Friday, December 10, 2010

Baby Amnesia

My husband claims to be done having children. One boy, one girl, two kids = no more babies! I, on the other hand, haven't decided. I'm thinking three children would be nice, especially since I birth such beautiful babies, but I'm also terrified to go through another newborn phase. Yet, even now, as Miriam is only 10 weeks old, I look back and say to myself, "Yes, it was hard. It was agonizing. I remember thinking I was going to die. But it really wasn't that bad, was it?!"

Miriam is starting to come into her own. She's awake quite a bit during the day now, and for the most part manages to sleep at night. (Don't ever ask a mother how her baby sleeps. Do you really want us to start crying?!) She wakes for two feedings in the night. Usually she falls right back asleep after the first one, and I usually fall asleep while she's nursing so if you ever thought to walk into my house in the middle of the night, you might get a pretty indecent show! The second feeding is mostly a hit or miss if she'll fall back into a deep sleep. Every other night, she might be grunting and groaning and straining against her swaddle. She's not fully awake, and heaven forbid if you take her out of the swaddle, but she's not restful and so I don't fall back asleep. During the day, when she's awake, she is more able to be set down and be played with. I'm no longer standing with her, constantly walking and jiggling her, or crying right along with her. When she's napping though, she does prefer to be cuddled right up on my chest. I'll give her that; it's my time to sit and relax too!

Have I mentioned that she was diagnosed with GERD at 8 weeks? I asked the pediatrician about it on a whim. Prior to that appointment, she wasn't sleeping if she wasn't being held in an upright position. She needed to be in constant motion and was searching to nurse every 20 minutes or so. I actually figured out how to nurse her in the Saddle hold so that I could jiggle my leg and keep her from crying while eating. So I asked if there could be a reason that she would not lay down, maybe acid reflux?

Here's how my pediatrician explained it: All babies have a degree of acid reflux. The muscles at the top of their stomach just aren't strong enough yet to keep everything in, so the fluid just sort of sloshes back and forth. This is why babies are prone to spit. There isn't much acid in the stomach at birth because breastmilk really doesn't need much to be digested (formula does need more, but alas, babies were designed to drink Momma's Milk and that's partly why formula fed babies have thicker poops than breastfed babies...more undigested product coming out!). However, some babies are extremely sensitive to even just a little bit of acid, and then they show signs of colic and GERD. The medication used to treat it is a very gentle version of Zantac, and it works as quickly as adults eating some Tums. It's taken some trial and error to get the right doses for Miriam, and we're still not at a perfect dose for her, but she is growing very fast and it's hard to keep up. She is now comfortable most of the day though, and it is expected that she will outgrow this as her stomach muscles mature around the 3 month growth spurt.

Yet, there is a possibility that she could have a dairy protein intollerance. That and GERD often go hand in hand. I have noticed that a day after I eat more dairy than usual (say anything more than the milk on my cereal in the morning), she is more fussy and more spitty. I've been hesitant to cut dairy completely out of my diet though because it is in everything from the obvious ice cream, cheese, and yogurt, to bread, potato chips, and soda. I've promised her though that if this doesn't clear up for her by the time she's finished the 3 month growth spurt, I will cut dairy out of my diet to see if it helps her. The dairy allergy (also known as a casein allergy) is usually outgrown by 3 years, so I probably don't have to worry about packing school lunches yet.

Benjamin loves his little sister. He enjoys playing with her, tickling her, showing her his trains and cars, and tries to pick her up so she'll sit in his lap. Careful what you show a toddler because they'll want to do it over and over and over again! I still don't get to do as much playing with my little man as I'd like, and I never get any one on one time with him anymore. I know he's hurting for the attention because he's getting more frustrated with his days. The two little boys that I nanny for have gone to Australia for a vacation, and Benjamin misses them very much. He's been running up to every child we encounter and asking them to come play. Poor little boy! He needs more friends! I think it's time that I try to find some real playdates for him.

Me? I'm still dragging along. I'm getting more sleep now, so that helps me feel more human now, but I still do occassionally trade in my daily opportunity to have a shower in peace for an extra half hour of sleep in the morning. I can't always keep up with my housework, but now it's leaning more towards the "I don't want to be bothered with it" category than the "it's an impossible feat for me at this moment" category. I have, however, been doing much better at cooking meals for my family. I just bought myself a griddle and it's the most awesome thing ever! If it can't be cooked on the griddle, it won't be cooked in this house! I am, however, really missing my opportunities to have a bit of freedom. I miss being able to run to the store without a ton of effort and planning. I miss being able to go out with friends on a Friday night. I miss having a phone call that doesn't leave the other person saying, "Should I let you go? I hear your kids crying in the background." Chris is doing his best to support our family, but it means he's not around to help me very much or give me the breaks I feel I need. I look forward to the summer when he will be home in the evenings again. Frankly, I look forward to the week between Christmas and New Year's when all music goes on a short vacation!

The kids got to go see Santa Claus at the mall today. Once again, I had to sit in the picture with Benjamin. He wasn't exactly scared of Santa. He just didn't want to sit and have his picture taken. There were much more interesting things behind the camera counter! I wish Chris could have been in the picture too, but he was the one behind the camera this time.

Merry Christmas everyone!

Merry Christmas 2010

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