We took Blaise to the doctor last week for his two-month checkup. Everything looks good, so hooray for that. The big surprise was that he weighed 14 pounds. I took him in for a checkup right after he got out of the hospital at 3 weeks old, and he weighed 8lb, 8oz. That means he gained five-and-a-half pounds in five-and-a-half weeks. Actually, geek that I am, I did the math: 2.4oz per day. It explains why Blaise had been sleeping so much and nursing every 1.5 hours! It also explains why I've felt like I could eat everything in sight lately. The doctor said, "That's not milk you're feeding him, that's cream!"
Although, this reminds me of something that bugs me. (Rant alert!) It truly bewilders me when people act as if your baby's growing quickly is something to brag about, and not growing quickly is something to be ashamed of. Sure, I suppose there are negligent parents who fail to feed their babies when the babies are hungry. THAT should be a reason to feel ashamed. But assuming you're a parent who feeds your baby when the baby needs to be fed, then you have no real control over how quickly the baby grows. It's just biology, right? Nothing to be proud or ashamed of in plain old biology.
And actually, as someone whose baby happens to be growing quickly I think I have LESS to be proud of than people who struggle with babies who aren't growing fast enough. Those parents work HARD to feed their babies. They wake them at all hours, they pump, they do what they have to do to get the job done. I, on the other hand, am feeding-lazy. I just pop the baby on whenever he's grumpy or rooting and I don't worry about how often he eats or how much he's getting. Absolutely nothing for me to be proud of there.
Bragging about a quickly growing baby... it's like those people who brag because they're tall.
(Name that movie!)
Not to obsess over this feeding topic, but I do have a theory about why Blaise is growing so fast. (Camilla grew at a normal pace.) I like to ponder this sort of thing, so I thought I'd share.
I think I've mentioned before that I have oversupply. It is oversupply with a capital O. For example, when we were in the hospital, I would feed Blaise, then go and use one of the hospital-grade breast-pumps and get enough in one pumping session for three more feedings. It was insane.
Even though this huge supply also means that milk leaks all over constantly in the early weeks, I am not complaining about it. Oversupply is a nice problem to have.
They tell you to feed on both sides each time when you're nursing, but with Camilla I quickly learned not to do that. One side would fill her up just fine, so I gave her just one side per feeding.
After we brought Blaise home from the hospital (the second time) I mentioned on Twitter that he was gassy. I thought it was just normal newborn gas, but a friend said, "I know you have oversupply issues. He could be getting too much foremilk. Have you tried doing two feedings in a row on each side?"
I figured I had nothing to lose, so I started that right away. It helped a lot with Blaise's gas, and I also noticed that he was less fussy and reflux-y during a feeding when it was the second feeding on that side. (I know that could be due to reduced flow, but my letdown is really strong no matter what, so I think it's because of the milk content more than the flow.)
I kept up the two-feedings-per-side, and I think that's probably why Blaise has been growing so fast: he's getting all the hindmilk I have, which is apparently a fair amount.
I hope you guys have been reading along over at Faith & Family, because we've got lots of good stuff going on there this Lent. I am still on a reduced posting schedule (maternity leave!) but this week I wrote about my little girl growing up (waaaah!) and about the lesson of the Annunciation (you know, the kind of thing I used to write here back when this blog was actually somewhat focused).
Go check it out!
So, having two kids is no cakewalk. It is definitely harder than having just one.
Blaise is such an easy baby. If he didn't have reflux he might actually be the easiest baby I've ever come across.
He cries only when he is hungry or uncomfortable (generally from the reflux) and he soothes easily. He actually seems to like to sleep and he already goes to sleep on his own. On a number of occasions I've actually put him in his crib wide awake and he's dozed off after a little while. Between naps he sits happily in a chair or sling, looking around in his chill-baby way. He doesn't cry during diaper or outfit changes or during his baths. He is just incredibly mellow. He still doesn't sleep for more than two to three hours at a time but he's only nine weeks old and he wakes up because he's hungry; I don't expect that he'll actually be able to go longer than that without eating for quite a while yet. When he is finally capable of it, I'm cautiously optimistic that he'll sleep pretty well.
I think I've mentioned that when Camilla was a baby I would read things from baby "experts" and feel like I was going insane. These people said their methods would work; I could not imagine a reality in which the methods would work on my baby.
Well, I have a new theory about baby "experts," at least the ones who use a one-size-fits-all approach. I think they must all have had babies like Blaise. Having a baby this agreeable would make anyone feel like an expert.
It would be good for the world, really, if everyone's first baby was high-needs like Camilla. There would be a lot fewer people with the hubris to hand out one-size-fits-all parenting advice!
Speaking of parenting advice, here's something interesting.
One of the most popular devices of handing out advice seems to be The Warning. This is generally given by parents of older children along the formula, "Don't do [blank], because then your baby will always need [blank]." Don't let the baby sleep in the swing or she'll always need movement to sleep. Don't put her to sleep in the sling or she'll always need to go to sleep in the sling. Don't let her sleep with you or you'll never get her out of your bed.
Oh, and my favorite, which was never actually said to me but which I've read in various places: don't let babies nurse past a year old, or they'll be impossible to wean.
During Camilla's babyhood, Bryan and I were so busy just coping that we pretty much ignored these warnings. We figured that it wasn't worth it to make our lives miserable now just for the sake of avoiding possible future inconvenience.
And guess what?
At two months Camilla would only nap in the swing or when she was being held.
By eight months old she needed neither of those things.
At five months she was pretty much impossible to put to sleep without the sling.
The next month she didn't need it anymore.
For most of her first two years she slept in our bed.
She sleeps just fine in her own bed now.
I nursed her until she was 22 months old.
She quit abruptly on her own. (Before I was quite ready, frankly.)
I've also heard from many people that it is Very Bad to stay with your kids until they go to sleep, because then they'll be, like, twelve years old and still need you in their rooms at bedtime. I figured this might be true, but Bryan and I have always felt that high-strung Camilla would simply not deal well with being left in a room on her own, and we were not about to risk her emotional security. So every night for her whole life, one of us has been with her until she went to sleep.
But just in the past month she's started drawing out bedtime, and when I would sit with her I'd feel like she was really just playing - taking advantage of my presence in the dark to stay up and amuse herself instead of going to sleep like she knew she was supposed to do. I felt she was ready to start going to sleep alone.
So all this week I've been reading to her, singing two songs, then turning out the light (we leave a nightlight on) then going to sit in the hall outside the bedroom until Camilla goes to sleep. She has needed some reassuring that I'm still there and that I haven't Disappeared. But she has been going to sleep on her own. The first night it took almost an hour; the nights since them have been better. I figure we'll eventually transition "Just out in the hall to "Just out in the living room" and then we'll be good. She'll be going to bed without us!
And she's not even close to age twelve.
I'm definitely going to disregard those Warnings in the future.
We all have a nasty cold. When is the Winter of the Plague going to end?
More quick takes at Conversion Diary.