happy with all his hyperactivity or I’d be committed.

I also explained how nights have become horrendous, or I should say, horrendously funny. He wakes up, starts to kick around, typically seems to have a gas bubble (I wrote about his 31 farts in a row), then starts to laugh and laugh and laugh. But without holding him or swaddling him, he won’t calm down on his own.

She was somewhat concerned with his extreme level of activity. Not only from a sleeping standpoint, but also weight. He is dipping back down again, off the curve. She isn’t overly worried, but suggested I take him to an occupational therapist to see if there are some things we can do to calm him. She used the word “sensory” which of course scared me. When I hear “sensory” I think “spectrum” and “autism”. But she reassured me that I need not worry. He is so alert, makes eye contact, loves to be held and hugged that perhaps we just need to work on ways to calm him more.

I spoke to the OT and they can’t get us in until end of August. But she did recommend the swaddle and baby massage. My pediatrician said the swaddle is okay too, as long as he can’t get out of it. Her main concern was if it was a loose one, he could wriggle out and get the blanket over his face. I told her about the Halo Sleepsack Swaddle I have that is zippered, as well as the miracle blanket. As long as he’s in a swaddle that he can’t get out of and that won’t tangle him up, then he will put his head to the side.

So we’ll see. In the meantime, here are his 6-month stats:

Weight: 15 lbs, 13 oz (18%)

Height: 26 inches (40%)

Head Circumference: 17.5 inches (70%)

(By the way: isn’t the kimono hilarious? It’s from our good friend Delia who buys all our stuff at Lucky Wang.)

 

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Emmett’s Weight Loss–Kind Of

Thursday, May 31st, 2012

Okay. It’s worse than it sounds. Emmett hasn’t actually lost weight. But he’s gone off his curve a bit.

When he was diagnosed with reflux about a month ago, we put him on Zantac. At that point his weight was in the 30th percentile. Two weeks later, at a follow up appointment, he had jumped into the 50th percentile. So it came with great surprise today at his 4-month check up that he has dropped into the 28th percentile and fallen off his curve.

I asked her to double check the numbers. He gained a pound in a month but he should have gained more I guess. He is 13 pounds, 12 ounces. He is super happy and incredibly active. So much so, she did say that he might be burning up more calories than the average 4-month old, thus not keeping his weight up with the curve. Nevertheless, because of his reflux issue, she was a bit concerned.

She also put him on his stomach and said he should be lifting his head up more. This is a boy who was ahead of his game at 2 months on his tummy. But then he developed the reflux and tummy time kind of went out the window. Apparently it shows. Thing is, he’s uncomfortable on his stomach and he barfs.

All this to say, I got quite discouraged. Between the visit and my angst over reading Bringing Up Bebe, I am doubting my mom instincts. We have no schedule–day or night. He isn’t staying on the curve. Yet he seems so damn lively. He rarely cries. He coos constantly. I mean, to what extent do I worry? She suggested I try a little rice cereal on a spoon to see if he is ready for solids. Perhaps that way he can put on some weight and keep the milk down. Okay, I can try that. But she also suggested an occupational therapist to see if he is sucking properly. Perhaps he is sucking down too much air, she said. Honestly, I am rolling my eyes.  Does that seem a bit extreme? Seriously? I think he is doing just fine. As for the lack of schedule, she also said not to worry too much. Sleep training? Don’t think about it until 6 months or so. I should be relieved that the pressure is off. But I’m not.

This is why I hate going to the pediatrician. All the information is contradictory.

With Fia, my Brooklyn doctor said no rice cereal. It’s bland and boring. Introduce flavors. I did and she is an adventurous eater, though not a big one. Her weight gains are small, though they are on the curve. They said sleep train between 2-4 months. We did it at 4 1/2 months and she sleeps like a champ. They said get on a schedule (though I never really mastered that until 18 months). However, they refused to give her Zantac and I know she had reflux. I was so frustrated in becoming a human burp cloth that I gave up breastfeeding with her at 4 months. So who to believe?

