Archive | September 2012

Momma’s Observation #1

The baby has sharp talons [144/366]

The baby has sharp talons [144/366] (Photo credit: Phil (darth_philburt))

When I meet God in Heavensome day I’m going to ask Him:

Why on earth did you feel that babies needed to be born with these microscopic, razor sharp fingernails?

They are completely helpless, so super sharp fingernails (on hands they don’t even have control of, by the way)  seem sort of pointless to me. Anyone else?

My chest looks like I’ve been mauled by a tiger.  If it wasn’t so warm out I’d be wearing turtleneck sweaters to protect myself.

I think an overhaul of this particular baby feature is in order.  Fingernails aren’t really necessary until they are at least a year old.

Are We There Yet?

A little while back I blogged about the breastfeeding issues that Miss P and I were having.  At the time I was just coming out of a huge funk about failing at nursing, one where I had spent days crying and mourning the loss of what I thought would be that magical bonding experience for me and my daughter.

I decided not to give up entirely, but to continue to offer the breast whenever I could, pump as often as possible, and feed her breast milk in addition to formula.  The most important thing became getting her fed, not feeding her a certain way.

A mother breast feeding—a process that facilit...

A mother breast feeding—a process that facilitates mother–infant bonding. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

My friends urged me not to stop trying to nurse.  I assured them I wouldn’t.  They told me that sometimes babies just take their time learning how to latch.  I told them I would be patient.  They shared stories of children suddenly deciding they wanted to nurse after weeks or months of being bottle fed.  I told them I hoped to have the same happen for me.

The truth is, I stopped offering her the breast altogether shortly after that.

It was a painful experience offering to nurse her.  She would tense up, turn bright read, flail her arms and scream as though I was offering to run her through with a hot poker.  She would push my breast away, digging her tiny, sharp nails into my skin while she wailed.  It was heartbreaking.  So I quit.

I continued to pump and bottle feed her both breast milk and formula, because the amount of milk I was producing wasn’t enough to satisfy her.  That, alone, made me feel like I had made the right decision to supplement with formula.

Then one night in the wee hours I had just finished feeding her and I pulled her up for a burp.  She rewarded me by spitting up a large amount of formula all over my shirt.  It smelled horrid (formula smells disgusting, I think) so I pulled off my shirt and threw it on the floor, then decided we would just relax skin-to-skin until she fell asleep.

She relaxed against me and then began to slowly inch herself around until her head was no longer on my shoulder, but her body was laying across my upper belly.  Then suddenly I felt a sharp pain, and tried to pull her away, thinking she had pinched my nipple.

Nope. She was latched to my left breast like a piranha.

Since that night she has had no problems nursing.  She can latch on to either side the first or second time she tries, but usually the first.  She enjoys nursing now, as do I, but still takes formula. Essentially we are supplementing formula with breastfeeding, but I’m just happy she is getting the nutrition she needs from my milk.

A friend who heard my tale of woe told me that his wife had been unable to breastfeed their daughter.  He told me that it’s the baby who decides whether he or she will nurse, not the mama.  I would have to agree.

I’m just glad Miss P decided to give me another chance.

Held Hostage

Miss P will be 6 weeks old in the very near future, and I can honestly say it gets better every day having her around.  She has started cooing and vocalizing (mostly during diaper changes), which has got to be the cutest thing I’ve ever heard.

She doesn’t cry much now, but for a week or so I would have sworn we were being held hostage by an adorable tiny terrorist.  She would start freaking out around 9 or 10 pm and wouldn’t stop for hours.  It was hell for me since I’m the one who stays up with her in the evenings, and hell for her dad because he’d have to put up with me putting up with her.

Luckily, just after she was born I had started reading The Happiest Baby on the Block and raced to finish it when the meltdowns started. I liked what Dr. Karp had to say about the “fourth trimester” and decided to try his techniques.

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Not me and not my baby, but a pretty good rendition of how to calm a baby. (Photo credit: c3k)

I know some people don’t believe it, but they really do work. Probably the hardest one to do is the “shushing” technique. I would swaddle Miss P and then shush very loudly into her ear until my throat was aching and raw, but it worked. These techniques take practice and persistence, but they really do work. (And if you’re not a book reader, there is also a DVD.)

Nowadays I still use the techniques but it doesn’t take long to calm her and she is (knock wood) sleeping through the night now, usually from 10:30 pm until 4:30 am (sometimes as late as 5:30 am).  She then gets up for an hour and a half to eat, then goes back to sleep for another 3 hours or so.

If you’re looking for a solution for a colicky baby, give the book/DVD a try.  Try the techniques and be bold about them.  Don’t give up after 2 minutes because, unless your baby has some underlying medical issue, they WILL work.

I will be buying this DVD or book for any baby shower I attend ever.  That’s how much I believe.