Monthly Archives: February 2010

Vaccines: The Never Ending Debate

Standard

I felt the need to pass along this article about “Vaccinations vs. Autism” via BabyCenter.com, as since having a baby, this has been a hot topic of conversation for a lot of people.

It’s funny. I never thought anything about vaccinations until Jackie was born. I received all my shots growing up and everyone around me did the same thing. It wasn’t until several studies started popping up about the autism link, and specifically when The Lancet study was released in 1998, that it caused a huge ruckus in Parentville.

I found myself almost in tears as I headed to my daughter’s two month appointment back in September. I talked to a number of people beforehand, some very close friends. People who were against getting vaccinated early have a lot of their own personal reasons and evidence on why not. I respect that and honor those choices.. but it also got me thinking (and sometimes that can be a bad thing).

Sometimes I find myself between a rock and a hard place. If I have an opinion, but haven’t done a lot of research, I get swayed quite easily–especially from friends that I trust, and especially friends that already have kids. My husband, for example, has no issue with vaccinations and feels that they are a necessity. I thought I was in that camp until I started doing my research.

When it came to Jackie’s two month appointment, I knew I was going to get the shots done (reluctantly) because I didn’t have any research to to back up any thoughts I had and I started the research process to late. I was anxious, but mostly I assert, from being ignorant. Vaccinations weren’t on my radar to research as, well, I was just doing what my parents did when I was a kid and following what her pediatrician’s school of thought was at the moment.

In the end, I did do my research and do feel that vaccinations are important. I’m sure others out there will state otherwise, and honestly, PLEASE POST A COMMENT letting me know! I would love to hear about “the other side” as I’m always wanting to look through other’s eyes.. looking to see if maybe I am missing something. At a bare minimum, at least I will learn something.

Parenting is a scary thing. You want to do what’s right for your kid and don’t want to see them hurt. It was tough for me after that two month appointment when her legs were tender for a day, she seemed more drowsy than normal, etc. I kept saying (along with other moms) that we “did” something to our kids. Well, yeah, I guess we did. It was just a feeling of guilt that I didn’t foresee coming. Luckily, that feeling went away quickly, but honestly, it will be a day I will never forget.

Before and after her shots, I kept asking myself: “What if something happens to Jackie? What if she does show signs of autism? Will you forgive yourself?” I don’t think I ever came up with an answer, but all I did know was keeping her safe from other possible life threatening diseases was worth it. We’ll see in the end if I am right.

Advertisements

“Solids” SOS

Standard

Jax, 6.5 months

One would think that feeding a child food would be easy, or at least not confusing.

As Jackie hit 6 months, and when we seriously starting thinking about starting solids, I found it amazing to see, yet again, the differences in kids and what they are doing at this age. From size, sleep and eating, it’s all over the map!

I’m in a new mom’s group for babies from 5-7 months of age. Jackie is still one of the smallest, but now, the talk in class moves somewhat from “sleep” to “solids.” What does that actually mean?

We started Jackie on rice cereal at almost 6 months. It seems we started a bit later than most, but I didn’t care. Part of me wasn’t ready for her to stop “being a baby” and she also had just doubled her birth weight (which is one of the main factors of starting solids). She’s also been a bit behind on sitting up, as she’s still sitting up with a bit of support, but I bit the bullet and bought some rice cereal around the holidays. (For the record, my husband was ready to start before Christmas.) Although I had some emotion behind it, I still think my intuition was right as it took her a bit to get used to the spoon and cereal. For several days she was spitting out the cereal, not being sure what to do about it. A few days later we gave her carrots and she was even more confused. See below?

Trying Carrots

We continued with the rice cereal for about 3 weeks, which ended up great. She gained some confidence in eating and I was able to get used to her wanting something else other than breastmilk or formula. One of my friends suggested to complete the entire box, but that was taking a bit of time. We were only giving her about 2 ounces of cereal each time and the box was a normal size cereal box. After three weeks, we decided to move on.

But I digress.

With all that being said, here we are at almost 7 months. I’m around a number of moms with kids a bit older and a bit younger than Jackie, and they are eating WAY more than her. I once again go to making myself wrong, thinking that I started her too late, questioning if I was doing something wrong (even though I knew I was following her pediatrician’s advice), etc.

