Thursday, February 17, 2011

Great expectations

Do you ever feel like your baby just doesn't measure up?

I try not to compare Olive to my friends' kids because I know all babies are not built alike. It's okay for some to hit milestones earlier or later than others. But that still doesn't stop me from worrying that my baby might be behind.

Some of Olive's anomalies:

1. Chunky monkey. Though she was just 6 lbs. 14 oz. when she was born, Olive skyrocketed up to the 90th decile within a few months. This one wasn't one I worried about, though. I love me some chunky baby!

2. (Not so) solid as a rock. In line with the American Academy of Pediatrics' recommendation, I didn't attempt to feed Olive solids until she was six-and-a-half months old. When I did, she would have nothing to do with it. I tried feeding her a couple of times a day for two straight months and she never had more than about a teaspoon--and that was if I could force that much into her mouth. I worried she wasn't getting enough nutrition, that she would have a negative association with food, that she was still living on only breast milk while my friend's babies were chowing down peas and carrots at four months old.

Olive never did like pureed food, but did start eating table foods when she was about nine months old and got her first teeth in. Now she's a champion eater and I realize how silly it was for me to worry. Of course she would eat eventually! Anyone who looked at Olive would have realized she was getting, um, adequate calories through nursing and I shouldn't have even wasted my time worrying just because she wasn't on the same eating timeline as most other babies.

3. Creepy crawler. My BabyCenter updates kept telling me that around seven or eight months, my baby should be crawling. When eight, then nine months rolled around and Olive still hadn't showed signs of crawling (even with our aid), I worried that I didn't give her enough tummy time and maybe she wasn't strong enough to crawl. Turns out Olive was one of those babies that went straight to walking around 11 months. Yet another milestone I shouldn't have worried about because, like eating solids, mobility would eventually happen for my little one and if it didn't match up to other babies' milestones, it wasn't a big deal.

4. Sleeping Beauty. Or not. You may recall the post I did about our struggle with sleep in this household, as my one-year-old daughter still likes to wake up at night. Some of my friends say, "Still?!" or express their sympathy that my baby doesn't sleep 13 hours like theirs (lucky ducks!), but I'm trying not to compare. I know a lot of babies still wake up at this age and this, too, shall pass.

5. Milky way.  My latest worry is weaning Olive. I suppose I am in the "extended breastfeeding" club now, which is rare around these parts. My pediatrician says I need to start giving her cow's milk in a sippy cup and ditch the bottle. I've been mixing 1/2 cow's milk with 1/2 breast milk, which Olive will drink if it's warmed up and in a bottle. But when I try to give her any type of milk (even straight breast milk) in a sippy cup, she won't have anything to do with it, though she frequently drinks water from a sippy cup.

So of course, I'm wondering how I'll ever break her bottle habit and if I'll ever be able to wean her. You'd think by now I'd realize that of course she will eventually let go of her bottle and of course she'll eventually drink cow's milk; I just need to be more patient in letting things happen on their own time rather than forcing a somewhat arbitrary timeline on Olive.

I think I worry because I have zero experience with this stuff. I try to educate myself on these topics, but somehow the worry bug still finds its way into my head. If I'm honest, I know why: I tend to feel judged by others in that Olive's lack of timely accomplishments is a poor reflection on my mothering. I know this is ridiculous and I need to just let Olive go at her own pace (with some gentle prodding). Gaining more confidence in this area is something I'm working on. Any suggestions?


Nani said...

I with you on all of these topics. My little one is now 21 months so we have been through most of what you described. s for the sleeping are you still nursing at night? that might be the reason she is up. As for the ebfing I am there with you and it's okay. Every mom mis different and every baby is different.

I think your doing great from what I have read so far (new follower)so just let her go as she wants.

Katie said...

I sure hope you've never felt judged by me! I think it's easy to worry about things when it's your first. I remember worrying when Amelia wasn't reaching for things on schedule. And i STILL worry about her weight. I get non-stop comments on how small she is and its hard to remember that shes growing at her own pace and shes well fed...but I still worry that people think she's malnourished.

All us mommies wonder if we are doing a good enough job. I think you're an amazing mom. Olive is well fed and cared for! You give her all she needs plus lots of love!! And I
think when we have our next babies we will see it's less
about the mothering and more about individuality of our
children! You're awesome, Em. Your honesty is refreshing!

MamaM said...

Thanks Katie! You are the awesome Mom. It is evident how much you love your little girl and I'm so impressed with the routine/schedule you have her on that allows her to thrive day and night.

Nani- I recently stopped breastfeeding at night and send the hubby to get Olive when she just won't quit at night. And thanks for the support. It is nice to know other moms feel the same way!

This Girl loves to Talk said...

yep I had a baby that would near vomit if you put a spoon near her mouth. I've now done baby led weaning with two of my children (didnt know I was doing it at first) where they went straight to solids and skipped the whole mushy food stage. Sure its messy but it great just to share what we happen to be eating (as long as it is healthy :)

All my children woke in the night once they got teeth etc and I have just stopped feeding my one and half year old as I realised it was a 'crutch' for her. It took 10 days of offering a water bottle at night instead and a gentle rock in the rocking chair then putting her back to bed. Now she is sleeping very well.

You'd also be surprised at how many people lie about their kids sleeping through. In some baby books sleeping through = 5 hours. I know of other mothers who say their kid NEVER comes into the parent bed (mine always do if they wake around 2am etc cuase I cant be bothered- they just climb in) and then I find out the woman is spending half the night patting child and laying next to it etc.

I weaned straight from breast to water in cup for my last daughter. the last two have never had a bottle and dont routinely drink bottles/sippy cups of milk. Honestly water and a good diet they will be fine!!

I have learnt not to stress over the time. All this to say I think your post was great. Yes kids do their own thing. It only takes having more than one to see that. I've had early walkers, late walkers, early speakers late speakers, spoon fed refusers, food guzzlers etc. I know no kid is the same now!!