Sam is back from his 2-month check-up with Dr. Injac. As the title suggests, it was the best and worst of times.
First up: a weigh and measure. He is 12lbs, dead-on (37th percentile) and 24.5″ long (44th percentile). Perfect, and right where he was on the curve at birth and 2 weeks.
Next up: Mummy’s question time. This made it the best of visits.
My first question concerned sleeping. He sleeps very well does our Sam (a little too well, you’ll see why later), but going to sleep is not so easy. He’s pretty mellow, he just liked to be rocked and cuddled to sleep. A quick burst in the neglect-o-matic (his electric swing) will often also do the trick. This is OK, but at some point, this has to stop. It is going to seriously cramp his dating if his Mum has to rock him to sleep every night 😉
I raised this with Wes, but he said ‘He’s just being a baby’ and that was kind of that… it is hard to have too much of an impact when I am at work every day 😦 If it was daycare they’d have to do as I say! If it is my husband… doesn’t quite work that way. Anyway, rocking / cuddling / swinging to sleep it was. I asked the pediatrician if this was OK, and his opinion was that it was time to stop. He said there was zero need to ‘Ferber-ize’ (cry-it-out, leave him alone) Sam yet, but that it was time he was woke up where he went to sleep and so no sleeping in arms, no sleeping in the swing, not downstairs etc. Fine to stay in the room, sit by him, pat him, sing to him. Fine to rock him to ‘really sleepy’, but he should finally go off in his crib / bassinet / co-sleeper / wherever we let him sleep finally.
I realize that there are many, many styles of sleep training, at many, many ages. And probably, no one is better than the other. I think it is very much each to their own and I just didn’t feel ours was right for Sam. I liked our pediatrician’s moderate approach: start the process, but nothing too severe. He thinks 4-6 months is time to get Sam self-soothing completely (or Ferber-ize him as he said), before he starts forming real memories, but for now it is just good to start the process now.
I’ll tell you: I was pleased to hear it, but I am not entirely sure how we are going to do it. Sam doesn’t really understand “hey, I am sitting right by you, and this is all for your benefit so you don’t get some huge shock at some point”. I am not sure he is suddenly, magically, going to sleep in his crib, but hey ho.
OK, onto the next question: Feeding. Ugh. This is an emotional one. Actually, this was nearly the subject of a post, but it was too hard to write about. So.. here we go:
As an aside: Do you know, feeding is the only thing that has made me cry about parenting? I cried about it once in the hospital, once at home, once in the office and now once at the pediatrician. That is 4 cries in 9 weeks. I cry every 2.5 weeks because of feeding. It’s HARD! Anyway…
When I was pregnant I wasn’t that wedded to the idea of breastfeeding. I said “Weeelll… I’ll give it a go and see how it goes”. I was lucky – with a lot of support, it went pretty well. And I liked it, and wanted to continue it. It became pretty important to me. I can’t explain why… because of the time with Sam.. because of guilt at no maternity leave… because of feeling I was doing something ‘right’… I am not sure. I just really wanted to give him breast milk for 6 months. It was, for me, instinctual.
But, I was back in the office, on and off, when Sam was 3.5 weeks. It made feeding on demand very difficult. It also made pumping on a schedule difficult because I didn’t want to pump and then not be able to feed Sam by breast. That made it very difficult to establish a decent supply. Also, as above, Sam is a deep, deep sleeper. He sleeps deep and heavy and although he wakes to eat, since about 3/4 weeks, just has a small snack. If I wake him fully, he still doesn’t eat. He either spits out the nipple, or ‘fake sucks’ so no milk comes out. Again – the 14 hour night gap of not properly feeding made it difficult to establish a supply. I could have fed Sam, then pumped. But at 2 am, when you know you are at work, and you have just been up for 20 mins feeding, a 20 min pump is a hard, hard thing to motivate yourself for. There was always an excise: well, I have an 8 am meeting… well, I have to see my student… well, there is a deadline I am racing for. I just didn’t do it.
In the end… Sam had to be given a bottle of formula in the afternoon. At first I hated it (I didn’t even tell Wes the first time I gave him one!), but then I thought it was OK, as long as it was one bottle. But… returning to the office full-time (when Sam was 7.5 weeks) co-incided with Sam deciding more and more of his intake should be in the day – he has 5 oz (formula) at lunch and a whopping 8 oz (expressed) at night. Plus regular sized feeds in between. Geeez – meant that not only could I not keep up, but as he drank from me less and less in the evening / at night, I seemed to produce less and less of what he needed.
If you formula feed – that’s cool. I just think, where possible, every Mum & Dad should have the right to bring up their kid in the way they want to. I wanted to bring up Sam mostly on breast milk, keeping supplementing to a minimum, and was upset I couldn’t. Not just upset: guilty. I felt guilty that I was not pumping at night. Very guilty. I even pumped for up to an hour every 2 hours (and that is every 2 hours from start of each session, not finish… sometimes I had only 40 mins between sessions by the time I had set up / dismantled and washed everything). But, I just couldn’t bring myself to do it at 4 am, knowing I was in the office the next day.
Anyway, I mentioned this to the Dr. He was wonderful. He cut me off when I said ‘I could pump at night…” and said “REST.. you are working… REST”. He then said the words I think every new Mum needs to hear. Umprompted, he said:
“You are doing wonderfully. In fact, you are doing more than enough, above and beyond. You’re a great Mom”.
And he didn’t say it because I asked, or because he thought I needed to hear it. he just said it, almost to himself, as he checked Sam’s reflexes.
However, he did look at my milk output, which dwindles to ~ .5 oz in the afternoon, and said it was lower than expected and prescribed me something to help. Yeah – so some people think you shouldn’t use these drugs. Eh, I am cool with that. I trust my pediatrician. One of the risk factors for not producing enough hormones is bleeding after childbirth, so maybe I just need to recover from that.
Anyway, it was wonderful to know that I was doing all I reasonably could for Sam, and to have support and help. And, I have not met anyone who I felt really understood my desire to breastfeed as much as possible. I actually wanted to kiss him.
Unfortunately, the drug is not covered by my insurance. It is OTC in the UK (why does this happen when my UK friends are RETURNING already), and I am fighting the insurance company, so we’ll see what comes of it. I have asked my Ma to send me out some and perhaps I’ll order online. In the meantime, I am going to take Fenugreek and actually remember my iron.
Then we moved on to the terrible part of the visit: the inoculations.
So many of my friends kindly told me that the vaccinations were actually fine, and their kids were fine, and it was all OK. I felt a million times better when I heard this and feel I should add my voice to this call to help others. But I can’t. It was terrible! Sam screamed at the first injection. A real yell of pain. He took my knuckle and calmed down but when the second and third came, he had no interest in being calmed, and cried his heart out. It probably didn’t help that I was weeping like a baby too.
Ugh. We dressed him, and he quickly calmed down. In fact, while Sam & I were waiting for Wes to bring the car around, Sam was like this:
Of course… I was still crying. Ah well. Must be stronger next time.