Stow obviously did not get the memo. You know, the memo that said he is supposed the be the one I don't have to worry about. Sky with his ASD stuff, and Pink P with the asthma and allergies have managed to shake me from any notion of carefree parenting, but Stow and I had a deal, and the deal was that he would only give me normal things to worry about. (I'm not sure what those things are, but I imagine they must exist).
See, Stow kind of sneaked up on us when we already had our hands more-than-full with Sky--just when we were realizing Sky was on the spectrum and thinking that maybe two kids was all we could handle. Don't get me wrong, I am thrilled to have Stow. I just wasn't necessarily expecting him. (And don't be giving me any grief about this whole unplanned pregnancy thing. Once we found out we were expecting Stow, we learned that just about everyone we knew who had three or four kids didn't expect the last one. In fact, I am lucky number 4 in my family. So it happens. A lot.) Unplanned does not mean unwanted, it just means unexpected, and a bit of "What the heck?!!?!" (As Pink P likes to say).
And at our house, it also means that, statistically speaking, Stow should be the easiest baby in the world.
But, I should know better than to rely on statistics.
A couple of weeks ago, I took Stow to the doctor because he'd gotten pink eye (ironically from Pink P). When they weighed him, he was 17 pounds, which means he was losing weight--falling from the 100th percentile at 4 months to the 10th percentile at 8 months. Which is just weird. I'd attributed the pound difference between his 4 and 6 month check to the fact that we'd changed pediatricians and were using a different scale. But there was no way to explain away the fact that the trend continued. I'm never sure when it's time to panic, but realizing he was losing weight made me want to.
And I did panic, for an afternoon or so. Then I did what I needed to do. I talked to a dietician and to his pediatrician. I made sure we were giving him all the food he was supposed to be getting. We were. But he was still losing weight, so we decided to up the ante. We increased the amount of food he got at meal time, and (gasp!) we started supplementing him with baby formula.
Of course, the introduction of formula was preceded by all sorts of feelings of guilt and failure. How could my milk not be enough? How could I not notice he wasn't thriving on it? How could I let my stress impact the amount and quality of my milk. It didn't help that Ren has an annoying knack for stating the obvious and doing it without much tact. When I told him about the weight loss, he said, "Well obviously your milk is the problem." (Gee, thanks, honey, that made me feel better. Not only is our kid starving, but it's my fault.)Anyway, we started adding a couple of formula feedings on top of the three or four times a day I was already breastfeeding, and we started feeding him an additional four ounces of food at meal time. And in a very short period of time, the kid gained two pounds. Two pounds!
It turns out that not only did Stow miss the memo on not causing me to worry, but he also skipped the tutorial on supply and demand and how it applies to breastfeeding. See, when you are hungry, you indicate that hunger (by crying, for example). Mommy reads the cues and feeds you. Then you eat, and when you eat, Mommy's body knows how much milk to produce. When you are full, you stop eating. If you didn't get enough, you cry. You don't just shrug your shoulders and go back to what you were doing. That's just confusing and counterproductive!
So now we know what we were missing and we're on top of it, but it turns out that even small babies have the power to produce enough crippling mom-guilt to stop me in my tracks for days at a time, and I am reminded that parenting is not (and never will be) for the faint of heart.
More about Stow's poor reading skills here.