Example:
I found myself in an awkward situation yesterday when I met a couple moms from my current group for lunch and a walk. We decided to grab lunch after we met up. We ordered, found a table and got our food. The other two moms immediately got a highchair for their babies. It didn’t even cross my mind to get one for Jax as I have never fed her real food at a restaurant. If I ever need to feed her a bottle, the lap is just fine. I was asked by one of the moms if I needed one, and I initially said no, but then changed my mind. Was it peer pressure?

It would have ended up that Jackie was the only one sitting in her stroller OR I’d have to hold her. I decided to get her a highchair, but seeing that she’s not even eating finger foods yet, she was without any food to eat or play with. I had toys, but it seemed she didn’t want anything of it. I had bread, but should I give her something to gnaw on? What if she choked? I was feeling inadequate, confused and annoyed –all at myself. I was mad at her last pediatrician, as they had a strict policy of breastfeeding or formula for the first 6 months. In fact, when I went in for her 4 month appointment, I had to bring up “solids” and my questions were almost dismissed. Again, I didn’t feel behind the 8 ball as I was aligned with her pediatrician at the time, but I wonder if it was brought to my attention at the 4 month appointment, would we be in the same place today?

As I tried to keep Jax happy with two toys, I also tried to eat my lunch. It was one of the first times I really wasn’t able to enjoy it, as I was chasing after toys and pacifiers falling on the ground.. and realizing over and over that I didn’t have any food for her to eat.

Even though I had a great time with the moms, I started thinking about that afternoon and also last Saturday when I had some of the same awkwardness and confusion. Another mom friend of mine is giving her daughter yogurt already and she’s only a few days younger than Jackie. Her ped said it was just fine; Jackie’s ped said we had to wait until month 9.

Confused yet?

I find it amazing that all of us (parents, adults) came out OK. We eat just fine, not many of the people I know have food allergies, and even if they do it was found in a somewhat of a haphazard way. If you talk to my parents or my husband’s parents, they had us eating fruit first (which is a huge no-no now), and my husband was eating meat at 4 months–MEAT! Does all of this really mean anything? Should we really listen to doctors or do we “follow the baby” as I had said at month 1? I think it’s a little bit of both.

The bottom line is that you have to be happy with what you’re doing. In the scenario that I mention quite often: “If I were not in a big city, not around other new moms and didn’t have access to a ton of information at my fingertips, how would I say Jackie is doing?” I would say just fine. She’s having her opinions on the foods we’ve given her so far, she’s still little so milk is her number one supply of calories, and she seems to be having fun with something new.

That’s what I need to focus on. In the end, no one is doing the “wrong” thing, they are just doing what’s right for their baby and their family. It’s amazing what schools of thought are out there for raising kids, sleep, eating, etc. I’m sure I will find out more as she gets older, but wow, this was definitely unexpected.

I think I need to go back and read my “Comparisons” post to get myself grounded. I have to have confidence in myself, even if I don’t have all the answers. As Jackie’s mom, I know what’s right for her and at what pace is best for whatever she takes on.

Joe and I are great parents, and whether Jackie is only trying out foods now and another is eating 3 squares a day, it doesn’t matter. It’s time for me to chill out once again, have fun and enjoy my little girl. That’s really all it’s about, right?

I Need a Break

Standard

Holy Crap.

Today was probably one of the worst days I’ve had with my daughter since she was a month old. She’s 6.5 months now. I know this age brings a lot of changes, not to mention she was sick with a headcold all weekend.. but even with that being said.. there were times I wanted to throw her out the window, or better yet, throw myself out.

I still haven’t figured out what the deal was.. she was cranky all day, whiny, crying while she ate, fussed every time I changed her diaper.. the only time she was fine was drinking her bottle, on our walk today and in her bath. Other than that, it was borderline hell.

It’s highly possible it was me. Was I putting out some negative energy?

