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Saturday, April 17, 2010
Mollie Writes -
The Learning Curve, His AND Ours!
Things flowed fairly evenly after Peter’s first six weeks. And for a preemie, the first year is significant. During that year, we concentrated on his milestones (Peter was either on-target or early). The only problems we ran into were problems generated by operator error (i.e. parental naivety).
Once we passed the pumping phase to direct nursing phase, we moved on to mastitis. I only developed it with my first, Peter, and only when he moved from rubber nipple to mommy’s nipple. I suspect that somewhere out there, there will be data that supports the theory that mastitis develops from direct contact from the baby’s mouth to the mother’s breast. In any event, mastitis is a real ‘adventure’ wherein you dare that baby to nurse from your breasts. Had I not worked so hard to get Peter from bottle to breast, mastitis might have put a crimp in my feeding plans. But antibiotics helped and the mastitis cleared up within a week.
Which brings us to maternal diet. Not what you think: I wasn’t concerned with losing weight - that will come later - but the concept that your bambino gets everything you ingest, be it tacos, hot chili peppers, or antibiotics. Peter was either gassy, constipated, runny, etc. once we started on “On Demand Nursing” meaning you feed the kid when he’s hungry. So a week after the mastitis cleared up, I put myself on a bland diet (no garlic, onions, etc) until he was safely taking solids. And I drank a lot - water, etc. but watched caffeinated products since I’d pass caffeine to Peter along with my milk. And I had absolutely no alcohol - unless you counted the occasional beer.
Peter was a bit colicky at first, but it was nothing that a midnight drive in his father’s VW Diesel Rabbit didn’t fix. I guess there’s something curative in this bumpy, noisy, ecologically preferred mode of transportation in the wee hours. We also want to nominate the person who invented the wind-up swing for a Nobel Prize in Parenting. What a genius!
We were in nursing nirvana until he was six months old when we started introducing solids, beginning with pablum and fruits (mostly applesauce), continuing to pureed veggies, Goldfish crackers, and finally scrambled eggs and little chunks of meat. And we really stretched our learning curve during this time.
When we first started Pete on applesauce, he loved it, so we gave him plenty. Within a couple of days he was experiencing gas - except we didn’t know it was gas. With his screaming and twisting, we were sure he had some terrible bowel obstruction and rushed him to the Emergency Room. After our interview with the RN and the ER physician, bless their hearts, we were left in a little exam room to wait out the inevitable. Eventually Peter began farting and all things passed naturally. But we watched the fruits after that.
We hit another “feed bump” when we started Peter on vegetables. His favorites were squash, carrots and sweet potatoes. Things were going well until I took him to his pediatrician at age 9 months. Dr. Brodie noticed that Peter’s extremities were turning orange and pointed out to me that there are some nice veggies that don’t dye your baby orange. Sigh, another operator error committed.
Peter’s first four months were somewhat anxious for us because we worried about problems related to prematurity. But we’d been told to figure milestones from his due date, not his birthdate, and not think that he was “late” doing anything unless a milestone was significantly missed. As it turned out, Peter was his own little self and did things when HE wanted to - which means when he walked at ten months, it really was nine months, etc. The important message I want to convey is that there is really no “early “ or “late” that first year for a preemie, there’s just normal for your kid. Let the pediatrician fuss over milestones.