BABY + SOLID FOOD does NOT = SLEEP

I need to vent.

I need to vent about all the mother’s who have this motto that they’ve adapted from somewhere that BABY + SOLID FOOD = SLEEP. Like an idiot, I desperately jumped on your band wagon hoping and praying that perhaps you were right…and now I am desperately trying to teach others NOT to make the same assumptions that I made.

SLEEPING THROUGH THE NIGHT is not about how much food you can stuff in your baby’s mouth throughout the day. In the beginning I mostly believed (as the scientific evidence suggests) that babies sleep through the night when they are biologically ready to sleep through the night. I was impressed when my 3 month old started sleeping from 10 pm to 5am. I am not impressed that my now almost 6 month old does NOT sleep through the night. What happened? Perhaps it was the kazillon health issues we’ve faced: colds, ear infections, bronchiolitis, or reflux to name a few…perhaps it could be blamed on teething – but I am more apt to believe that when our 3 month old was sleeping through the night it was mere coincidence. At 4 months old he stopped sleeping through the night and we were giving him a bottle at 3am and he’s sleep the remainder of the night….by 5 months old our son had reverted to a newborn and we were feeding every 3 hours during the night.

AGAINST our pediatricians recommendations and after countless people got on our case about “he needs solid food”, “if you just give him solid food he’ll sleep at night”, “he’s a big boy, he needs solid food”……we jumped on this crazy BABY + SOLID FOOD = SLEEP band wagon. I am here to dispel the myth….

I am here to tell you that the whole BABY + SOLID FOOD = SLEEP idea is a load of smelly dog crap – the kind that stinks so bad even the maggots want nothing to do with it. We started giving Jacob a tablespoon of cereal by spoon in the evening – no change…CRAP we must be doing something wrong…HE’S NOT SLEEPING…..so we added another tablespoon of cereal in the morning….HE’S NOT SLEEPING…but not only is he NOT sleeping…he’s STILL consuming the same amount of formula if not more – 35-40 ounces a day.

So here’s my deal….let’s just all admit that the reason people give their newborn, 1 month, 2 month, 3 month old babies solid food has nothing to do with SLEEP and everything to do with “wow it’s so cool to give my baby solid food” or “my mom gave it to me and I turned out fine”. Childhood rates of obesity and diabetes are quickly on the uprise – why do we have to rush our children onto solid foods because we hope *fingers crossed* that it will buy us a couple extra hours of sleep – aren’t we better off waiting just a little longer to introduce solid foods and we could be buying our children extra years at life? Isn’t that more important?

Let me be clear – I believe there is a time and a place for the early introduction of solid foods….if your pediatrician recommends them for medical purposes whatever that may be…but if your reasoning is simple the hope that your baby will sleep through the night…I hope that you will heed my warning….it does not work….if it does work…it’s a coincidence. My son is 19 pounds and 28.5 inches long….according to books out there – there should be no reason why he needs a middle of the night feeding – but he does….I just spent the last 15 minutes listening to him scream at the top of his lungs…while I tried to pacify him with a soother….and then I caved and I gave him the bottle….

We can’t go back now…..there is no point in discontinuing the cereal. After the battle of getting him to accept it – he now enjoys it…the mere site of the bowl makes him squeal in delight….to take it away now after 2 weeks on the stuff…makes no sense…..he turns 6 months old in two weeks anyways and we’d have to start all over again…..

I’m just upset at myself…that I allowed myself to be mystified by the possibility that he could sleep through the night. I didn’t stick up for myself as an educated mother – as someone who has strong feelings about how I want to parent – I’m bummed at myself about that.

My goal shouldn’t be a sleeping through the night baby – my goal should be a happy content and healthy baby. I allowed my sleep deprived self to forget that. I never wanted to be that person that did something because everyone told me I was doing it wrong…..and I became that person. Shame on me for not sticking up for myself…..shame on me for not going with my gut…..

Jacob isn’t gonna be 600 pounds because I gave him cereal at 5 months….I’m not saying people who introduce solids early are bad parents….that’s not what this is about at all. I’m saying that perhaps these medical doctors and researchers are onto something…..I have always said that I would do what I feel is best for my family based on the information that I had from reliable sources….This time around I goofed up…..I’d say the American Association of Pediatrics is much more reliable then some 70 year old lady on the street who thinks you’re starving your child because gosh forbid…he’s only having formula.

I believe we as parents are capable of making the choices that we feel are best for our child…..