In the end, I know Emmett will gain weight, stop barfing, sleep through the night and get on a schedule. Especially if I commit to making those latter two happen and experiment with his feedings a little more. But I’m still sitting here debating if I really need an occupational therapist. I mean, the kid sucks like a champ. It sounds like a giant waste of time.

This all seems more complicated than it needs to be. I am a veteran at this. It shouldn’t be this difficult.

Have I made your head spin? Mine too.

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My Boobs Are Taking A Hit! Ouch!

Thursday, May 10th, 2012

I had no idea my boobs would stir up such controversy. Maybe I’ll get implants next. In lieu of all this, I decided to just let Fia, my 2 1/2 year old, take over feeding Emmett the bottle, while I lay drunk, passed out on the couch. Plus, this way neither Phil nor I have to parent. But wait; will I still be called “lazy” for putting my toddler in charge? Maybe…

I’m referring to my post, Why the Boob Rocks. Most people who commented (particularly on the Facebook link) “got” that it was a humorous article on getting the most bang for your, well, breast. As in, use it to your advantage when you can. Why not? You can’t be called neglectful (though I was actually) for feeding your infant while your husband feeds your toddler. You can’t be called selfish (though I was. Hmm) for having some alone time with your infant–helping him survive, ie: eat--while your husband deals with the household. And god forbid you have a glass of wine while doing all this feeding nonsense. That set off a sh-tstorm.

Here are a couple favorites:

(#1) “That’s sick is about all I can say. Drinking while feeding your child. Being lazy while the man does all the work.”

(#2) “I have 2 under two and have nursed and bottle fed. it sounds like she is finding an excuse to ignore the daughter. drinking while nursing? wtf? yes, it would take some time before the alcohol entered the breast milk but nonetheless you are promoting a dangerous habit. Just because you “can” drink does not mean you should. Think about all the young and new mothers that are reading this article for advice and do not know how to “safely” consume alcohol while nursing (I personally would never risk drinking and nursing despite what research says). This is an irresponsible article that is not helpful to parents with kids close in age.”

(#3) “I am all for breastfeeding, i breastfed my son for a year..but to disregard your other child completely and use nursing as an excuse not to interact with your child. Disgusts me!”

Yup (#3), that’s exactly what I do. Fia who?

Here is my rebuttal:

For all the teetotalers out there–RELAX! I’m not getting sh-t faced and nursing my child. If you drink a glass of wine while feeding them, by the time it gets into your breastmilk–filtered by Mother Nature– Hello!–they are done feeding. As some of the more reasonable commentor’s pointed out,  doctors/pediatricians/lactation consultants all say it’s fine in moderation. And drinking a glass is moderation. I would go as far to say 2 glasses, but I’m afraid I’ll have to don a bulletproof vest. LA is too hot for that.

I think it’s amazing that my husband is not only able–but also WILLING to be a team in parenthood. I’m selfish because I want to nurse my child and let’s see–maybe enjoy it? While he gets time with our toddler? That’s whacked. I think the moms who viewed it this way must be martyrs, humorless or both. Why else would you be so negative?

A few brought up drinking wine with Emmett’s reflux issues. It’s a legitimate point and I thank you for your concern. Here’s why it’s not part of his barf equation:

If you boob feed a baby at say 6 pm, take a few sips of wine, finish the feed, finish the wine, then don’t feed him for another 6 hours (as it’s in the night now, and he is going longer stretches) he isn’t getting any alcohol. Plus, let’s not forget breastmilk is a filter. Many of you aren’t giving Mother Nature the credit she deserves. But just to be cautious, I time it strategically. If on occasion I have more than one glass within a feed time, then I give him a bottle of pre-pumped breast milk. (Fia will now be taking over that duty.)

The other thing: his reflux is most extreme during the early morning feed. I promise I’m not downing Bloody Mary’s. So these theories that I’m harming my baby with a glass of wine are simply unfounded and silly. Moms, lighten up! Enjoy yourselves! However that may be…

I think Time Magazine missed the boat on breast feeding your 3-year old. They should have had the mom holding a wine glass in this incredibly disturbing cover picture. But I’m not touching that one! At least not yet.

Yikes!!

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Why the Boob Rocks

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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