Tuesday, April 01, 2008

It Is All Relative

When you're a new parent, all anyone wants to talk to you about is eating and sleeping, and specifically how well your baby does these things. Upon hearing that your baby isn't the best sleeper, many people will trot out an old saying about babies either being good sleepers or good eaters, but not both. Before we introduced Pumpkin to solid foods, I could say she was a good eater. Now, I have to say she's a good nurser.

She has been slow to take to her solid foods. For awhile, all she really wanted to eat was graham crackers. Now, she's eating her pureed food better (most days), but is still showing limited interest in most finger foods. Unfortunately, her day care center would like her to eat more finger foods soon, so rather than adopt an "oh well, she'll get there when she gets there" attitude, I find myself constantly trying to come up with new potential finger foods for her.

Her favorite finger foods are all starchy (crackers, bread, corn puffs, freeze-dried fruit...) so last weekend I decided to try giving her some cream cheese on toast. She loved it. I happily proclaimed the experiment a success and started thinking about how I could send this new treat to day care. But then she developed a case of diarrhea, necessitating a call to our emergency day care provider (my Mom), who flew over from Phoenix and stayed home with Pumpkin until her digestive system recovered. I immediately suspected the cream cheese, given her earlier issues with dairy in my diet. It turned out, however, to be the bread. We gave her some dry toast with dinner last night, and had a very bad night. Pumpkin tossed and turned, squirmed and whined, and then finally cut some really big farts and went back to sleep. (Thankfully, our emergency day care provider was also willing to help out with a 3 a.m. shift, so Hubby and I are not zombies today.) I finally realized that every time we've given her the multigrain, fiber rich bread we eat, she has had bad gas. Duh. Lots of people get gas from fiber. Lots of people also take fiber to help keep things loose. She'd had a lot of toast on Saturday, and that probably caused the diarrhea.

On the one hand, I feel like a dope for not realizing this earlier. One the other hand, we can try dairy again this weekend. I'd really like to get her drinking cow's milk, so that I can think about dropping one of the three bottles of breast milk I send to day care every day. I have listened and read with a bit of jealousy as various friends with one year olds stop pumping. I have had to accept that I will not be joining their ranks after Pumpkin turns one on Saturday. She's just not reliably eating enough food to make that possible. Luckily, pumping is not the trial for me that it has been for Cara Mama (who deserves serious kudos for sticking it out), but I'd still like to start tapering it off. I think, though, that I would be better off just considering the weaning process as another lesson from my little Zen master. It will happen when she's ready, and there is no point wishing for a different timeline.

As frequent readers of this blog are well aware, I'm not the best student of my Zen master, so I'll admit to feeling a little sorry for myself last week, thinking about our food issues and the fact that our sleep is still more likely to be crappy than good. I thought that it wasn't fair that my little Pumpkin wasn't a good eater OR a good sleeper, and that surely I should get a break on something. Then, one day another little girl was getting a diaper change while I was in the day care center picking Pumpkin up. She was a darling little girl, but she was just screaming through her diaper change. This was not the annoyed "I want to stand up" crying that Pumpkin does for many of her diaper changes. This was full "I'm in pain" screaming. The day care center worker smiled at me a little sheepishly, and explained that she had a diaper rash, and that she always screams like this when she has a diaper rash. And then it hit me. That is where we caught a break. Pumpkin has really never had a bad diaper rash. She's not that good at eating or sleeping, but she has a robust bottom. And strangely, that made me feel a lot better.


  1. And when you switch her from breast milk to cow milk, you will make her more susceptible to diaper rash.

    Try to keep up the pumping. Make each 6 months a goal and pat yourself on the back when you get there.

    My pediatrician said that the american board of pediatrics wanted to advise 2 years, but thought that would make mother's feel like they were failing (average is much lower). So they made 1 year the goal. But the benefits go way beyond one year. In Asia, it is not unusual to breastfeed until 4 or more.

  2. Aww, thanks. I'll take the kudos. I really thought I'd keep pumping past a year, since I was planning (and am) still breastfeeding, but my pumping was going from bad to worse. So I admire your continuing to pump (even if it's not really by choice).

    I'm glad you figured out that it was the fiberous bread. I'll have to start paying better attention to my little one's diet when she sleeps poorly. Maybe it's all connected?

    And yea for your pumpkins "robust bottom" (love that phrase)!

  3. Anonymous12:23 PM

    We had issues with diarrhea and rashes because Mimi was allergic to the dairy we were trying to introduce. There are so many different signals that it can be hard to sort it all out.

  4. Ah, a robust bottom. I wish we had one of those, you're so lucky! Sasha gets rashes everywhere over the slightest things.

    And I can say he's a good eater now after about a month of struggling with it.

    Drinker, no. He'd rather dump it on his head or squirt it at you. and really prefers a glass to a sippy cup (meaning he needs help) And with our daycare, that's a problem. They expect all babies his age to be doing it themselves with sippies. And he won't. So I feel you on the fingerfoods issue in a way.

  5. Anonymous12:35 PM

    If it makes you feel any better, our son (he's about 3 weeks older than your little one)is neither a great sleeper nor great eater and has had the occasional bout of diaper rash! But in any case, it's always good to know tha tyou're not alone

  6. Oh, Stephanie- I hope you figure out what your lucky thing is soon! It really made me feel better when I figured ours out.

    She went back to day care and promptly caught a stomach bug that was going around. So we're nursing and pumping and holding off on dairy until her tummy recovers. Once it does, my goal is to be able to drop down to one pumping at work and one at home each day, with her also nursing as much as she wants when I'm around. And then we'll see how that goes before we decide when to drop the remaining pumping sessions. Thanks for all the encouraging words!


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