I’m just urging you to remember – as good as it feels…..don’t let sleep be your motivating factor.

If I had a soap box…I’d get off of it now…

Adventures In FRIGGEN Shopping

Everyone who knows me knows that I LOVE LOVE LOVE to go shopping for Jacob. I have my favorite hot spots such as Gymboree, Baby Gap, & The Children’s Place where I can find a lot of cute outfits for Jacob – I have to say that I’m addicted to shopping probably because I have nothing else to do with my time. Anyways, the other day (Thursday November 9th) to be exact, I headed off to the mall with my Circle of Friends Coupon in hand – super excited to score some great deals at gymboree.

I was able to find ALL the things I wanted in stock AND in Jacob’s size – gosh this day was going friggen perfect! I never have that kind of luck. So I was off to check out Baby Gap to check out some of their newer lines and hit the clearance rack. Here’s where My Adventure’s in “FRIGGEN” shopping earns it’s FRIGGEN!! I’m standing looking at the clearance rack, sorting through items trying to figure out if there’s anything there in Jacob’s size – then this woman sort of pushes her way in front of me – at this point I could have said something to her – told her off- opened a can of whoop ass on her – but the role modeling mother in me told me not to….so I backed off to let her have a look and I started looking at another rack nearby.

At this point Jacob had awakened from his nap and was crying for food – so I pull out the can of ready to feed Enfamil A+ and I notice the woman who had pushed in front of me at the sales rack (who was a very thin Asian woman wearing a bubblegum pink juicy couture velor sweat suit with her louis vuitton purse hanging over her arm – did I say very thin? I’m talking no boobs, no arse, nothing but straightness from head to toe)..ugg sorry got distracted there….anyways I noticed her STARING at me while I prepared Jacob’s bottle – WHAT THE HECK LADY – go away…I gave you my DIBS on the sales rack!

So….I continued to pour out Jacob’s formula (a 5 ounce bottle) and this woman was STARING at me, then at Jacob, then at the can of formula, then back to me, back to jacob, back to the can (you get the picture)….then she say’s: “How old is he?” and I say happily: “HE’S FIVE MONTHS OLD TODAY!!”…she responds with a worried confused face “hmmmmm”…then she turns her attention to the can I am holding my hand and says….”are you feeding him condensed carnation milk?”….WHAT THE HECK LADY GET AWAY FROM ME….politely with an annoyed smile I say….”no, it’s called baby formula”….so she looks at me, then back at Jacob, then back at me, and says and I quote “hmmppphhh well it must be genetics”…..

EXCUSE ME…..

WAIT….

BACK THAT THING UP….

Did that skinny lil thing just say what I thought she said……whatever….

I turned to her with a nasty look and said (and remember I don’t swear a lot) ” You’re a BITCH and I’m betting that’s not genetic”….then my friend pulled me away and said let’s get out of here….it took everything in my power not to slap that primped little turd right across the face….

YES I’m overweight…..no MY baby is not – he’s a FRIGGEN baby for crying out loud….to all the people in the world that want to make comments….here’s what I have to say…

DON’T….

Have you ever heard of “if you don’t have anything nice to say don’t say anything at all?”….like c’mon people….just because one parent is overweight…it does not mean their child is going to be overweight – sure if that person introduces their child to unhealthy eating habits – it’s possible…but FOR CRYING OUT LOUD….get a life…

That brings me to another issue…

FAT PEOPLE EXIST…yes they do people….the next time you want to stare at me or anyone else when they get on the bus or walk down the street….remember if you do …I’m going to stare back at you because you’re ugly or ignorant or whatever….

Is the world just a giant HIGHSCHOOL? I thought I left all this idiocy behind me….GROW UP or start wearing my sons pampers…..your choice…

To Sleep or Not to Sleep

We are in a dilemma – and for the first time in a while I’m not quite sure what the best route will be to resolve this dilemma. Jacob is 5 months old this week and I’m betting he’s close to 19 pounds and 28 inches long – a big boy. He had been sleeping through the night at 3 months old but two colds and an ear infection pretty much made us say sianara to that- while sick, Jacob became accustomed to middle of the night feedings again and now, instead of slowly sleeping longer and longer each night, he is sleeping for shorter and shorter periods of time. It’s getting really bad – he ate at 11pm last night and started crying off the top of his head to eat again at 1:50 am….we didn’t even make it 3 hours – that has never happened before. Excuse me if I can’t be my usual philosophical self but it’s just after 2am, I’m tired and I’m particularly void of any real intelligence.