I was dreading today, in a way, because my husband was going to a show tonight at the House of Blues. I wasn’t jealous (although I am now!), but that meant that I was with Jax for 14 hours straight. This may not be a big deal for some moms, but I have a wonderful husband that has a great work schedule, so it always balances out. Usually when it hits the 9 hour mark, he’s either home or about to be.. ends up I can rest a little bit, step away, take a breath.. but today.. well, I had to deal with all the ups and downs (mostly downs) on my own.

These are the times when I really have compassion for the single parents out there.. although I don’t dare say “I understand,” I can at least get a snapshot of what they must deal with. I know I am blessed to have a wonderful partner and friends that support me and days like this make me think about all the other moms out there and what we all do, what we sacrifice, for our families.

But right now, I’m finally getting some well needed (and deserved) quiet. Jax finally stopped crying, has fallen asleep and now I’m trying to de-stress.. and trying not to think about doing all of this again.. and oh yeah, we are getting a major storm tomorrow, which more than likely means we’re stuck in the house.. again.

As I take a deep breath, I will end here. I love my daughter, but how to get thru another day like this?? I need suggestions!

Comparisons

Standard

As moms, and parents, we all compare our kids, don’t we? I recently saw a unofficial poll on BabyCenter asking moms how much they compared their children. The answers were “always,” “sometimes,” and “never.” I have to admit, I said “always” because, well, I do. It’s understandable that I would compare my baby to others because I compare myself to others. I’m seeing a pattern here.

I know it’s “bad” but it’s almost automatic. I do it because I want to make sure she’s “doing OK,” but is that just masking something else? I can literally see she’s doing OK with my own eyes. If I wasn’t in a large city, going to moms groups or talking to other moms with small babies, I would say Jackie is doing fabulous. So why is it when I go to my moms group I have to be sure she is “keeping up” with the other little ones? It’s crazy. It’s mom brain crazy.

I was talking about this to a new friend of mine who is also a new mom. I connected with a few women in my first moms group at Isis Maternity here in Boston (Brookline). Due to her son being a bit younger than Jackie, I was constantly comparing Jackie to her son.. although they couldn’t have been any different! He was HUGE as a baby, Jackie normal or small, he was very strong and although Jackie was too, there was really no comparison. However, he’s been reaching his milestones quicker than Jackie. Was I doing something wrong, what was wrong with Jackie? What could I read, research, ask to make it better?!?!? It was really getting out of hand.

I was recently talking about “sitting up” more often than not and my friend “C” caught me. I didn’t realize I had been worrying about it, but once again, good reason to write things down, have a blog, etc. People catch you in your craziness and stop the insanity.

I asked her if I could re-post what she sent me in a message.. I thought it was brilliant and luckily she said yes.. so here it is:

“I think it’s really important for us to remember that we aren’t in control of our kid’s milestones. We can help them and encourage them to some degree, but their milestone markers aren’t ultimately reflections on us or of how we parent. Jax likely wouldn’t be getting up on her arms any more if you’d done lots of tummy time. It’s likely just how she’s wired. By the same token, I have friends who have babies that cry all the time, are not what we deem of as happy babies, but the parents are happy people, who shower their kids with love. The kid is just grumpy but will grow out of it. Some kids are super chill and don’t accomplish milestones at a fast pace even though their parents may be strong or active individuals.

I think we feel good about ourselves when our kids are developing well…and we’re allowed to feel good, but we shouldn’t get too attached in either direction. We need to hold onto something, but sometimes it means we put too much stock in our child as a reflection of our parenting. It’s hard to strike a balanced approached to all this. A constant learning curve, isn’t it?”

It definitely is a learning curve and, at least for me, I need to chill on the comparing. I can see more and more that this is more a reflection of me rather than wondering if my child is doing well. Honestly, I think this has more to do with how I am doing as a parent. Yikes.

For any parents reading this, do you compare and how much do you do it? Feel free to comment. I’d love to get your views.

Busy Bee

Standard

My girl is getting into everything it seems. Six months and she’s like a little person. She’s still amazing, but I can almost see the future.. luckily right now she’s not even sitting up yet, so crawling may be a bit away. But it’s bittersweet. I’d love for her to be quick to get to her milestones, but then again, I like her “attached” to her playgym while I do some writing and make lunch. 🙂

I wonder if other moms have (or have had) this issue. What do you remember your kids doing at 6 months old?