I missed that chapter

When Baby #4 and I went to visit the doctor one week after her birth, he asked me how it was going.

“Well, it’s so much easier with my fourth,” I said. “At least I kind of know what I’m doing.”

Back with the first child, I read all the books about how to get a baby to sleep. I learned all about getting a baby on a good schedule as early as possible. I knew how to be tough and let a baby cry, if necessary, to teach her how to soothe herself to sleep.

I was making some progress with the newborn. Then, we hit five weeks. She had been more of a spitter than my others since birth. But as I anxiously awaited the end of the crabby stage that always hits at 6 weeks, she was getting fussier than ever.

We had made progress reaching four- and five-hour stretches of sleep, but seemed to be going backward. The spitting was turning into puking after every feeding.

At 3 months, I expected a growth spurt. I wasn’t ready for a week-long, round-the-clock, every-two-hour demand for nursing.

And now that we’ve hit four months, I’ve basically thrown away all of the books. Because they didn’t write a chapter about this.

Instead of doubling her birth weight at the 4-month visit, Babycake weighed in at 11 pounds, 7 ounces this month. The doctor actually gave me a little worried look because she had dropped down to the 15th percentile for weight. And his very conservative “breastmilk until 6 months approach” changed to, “let’s try to get her to eat cereal three times a day.” Starting now.

We’re not sure why she’s spitting up so much of what she’s consuming. It could be an allergy to something in my diet. Or she might grow out of it after we get her going on the cereal.

Until then, I’ve stopped worrying about the books and everything I learned with the other kids. She doesn’t have a sleep schedule. She is up basically every two hours all night long. She doesn’t nap well. And I think she’s spitting up so much of what she consumes that’s she simply hungry.

She’s a super sweet, smiley baby when she’s fed and her tummy doesn’t hurt. She’s started laughing out loud. She makes spitting noises at us to get our attention. She rolls up on her sides and scoots on her back to try to get what she wants. She’s reaching all of her milestones.

But when she cries, I hold her. When she chews her hand, I feed her. Even if it hasn’t been three hours. Even when the books say not to.

And that’s OK. Because I did learn one thing from being a mom of three other kids. I will blink, and she will be 9 years old. This time will be over before I know it.

I feel like I have no book knowledge on how to help her or what to do next. I’m going purely on that mommy gut instinct at this point, and thankfully, that’s one thing I have now that I couldn’t get from a book.

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  1. If there's one thing I learned being a mom of 4 (now teenagers) it is exactly that. We as their mothers are blessed with an insight an intuition for them. Way to go on listening to that. One little piece of advice… DON'T BLINK TWICE!

  2. I had exactly the same experience with both of my sons and it transpired that they had ACID REFLUX. You may have come across this before but if not, it is basically similar to indigestion/heartburn in adults but tends to be much more uncomfortable in infants. My sons didn't actually vomit (they had silent reflux) but it is more usual to spit up with it. For my older son, it was as simple as adding some Infant Gaviscon to every feed and he was a different child overnight. He also grew out of it and it vastly improved when he began taking solid food. It was a bit more complicated with my younger son – we tried many things before finding that Kolanticon Gel works for him. He is almost 3 now and still needs to take medication or he gets a sore timmy and goes off his food. My daughter shows no signs of reflux at all. We are in the UK so the medication may be named differently in the US but I would suggest googling reflux and see what you come up with. You may need to persuade your Doctor also as reflux seems to be a condition that doctors are reluctant to diagnose (I had to tell my Doc that I wasn't leaving the surgery until I got Infant Gaviscon!). Hope this helps and, failing that, you're right of course – my mantra – "THIS TOO SHALL PASS" …Debbie Mitchell xdebbie.mitchell@freeuk.com

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