As completely clueless brand-new parents about to leave the hospital, the pediatrician we chose beforehand stopped by for a quick talk. A mother herself, she gave us a well-meant advice and guidance which consisted of 8 basic rules to follow.
We nodded with agreement.
Like I said. Clueless.
I did ask a few questions, but they got me nowhere. It always came back to “follow these 8 rules and you’ll be fine.”
Well all righty then…?
Little did I know at the time that:
- My baby wants nothing to do with rules;
- I have the blood of a rebel circulating in my veins;
- Getting fired by a pediatrician is a thing.
We ended up breaking solid 7 out of the 8 rules with one getting us fired from the pediatrician’s practice. Ooooops?
#1 Never co-sleep with your baby.
We broke #1 shortly after bringing our newborn baby home.
Our daughter wasn’t one of these babies that sleep well or that at least fall asleep after being fed.
She had troubles sleeping to begin with, and most of our days and nights were spent with her arching her back and making this horrible, ear-piercing, high-pitched scream. The only time she seemed to be a little more comfortable was when she was being held.
I guess no one realizes how amazing sleep is until a tiny human torture device takes it away from you for two days and two nights in a row…
The first time all of us got some well-needed rest was when I accidentally dozed off in our bed out of exhaustion while nursing. Which we completely intentionally continued to do from then on for the sake of our sanity and the sanity of everybody else that lived in our apartment building.
#2 No feeding on demand, bottle or breast.
I really liked our pediatrician, but common sense and a mother’s intuition ruled almost immediately that #2 was a load of BS.
Apparently, our baby didn’t get the doctor’s memo. She wasn’t a machine. She was a tiny person with her own wants and needs. (Or it could be the rebellion DNA, who knows…?)
I didn’t even feel guilty about breaking this one. Night nursing was especially easy thanks to co-sleeping, and – despite the frequency – I felt satisfyingly rested every morning thanks to this wonderful hormone cholecystokinin which induces sleepiness – both in the baby AND the nursing mom. Sweet, right?
Our first scheduled visit with the pediatrician was quite memorable.
It was when I found out that our one-month-old baby was obese. She dared to gain more weight than the charts had allowed for, which was a problem because there is only a certain amount of fat that the system allows babies to have.
I had to come clean with our on-demand nursing. I’m not good at lying.
Funny thing though…
Our pediatrician had NO CLUE that her fancy charts were based on formula-fed babies or the combination of formula and breastfeeding. I mean, nobody had told her that in all these years?
And I guess it just happens that they somehow forget to tell future pediatricians that exclusively breastfed infants tend to gain weight more rapidly in the initial stages…???
I find it quite acceptable that I didn’t know until I came home and started googling “an obese baby.” I mean, I’m not the one giving breastfeeding advice here…
The truth is, breastfed infants SHOULD feed on demand.
- They have to master the skill of nursing before becoming champion nursers.
- Mom’s milk supply varies throughout the day.
- The composition of breast milk is dynamic and changes all the time.
With a serious look, our pediatrician informed me that our baby will continue to gain weight too rapidly if I keep this up, and that she will stay obese for the rest of her life because I’m feeding into her WANTS, not her NEEDS.
After the pediatrician wrote something bad in our records, she said, “I want you to start a regular feeding schedule and offer PEDIALYTE in between feedings if she wants to nurse.”
ME: “Excuse me???”
I’d like to assure her that our daughter is now 6, healthy, active, happy, and SKINNY. Her once-abundant rolls are all gone. Sadly. I loved them. Also, she has never had Pedialyte, ever.
#3 If you decide to breastfeed exclusively, here is a prescription for Tri-Vi-Sol.
The logic behind this was: infant formula is superior to breast milk because it contains more vitamins than breast milk ever could. (Thus the need for Tri-Vi-Sol for babies that are unlucky to fill their stomachs with the magical formula of Formula.)
At first, I waited. Some time later though, I reluctantly decided to give Tri-Vi-Sol a chance.
Clearly, it wasn’t going to happen. Every time I tried, she would spit it out instantly, leaving everything colored bright orange. Let’s just say that orange didn’t go well with the sour milk scent we had going on at that point.
She must have assumed that natural vitamins are absorbed better by the body, so much less is really needed. She probably realized that breast milk was much safer than ingesting glycerin, polysorbate 80, ascorbic acid, natural and artificial flavors and caramel color, all at the age of ZERO. And, she must have figured out that these substances weren’t the friendliest to a newborn’s virgin gut. Smart little thing.
#4 Work on creating a sleep schedule ASAP.
Schedules didn’t seem to be working for us.
Besides, words like “crying it out” and “sleep training” were giving me the goose bumps ever since I became a mom.
#5 Sometimes, babies cry for no reason.
“Colic is basically the main reason why most babies cry. It’s nothing to worry about.“
“Oh silly, we don’t know what colic is! We just created a name for a situation we know nothing about.”
Sure, babies cry. Some babies cry less, some babies cry more, right? Our baby cried so much that I was actively googling the tallest bridges in the area by DAY 5.
#6 Sleep when your baby sleeps.
This might be easier said than done but overall a pretty good advice and the only one we really followed.
#7 Start feeding solids between 4 to 6 months of age (rice cereal first).
At this point, I can say very unapologetically that I wouldn’t be taking nutritional advice from someone with so very little nutritional training. No offense, but no thanks.
We actually ended up completely ignoring this advice and went with long-term exclusive nursing and BABY-LED WEANING which is far more fun and nutritious than rice cereal could ever be.
#8 Don’t forget to schedule your regular appointments
If I hadn’t asked our pediatrician whether we could postpone the next hepatitis B vaccine, we would have likely followed through with this one.
But we were really concerned at that point. When I brought our daughter in at four days old because she seemed so unwell, our pediatrician quickly shrugged it off as colic.
For the record, while high-pitched screams and back arching ARE the signs and symptoms of colic (remember, the fancy word for “we don’t know”), they could also be an indication of encephalitis, a known vaccine reaction.
It didn’t help that she seemed to have been fine until she was given the first vaccine.
Was it a coincidence? Maybe. Our concerns were totally downplayed though, and it was kinda rubbing me the wrong way.
- Me: “I mean, I just need to look into it before we continue…”
- DOCTOR: “I vaccinated all of my kids.”
- Me: “Aluminum hydroxide IS a neurotoxin, right?”
- DOCTOR: “Right.”
- Me: “So you understand???”
- DOCTOR: “Oh, nooo, aluminum hydroxide isn’t found in vaccines.”
- Me: “Yes it is.”
- DOCTOR: “No, it’s not.”
- Me: “Yeah it is.”
- DOCTOR: “I’ve never had a single bad reaction in the practice.”
- Me: “Could we look at the Hep B vaccine package insert together?”
- DOCTOR: “Vaccines are safe and effective. And that guy was debunked.”
- Me: ???
- DOCTOR: “Vaccines don’t cause autism.”
- Me: “I just really need some time, that’s all.”
- DOCTOR: “If you won’t vaccinate at the next visit, you’ll need to start looking for a new pediatrician.
We got fired. Right on the spot.
Clearly, breaking this last one wasn’t really all my fault though…???