Wednesday, May 12, 2010

How Should the Blanket Monster Feed You?

After yesterday's warm fuzzies about breast feeding, I've gone in the other direction today. It really started yesterday when I looked at the feeding recommendation charts from our doctor and home visitor. They both have much larger amounts of solids than Natalie is currently eating, but say 3-4 feedings of formula or breast milk (she has four now). This got Mike and I thinking that maybe we should drop a nursing session around the middle of the day. Well, I posted a question about it on Yahoo! Answers, and people were basically like "Don't do it." So, I did some looking around on line and found a wind range of the number of feedings a day people give their 7 month olds. It was everything from 3 to 12! I even talked with my mother about it a little when I called her today. I know that some people haven't even started solid foods at 7 months, but Natalie has been on them for about three months now. I feel like it makes sense to make progress, especially since I want her weaned around her first birthday. I feel like all these people who are commenting nursed well into the first year. I just don't want to nurse a toddler, especially since we want to get pregnant again, and nursing would make that difficult and being pregnant would make nursing more uncomfortable. I shouldn't feel guilty about it because Mike says he read that only about 15% of women make it to nursing without supplementing at 6 months. And, she will never get formula.

For the sake of prosperity, here is her current schedule. (I had started out feeding on demand, but at some point we wound up with a schedule / routine. I kind of feel guilty about that too since its supposed to be best to feed on demand. At this point, I'm really not sure if I know what her cues are for being hungry because she eats so often that I don't ever really think that she is hungry. I know when she's tired and feels ignored and feels she isn't getting her way or is frustrated or wants some comfort, but hungry I don't know anymore. That makes me kind of feel like a crappy mom). Anyway, here it is:

7 am nurse
930 breakfast - oatmeal or rice cereal (started 3 tablespoons as of this morning), maybe a few Cheerios
1030 nurse
noon - 1 lunch - fruit, yogurt, or veggie (yogurt 2 oz, previously fruit and veggie were about an ounce, but I guess it could be a full jar if she eats 2 oz of yogurt), maybe a few Cheerios, maybe offer cup with water
130 - 3 nurse
5 dinner - full jar of a veggie (2.5 oz), cup with half water / half juice (might drink an ounce or two)
630 - 7 nurse

The time ranges are the time we start the feeding, not how long it lasts. I just feel like everything is all bunched up in the morning and that for her to eat right I need to sit down and plan it out. Plus, how could we add more nursing sessions? It seems like she is always eating! (I know people would say to cut out solids, but wouldn't she miss them at this point? And also, how is she going to be ready to get most of her calories and nutrition from regular food in less than five months if we don't start working on it now?) Add to that the fact that she naps like every 2 hours for about 30 minutes, and its like there is no time left in the day for her to really play without being interrupted, let alone for us to go anywhere (both for me to get things done, but also for her to explore). When I think about changing the schedule, like moving up her cereal for example so that she could nurse at 10 instead, all I get is problems. Such as, what about Friday story time at 10? What about the mornings when she gets up at 715 instead? What about the mornings she falls back to sleep until 8 or later? And then an afternoon like today is in there where she nursed at 130 then didn't eat again until 5. That seems like such a long time compared to the morning. Maybe it will be easier when I can offer her something more snack like instead of spoon feeding. Then she'll eat it if she is hungry. Right now, she always eats, both nursing and spoon fed.

Agh. Its just hard to be the one in total control of something like this. I feel like there are so many different acceptable ways of feeding that I can't possibly really make a big mistake, but at the same time, I wish someone would just tell me definitively what to do. I ask Mike's opinion, but feeding is my area. He doesn't really have an informed opinion. This is one of those times when parenting is difficult. Its not the physical element of it, like being tired or having my skin scraped by her little nails. But its the mental part of worrying that I'm not feeding her the best I could be. She's so sweet and innocent and beautiful; I don't want to be doing what's wrong for her.

I was thinking about how it will be easier when she is older, but then I thought it won't be her body I'm worried about building, but her character! Now, that sure will be more difficult once I thought about it for a second. There are a billion different ways to do that and its totally invisible. At least now I can see her growth and her poop and I know I'm doing okay, but later on down the line, I'll have much more subtle indicators that we're doing a good job raiser her.

I often think about how Natalie is such a silent partner in my day. She fusses, and cries, and shrieks, and babbles, and occasionally laughs, but most of the day, I don't know what she is thinking. I pretend I do and kid about what Natalie "says," but really she is silent. It will be so strange when she is able to tell me what she is thinking! But writing the above paragraph got me to thinking about how often kids go back to being that silent part of the family again when they become teenagers. That's just so strange to think about.

Alright, well, even though I'm still undecided about the whole feeding situation, let's end on a happy note. Fun things with Natalie from today:

  1. By far the absolute best thing from today was being a Blanket Monster. I was eating dinner and Mike was trying to keep Natalie happy even though she was getting crabby for bed. So, intending to hid myself so Natalie wouldn't keep walking Mike back into the living room, I threw a blanket over myself. Well, Natalie was too smart for that. She came up to me kinda giggling. Mike sat her down on his lap in the chair while I stayed sitting on the floor. I put the blanket on me again, planning on playing peekaboo, but instead I became the Blanket Monster. I pushed out the blanket with my hands in different patterns going "Mahh!" God, she just laughed and laughed over that. When I took the blanket off and said peekaboo, it was no where near as funny. Mike was like, " Do it again! Do it again!" So I did it a few more times and she continued to love it. Oh, the stupid things babies like! We are going to try to get it on video somehow.
  2. Another fun thing from today was playing peekaboo at Bed, Bath, and Beyond. I saw these awesome pink curtains with pink sparkles on them, so we went to take a closer look. Well, wouldn't it be fun for Mommy to hide behind the sample curtains and then play peekaboo? Well we did with several different curtains, and she giggled.
  3. When Mike got home, we spent some time in Natalie's room as we changed her sheets. Natalie tipped over on to her belly and knocked the pillows down on top of herself. She didn't seem to mind and looked awfully cute :)
  4. I read the book I Kissed the Baby! to Natalie again today for the third time. She really seems to like that one. I think it is the black and white pictures. It could also be that its easy for me to read with inflection and to tickle and kiss her. Mike was trying to talk to me about refinancing our house, and Natalie was like looking at the book and made a sound like, Geez, I thought we were reading the book! Turn the page, Mommy!
  5. Natalie seemed to be wide awake at the end of nursing at bed time. But we just scooped her up, put her in the crib, gave her kisses, turned off the light, and left. Not a peep! She was asleep within like five minutes. Sometimes I need things like that to remind me we really are doing things just fine.
  6. And lastly, taking Natalie's socks off always gets a smile. I even used it to make her smile at the check out girl at the store. Just tugging on her socks makes her happy because she thinks they are coming off. Its going to be very hard keeping socks on her soon ... and sadly, she probably won't smile like that when she can get them off herself.

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