Apr. 30th, 2011

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Connor is four weeks old today! Does that count as one month? People don't differentiate between one lunar and one calendar month, do they? Has anyone ever heard a parent say proudly, "My little angel is three lunars old!"

Maybe I'm overthinking this.

Whether or not he's officially one month old, that is not the momentous occasion I want to write about today.

A few days ago, we contacted Connor's pediatrician. In the first month of life, a newborn should lose some weight initially, but fairly quickly regain it and begin to increase in size and mass. Connor has grown in length (about a half-inch, give or take a smidge), but his weight hasn't recovered to his birth weight yet. So Aimee called the doctor, and we brought him in for a weigh-in. Sure enough, he was just shy of 8 pounds.

We had doubts about the accuracy of the scale when we was born. His birth weight was 9 lbs .06 oz., but the very next day he dropped to 7 lbs 6oz. The doctor said he wasn't too concerned about that, because Connor seemed healthy, and was eating well, but such a large drop is unusual. And then to only gain a half pound or so in three weeks was also odd. Whether or not the original number is accurate, the doctor recommended that we start supplementing his eating with formula. If he gains weight, then we know there's something wrong with the milk, and we can change Aimee's diet. If he doesn't, then it's something wrong with him, and we start trying to figure out what it might be. We all hope for the former rather than the latter. Changing Aimee's diet is way less difficult and scary.

So we gave Connor his first bottle. I found myself in the unusual position (for me, anyway) of doing something with a baby for the first time; I'd never bottle-fed a baby before. Aimee said the books and experts recommended that you hold a breast-fed baby upright when you give him a bottle, so the experience feels different. You don't want the child to replace breastfeeding completely with bottle feeding.

And while this is also a momentous occasion, it is not the one I wanted to write about today.

Formula is harder to digest than breast milk. This is no surprise. It's made from cow milk, after all. We were warned that he wouldn't go to the bathroom as much now that we were supplementing his feedings. The new pattern is this: first, he eats at Mommy's kitchen. If he's still hungry after a short break, we give him two ounces of formula (organic, from the co-op of course. You didn't think we'd sell out, did you?). Most of the time, I'm the designated feeder. While I give him his bottle, Aimee uses the pump, to continue to stimulate her own production and bank a supply against her returning to work in mid-May. After he drinks about half the bottle, we switch sides, just like he does with mom. Once he's done, we have a good burp, and then either fall asleep or go back to mom for the final top-off.

He got his first bottle Thursday night. He got a bunch more Friday.

Connor kept right on making wet diapers, same as usual. But no solids.

I bet, just now, you saw where this is going.

His last dirty diaper was Thursday afternoon. He went all day Friday without one. And all night Friday night, into Saturday morning. We were starting to get worried. Maybe his system couldn't take the formula? Should we call the doctor back, or just wait for his regular appointment next week? Connor, bless him, made the decision for us.

We have now reached the momentous occasion I wanted to write about.

Saturday morning began like any other day. Aimee woke me up around 7am, asking me to change him. We often don't change him at night, unless he messes his diaper. He hadn't, so she hadn't. She had just finished his morning feed, and wanted to go pump a little more. So I struggled awake, and brought him into his room to get him ready for the day.

Connor is really cute in the morning. He's a little cranky and befuddled, just like me. We're not morning people, him and I. Stripping him down is rote at this point, as is cleaning him up and changing diapers. I decided that it would be fun this morning to get some skin-to-skin tummy time with daddy. Everyone really enjoys it. Lots of contact, nice and warm, what's not to like? So instead of putting him in a onesie, I left him in his diaper, carried him back into our bedroom, and snuggled him on my chest under the covers.

A few minutes later, it happened.

Connor was chewing away on his hand, one of his favorite things to do, when I heard a strange noise. It was an odd whooshing sound, completely unlike any sound that had ever come out of my baby before. It lasted for a second or two, and then was gone. That's all it took. My midsection suddenly felt warmer. I pulled back the covers, not sure what to expect except the worst.

Those of you with squeamish tummies might want to skip the next few paragraphs.

The baby had finally pooped. Dear Gods, did he poop. Under normal circumstances, a poop wouldn't have been a big deal. Breastfed babies don't poop large amounts, nor is it very smelly. If you've never seen it, it's kinda yellowish-brown, mostly liquid, with little sand-like bits of matter in the mix. It looks nothing like poop from a baby eating solids, which is much more what you think of as poop. That stuff looks and smells like what you expect poop to smell like.

This stuff was it's own league. It was a similar color to what we'd gotten used to, but everything else was different. It was thicker, and pasty, oddly like frosting. I know, weird, but that was my first thought. "Ooh, it looks like cake frosting." It had a much stronger odor than normal, and once I threw the covers back, I knew I was dealing with something special. He had filled his diaper completely and then some. It had leaked out on both of his legs and stomach, which of course means he got it all over my stomach, too. It was truly an excrement of epic proportions. Luckily, nothing got on the sheets or blankets. Unluckily, I'm a very hairy man.

Connor continued chewing on his hand, blissfully unconcerned at the carnage he had unleashed.

I hope that this formula experiment is only temporary. As much fun as it is to bottle feed him, I'd much rather feed him his own mother's milk. These "nuclear option" bowel movements are already old, and he's only done it twice.

Let it never be said that life with a baby is uninteresting. At least I get to tell you all about it.

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