Something has to change – but what?

A few thoughts have been going through my head the past couple of weeks as we’ve sunk deeper deeper into the abyss of night time awakenings and feedings. Last night an attempt to “cry it out” was horribly unsuccessful because my son – instead of eventually settling just continued to cry louder and louder and louder until he had the all out snot running down face, hyperventilating, tears on cheek type of cry going on – I’m certain that had we let him cry for even a second more our neighbours would have knocked on our door to make sure we were not killing the poor lad – Crying it out just seems so horrifying to me – but is this what we have to do? There is no reason why a child who is getting 7 bottles a day needs to wake up less then 3 hours after he has fallen asleep to eat AGAIN. Biologically, they say (though I’m never too sure who “they” are) babies should be able to sleep for at least a 5 hour stretch once they hit 11 pounds – Jacob was 12 pounds at 2 months and change….we have all heard of the FERBER method to get babies to sleep which does involve some form of crying out – but do we really have to resort to that?

A second thought that crosses my mind is that perhaps the time has come (as sad as this may seem for me) for Jacob’s crib to make the journey to his own bedroom. This thought alone is frightening and overwhelming (for me not likely for him) to say the least. I worry that perhaps we are “jumping too fast” (though to say “we” are jumping too fast is an understatement – that should read “I” since I’m usually the first one to wake up) and getting Jacob from his fussing self before he really needs the attention. Perhaps being in his own room is the ticket to a restful night sleep for all – but then I worry about the risk of SIDS – they say (still haven’t figure out who “they” are) that babies should sleep close to their parents for the first 6 months of life but they also say that the risk of SIDS drops dramatically after 4 months of age and once the baby can move their head from side to side – even more so if the baby is able to roll. Jacob is 5 months old, has no issues moving his head from side to side, AND can roll successfully from belly to back and from back to side – he hasn’t quite made it all the way over from back to belly yet. So do we take the door off the hinges and pull the crib out of our bedroom and put Jacob in his own room? Or do we wait until after 6 months old as we had initially decided?

The third thought (and perhaps the most confusing to me) is that maybe Jacob does need solid food now. Our pediatrician felt that Jacob does not need it and that formula alone should be enough to sustain him until he is 6 months old – I trust my physician but part of me believes that perhaps he is just telling us what he “has to recommend”. Jacob is a big tall boy – he is not a peanut by any means and I’m worried that the formula is not sustaining his big self….everyone around me thinks he needs to have cereal added to his diet – I’m not convinced but I’m worrying now that he might need it (not because he’s STARVING) but because he’s really a big little guy and the formula really isn’t filling him up – when I examine his eating patterns during the day I realize that Mike and I spend a lot of time trying to get Jacob to go three hours between feedings – which our doctor says he should be going at least 4 at this age – asking Jacob to go four hours between feedings is like trying to get Saddam Hussein to admit he’s guilty. Some people will say to increase the amount that Jacob gets at each feeding – but I’m telling you that from my experience this doesn’t work. Jacob would eat 7 – 8 ounce bottles a day if we let him. I have never experienced Jacob pulling away from a bottle, leaving formula in a bottle, or acting like he is full – if the formula is there he will eat it – and 56 ounces of formula a day isn’t good for any baby. So, he is satisfied with 5 ounces at a time 7 times a day (including the nighttime feeding)…but we just can’t go on forever feeding the child at night – so do we start to introduce cereal (by spoon not by bottle) or do we continue with our original plan to wait till 6 months…

Parenting is so many things – rewarding, overwhelming, exciting, frustrating, fulfilling, even exhausting at times. I would not give up being Jacob’s parent ever – till the day I draw my last breath and even after – I will love him entirely. I never find myself angry that he wakes up at night because it is impossible to be angry with someone so small who loves you so unconditionally despite your many flaws – he did not chose me but he loves me and that is just miraculous to me. We will trudge on either continuing with the night time feedings and awakenings or chosing to try one of the above options – but whatever we do – we will continue to try and chose the best option we know…yesterday while we were out for breakfast with Mike’s mom – Jacob learned his “m” sound – and he said ma ma ma ma – and I couldn’t help but love him more – he wasn’t associating ma ma with me just yet – but he was looking at me and speaking those sounds – and I let him know with my smile and with my words – that yes I was his mama and that I always would be no matter what…

Eat, sleep, cry…whatever it is, whenever it is – I am his mother.