I don’t want to cause irreparable harm to my daughter’s self esteem, or pave the way for an eating disorder, but lately, in my head, I’ve been calling her piglet.
She has the most humungous appetite. And I could see her filling out nicely these past weeks.
I didn’t know how nicely till yesterday though, when we celebrated her one-month birthday with a visit to the pediatrician, Dr P.
“Look at those cheeks!” he said, as soon as I wrestled her out of the pram. “And she has a double chin already!”
Semi-nude on the scales, she weighed in at more than 4kg.
“Is that a lot? That seems like a lot,” I said to Dr P.
“Well, a baby girl around this age would normally put on about 800g in a month,” he said. “Lola has put on more than a kilo in two weeks.”
We had been traveling along nicely, feeding every two hour on average, and a bit longer during the night, I told him, but the last few days she’d gone a bit haywire and was screaming for milk every hour and 15 minutes or so.
“Maybe you’re misinterpreting her cry and she’s actually screaming out, Mum, please, no more!” he joked.
Oh crap. Maybe I am, I thought. Who’s to say what she wants really? Every time she cries, I work my way through the options – dirty nappy? wind? milk? And usually conclude it’s milk.
He recommended I try to angle for a routine now… obviously nothing too strict. But I need to be a bit harder about getting her to feed at intervals of at least two hours, for my own sake, and also to save my poor nipples and keep up milk supply.
So this morning when she woke up an hour early and screeched for milk, we pulled out some rattles and toys and managed to distract her dor quite a while – she’s so much more alert now and interested in checking out stuff in general. Then I put her in her crib and let her cry while I boiled the kettle, which was pure torture. Then I swooped in and scooped her up to rock her for a while, and lo and behold, she fell asleep. So by the time she snapped out of her second nap, it had been almost three hours since her last feed.
Dr P says babies are tricksy, clever creatures and parents must get wise to that from the strt. She is only doing what we are teaching her to do, he says. So I must teach her that she sometimes needs to wait a little for her food. My knees quake at the thought of enduring too much crying to teach her anything; but I think she is right.
The crying is truly awful, though. When she’s hungry she cries like a cartoon character – you can actually see her tongue waggling around in her mouth and then she hits this particular note that makes my heart clench up and all my resolve fly out the window.
Sorry if this is all beyond boring, it’s just that feeding and sleeping are suddenly the most important subjects in the world to me! If anyone has any good advice, let me know.
Piglet is sleeping now, in her magic vibrating bouncy chair. I might have half an hour more before she starts up again. Or more, you just never know. Rufus is coming home late tonight and I don’t feel too desperate to be left alone with her right now, but no doubt I’ll lob her at him like a rugby ball when he walks through the door.