5 Things I didn’t tell my pediatrician
1. My baby sleeps with us. Breastfeeding was encouraged, but tucking the baby into bed with you to make it easier — was not discussed in the 80s or 90s. There were fringe supporters, but you wouldn’t tell your doctor that you were a believer. I tried the crib in the nursery with my first baby. Then I moved the crib to my room, then I brought her into bed. I’m a light sleeper. I never rolled over her. My spouse didn’t either. I pushed the bed against the wall so my baby wouldn’t roll out. This way I could move to the middle of the bed and get some space. If you’re one of those people who say this interferes with sex — any teenager will tell you there are multiple places to have sex outside the bedroom.
2. There are two kids in our bed.
Occasionally this would happen, my kids were spaced close enough that the older toddler was weaned but still twiddling my hair to fall asleep. He would snuggle behind me with a handful of hair and I would nurse the new babe. After they were asleep I sometimes felt trapped and crawled to the end of the bed to use the bathroom. Or my husband felt trapped and found another spot. But by the time we had three kids, the older ones bunked up together in their own room. They were like little pups (if you’ve seen that before.)
3. We don’t let the kids cry-it-out to go to sleep in their own room.
We read to them until they fell asleep. Yes, we did. My hubby dear was in charge of this. He had all the kids lay down and hold still and close their eyes — they couldn’t move around, only listen to the story being read. This is how it worked in our teeny tiny home: We had two single mattresses on the floor pushed them together so it was a like a giant king size bed. No box springs — just the top mattress. Yea, it was a flop house. All four kids would be in their Hannah pajamas with their blankets. Then one of us would read a book or two or three. Until they were asleep. As they got older my husband read The Cay, The Summer of the Monkeys, The Call of the Wild, Tisha, The Illiad — good books. When my fifth son was born there was a big gap in years from the other kids. He got to hear the books by himself. He would fall asleep, my husband would keep reading and the next night my son would say, “what happened in the story?”
4. I’m still nursing my 2 year old.
OK, I weaned at about 2 years, except the last one was 3. I became involved in Le Leche League, and my younger sister led the way. She was the trailblazer and we supported each other. My kids were not good eaters, I was thankful they were at least getting breastmilk. Besides, I lost weight like crazy and I could still eat a whole package of Milano cookies. Those were the good days. The toughest time for breastfeeding was the first six months — after that it just got easier and I got thinner.
5. My 3-year old has a bottle.
Sometimes this happened — it depended on the child. My first baby was weaned when I was pregnant with my second. She was not ready, and I was sicker than a dog — barfing all day, and it was easier to give her a bottle. First it was warm milk. She would tell me “warm it up.” That got to be too much and we switched to apple juice — room temp. She would lay on the sofa with her pink “B” (blanket) and I would lay on the floor sipping water and eating tiny bits of crackers. We took a trip to Hawaii and they didn’t have apple juice on the plane — I filled it up with 7-up. From then on it was “fill it up, 7-up.” She learned how to shake it and make it spray out the nipple. We quickly lost those bottles and never found them.
Parenthood is a joy, a blessing, and yes, tough too. Everyone has to do what works for them. There is no set “way” that is right. I have learned this with my five kids. I understand that kids are different, parents have different circumstances, and most of us are trying to do our best.
See, they grew up fine: