Not My Baby

So when you get pregnant and have a baby, everyone you know suddenly has a ton of totally well-meaning advice that they lovingly heap upon you (whether you’ve asked for it or not). I received my favorite bit of pre-baby advice from a dear friend, who told me to “ignore all the advice and just listen to that baby.” Ahh, my lovely lady; she spoke directly to my rebellious mom heart with those sweet words, and it’s the advice I’ve most often heeded, because my baby boy is the mother loving exception to every mother loving baby rule there is.

For example…

One sure fire way of calming and soothing baby is to swaddle him tight and pop in a pacifier. Babies enjoy the comfort of a tight swaddle because it reminds them of the tightly packed womb. Babies also have an automatic sucking reflex, so sucking a pacifier keeps baby calm. Except… not my baby. My baby hates being swaddled, preferring instead to let his arms fly high day and night, startle reflex be damned. Try to swaddle my kid and he screams bloody murder until you unwrap him, then he smiles and coos. Try to give my baby a paci and he scrunches his nose and spits, as if to scoff “that is not leaking milk at me, mom.” True son, true. I like to think his aversion to these typical baby-soothers means he’s simply an advanced specimen who can’t be tricked by non-womb and a non-milk-giving substitutes.

Baby’s belly will grow in the first several weeks of life, and at around 5-6 weeks, baby’s tum can hold up to five ounces of milk at a time! Baby therefore will begin to eat more in one sitting, and will go longer between feedings by approximately 2 months of age. Except, of course, for my baby. From birth to five weeks my baby eats approximately 1-1.5 ounces every hour, around the clock. Around five weeks old, my baby begins to eat anywhere from 1-2 ounces at a time, and at 2 months of age he has stretched out to 2-2.5 ounces per feeding, eating every hour and a half (sometimes every 2 hours at night!!). I am very tired. I like to think my baby is simply keeping trim by enjoying several small meals throughout the day, as all the best trainers and nutritionists advise. Well done, baby. (Haha jk, he’s huge.)

Once baby begins to eat more, he’ll sleep longer stretches. Nope! K to be fair, my baby doesn’t eat more than 2.5 ounces in one sitting, so I have no idea if he would sleep longer if he ate the 4+ ounces common for other babes his age. And no amount of begging, praying, or dream feeding gets the kid to eat more, so all of this is the sort of advice that makes me burn with a fiery hatred.

Formula takes longer to digest, so formula fed babies stay full longer and, consequently, sleep longer. Except my guy. My babe eats pumped breastmilk pretty exclusively, but there have been a few times when he gobbled up food (an ounce at a time) faster than I could pump it out, so I’ve supplemented with formula. Baby boy sucks down an ounce or two of formula (and no more, despite my aforementioned efforts), and an hour and a half later, day or night, he’s asking for more. I like to think he just wants to hang out with mom and dad all the time because we are super cool. You’re cool too little bud! But please sleep.

Put baby to bed in his own crib, awake but drowsy. Ha ha ha yea. If that actually works for your two month old, I hate you with the aforementioned fiery burning. But please tell me your secrets.

You can’t spoil a newborn and you can’t create any habits during the newborn period. You can’t spoil a newborn, that my boy and I agree with. Love up that squishy babe all you can!! But “you can’t create habits through the newborn stage” does not apply to my baby. My baby boy got in the habit of 1) being rocked the eff to sleep, and 2) napping in my lap, which means I now rock my 16 pound boy to sleep for each of his seventy-eight daily naps, and once that cherub love finally does sleep, I can’t put him down anywhere but on my lap, lest he wake up and we have to start all over again. I like to think he just loves me too much to sleep anywhere else, and my lord it’s cute to have my little love curled up in my lap, but it is not fun when my butt falls asleep. Every time. I heard this wonderful “no habits are forming” advice from multiple sources, and I blame them all equally. Fie!

Your baby should always eat, then play, then go to sleep, and when he wakes up you should repeat that cycle. This follows baby’s natural pattern of wanting to eat when he wakes. Hardy har har, not my baby. My baby wakes up, stretches, giggles at the ceiling, coos at mama until I get up, smiles, and spits at the bottle the second it gets near his face. If I do manage to get the bottle into my guy’s mouth, he chews on it while staring at the ceiling fan, but he does not eat. No amount of begging, praying, or forcing gets the kid to eat, play, then sleep. So I have given up, and I just feed babe when he’s hungry.

The one piece of advice I have gotten that does work for my baby is playing white noise during naps and at bed time! Turning the noise on immediately calms my bubba, and he sleeps soundly despite the neighbor’s leaf blower or that dog who always barks. I have, however, recently been told that I definitely, definitely shouldn’t use a white noise machine to help my baby sleep, because when he grows up he’ll be a super light sleeper, which will suck. Again with the fiery burning hatred.

So, obviously I do everything wrong. If you’re a new mom like me, please take heart and allow me to give you some advice (whether you want it or not): go with your gut, because every baby is different. Especially my baby.