It’s always something, you know? Just this weekend Jess fell off the couch while cruising, and while I caught her halfway down, there was an unfortunately placed toddler chair that caught her temple, leaving her with a surprisingly-pretty purple black eye. (And of course, the panicked call to the nurse line, and the half hour wake-up-the-baby concussion checks, and did I mention this was on the same day as her 12 months shots?) Despite the scare, and the swelling, she’s totally fine, and I’m sure this won’t be the last injury she sustains. The kid is physically ambitious, and fearless. At a playdate this weekend, she went straight for the toddler sized rocking chair, climbed up on the seat, stood up, grabbed the back and started rocking it, all gleeful. Given a chance, she’ll scale the back of the leather couch and try to climb across the computer desk. She thinks desk chairs are the best walking toys, but that they’re even better if you put her in the seat and spin her until she’s dizzy. So I expect that she’ll be hurt again, and I’ll worry, but I also have faith in the strength of the baby skull and her resilience in bouncing back.
But other things are harder to deal with. Things with less clear cause and effect. (Fall = scary = bruise. No mystery there!) Jess’s weight has been an issue since birth – it’s been all over the map, and often not for clear reasons, and it’s really scary. She’s now 13 months old, and we’re just climbing out of the 3rd weight crisis of her short life. She lost 11% of her weight post-birth, and it took two separate tongue tie snips to correct her latch and another couple of weeks to get her weight on track. The next she was around 5 months old, where, unbeknownst to me, my milk had mostly dried up, and she was starving. This was only discovered when she’d dropped from 75th percentile to 30th percentile in weight, and I talked to my doctor about the PPD returning due to the sleep deprivation from comforting what turned out to be a screamingly hungry baby all night long. I was put on Domperindone (the same drug my father took for chemo side effects!) and within a week she was plumping back up and only waking once at night to feed. Then, at a year, I went back to work (thanks, Canada!) and she started daycare and her first teeth actually arrived and she became totally mobile, all at the same time. She dropped to the 5st percentile in weight, and then went on an illness caused hunger-strike, and dropped down to the 1st percentile. She adjusted to daycare and got over that round of colds, and is back up to 15th percentile, but she’s still a tiny peanut. In a year, she’s gone from the 90th percentile (incorrectly) to the 1st (scarily).
And I want to wean SO BADLY that it’s making me weepy. But I can’t, the doctor says, at least until she gets back on a healthy growth curve. I’ve been breastfeeding for 13.5 months, quasi on demand, quasi on schedule, because she’s never hunger cued very well. I’ve been on the pills for 8 months. I’m tired of them. I’m tired of them decimating my libido, and making my hair fall out. I’m tired being too cheap to buy the 36H cup bra I need, because I keep thinking I’ll be able to wean soon, and of none of my work clothes fitting my chest. I’m tired of waking every night to feed her, after months of her sleeping through the night. I’m so very tired, and then stay up all night worrying about her. But I can’t not feed the baby, and I don’t know if I want to try feeding her like, muffins or fruit packs at 3 am. So nursing it is.
She’s a great eater. Jess’ll eat almost anything off my plate, from chickpea curry to broccoli to sashimi. I worked diligently to introduce her to fruits and veg, but may have neglected to give her enough fats or whole grains in the 10-12 month period, and therefore kind of blame myself for the weight issues. But I didn’t know! I was so smug about my green bean and aged cheese devouring baby that maybe I wasn’t pushing enough rich food on her? Or my anti-refined sugar stance? I was kind of relying on breastfeeding to fill any nutritional gaps? And it didn’t work, and here I have this amazing eater with no detectible medical problems (we’ve done blood tests, which was awful) who, during the day, does not give off any real hunger or satiety cues.
She doesn’t like drinking milk (cow or goat) or juice. She eats the highest fat yogurt I can find, and cheese, and the occasional ice cream, now that I’ve broken my no-refined-sugar stance. We’ve never had any real food issues, other than that one week of illness, and the few foods she rejects (peaches, millet, berries about half the time) are done politely, and don’t interfere with her eating the rest of the meal. I read a pretty helpful book that was highly recommend, and it was great for hopefully setting up healthy boundaries about food, but didn’t quite answer what to do if your kid is failing to thrive despite enjoying all the food. Because of the illness, we’ve fallen out of my previous 4 meals and 2-4 breastfeeding sessions a day routine, and now feed her from basically dinner time to bedtime in the hope that she’ll sleep through the night. (It never works.) I don’t know if I should be cutting off snacking, or allow her to keep eating dried berries in the hour between dinner and bedtime, or what. I just don’t know.
I know, like all the other mini crisises, that this will pass and I’ll look back with relief that we got through another one, but it doesn’t make it any less stressful to live through. There are no right answers, or at least, none than anyone can give me.We just keep muddling through, and offering the baby green Thai coconut curry with chicken and peas, and marveling that she’ll eat it, while hoping that it’s enough. While hoping that I can wean soon. That she’ll start sleeping through the night again. That sleeping through the night again will happen before I need a caffeine IV to get through the work day…