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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Mom Situations, Mom Tricks and Tips, Must Read
Thursday, May 3rd, 2012
I was afraid of this. Emmett is becoming a barfer. AARRRGGGGHHHH. Fia had the worst reflux. But I thought I dodged the bullet with Emmett. Reflux usually shows up around 2-3 weeks. Each week that passed with Emmett I felt more and more hopeful. I mean, he was a spitter. But not a barfer. There’s a difference.
Then, about 2 weeks ago, just shy of his 3 month birthday, more and more milk kept coming up. I knew I was in trouble when Cleo, our nanny, walked in with 3 changes of clothes. Damn.
Here is the weird thing. He only barfs up my breast milk. Not formula. Fia was the exact same way. I took her to 3 different pediatricians. I even took a saturated barf cloth to one. “Here, feel this. This is from one feed!” I sobbed. We’re talking cups of barf. They all told me the same thing: since she was gaining weight, it wasn’t technically reflux. Therefore, they wouldn’t treat it as such. But wait, the reason she’s gaining is because I have to feed her all the time. She is also in terrible pain, constantly scrunching her body up. And all the barfing certainly can’t feel good on her throat.
Their stance was to keep her on the boob and deal with it. I’m still resentful.
I ordered some herbal concoction that–no kidding–was black as tar. It is supposed to help reflux. Um, okay, well, if it doesn’t, guess what you get? Black stains all over your furniture. Genius. That lasted all of one feed. I experimented with other things too, but I finally just gave up.
At 4 months, overwrought with lack of sleep and full of misery, I gave up breast feeding. I drove to the store and bought formula. It was an instant game-changer. I had a freezer full of breast milk that I would try to get down week after week. Same thing every time. Copious amounts of barf. I don’t think it was an allergy either. I had experimented with eliminating dairy, citrus, eggs–you name it–from my diet. Nothing worked. My mom said I was the same way.
With Emmett, I am determined to not give up breast feeding so early. I took him to our doctor here and explained what was happening. (I picked a specific doctor at the practice because she’s not old school like some of them.) After hearing my story, she theorized that maybe since breast milk isn’t as heavy as formula, both he and Fia needed something with more weight–or less acidic. It’s exactly what my mom and I had talked about 2 years before.
This pediatrician, unlike others I’ve had, prescribed Zantac. She also gave me some probiotics. Instead of discounting me, she listened. For that, I am incredibly grateful. She believes that it is worth staying on the boob with a little medicine rather than switching to formula. Or at least trying to see if it makes a difference. Whew.
We are on day 5 of Zantac and so far his spitting up has greatly diminished. I’m holding my breath and crossing my fingers. He also isn’t crunching up in pain as often. My goal is to boob feed him for at least 6 months, maybe a year. He’s my last baby. Plus, there are some major advantages (besides the medical aspect) to breastfeeding. I’ll save that for another blog.
I wrote earlier this week about trusting your mom instinct when it comes to studies and diagnoses and all that jazz. I’m glad I get a second chance on this one with my little guy.
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Fearless Feisty Mama, Mom Situations, Newborn Care