I would like to preface this post by acknowledging my “first time mom-ness” and the ridiculousness that you’re about to delve into. What can I say? I can’t bear to think of my little girl growing up.
As you may know, my poor baby has suffered from acid reflux. We discovered this when she started projectile vomiting, Exorcist style, when she was less than 2 weeks old. We checked everything off the list:
✔️keep her upright for 30 minutes after a bottle
✔️set her mattress at an incline
✔️take multiple breaks throughout a feeding
We gave medication #1 a try and eventually we started her on medication #2. Life was good for a while until recently. We started seeing the signs for reflux creep up again… arched back, red eyes, spit up, screeeeam fits. She was on the maximum dosage for her medication so I had a conversation with one of Kara’s therapists.
Her – Sounds like acid reflux to me.
Me – Well there’s nothing else that we can do. I feel like we’ve tried everything! Shouldn’t she be growing out of this by now?
Her -We haven’t tried rice cereal yet… Now that she’s getting closer to 6 months it might be a good time to introduce some solids.
Me – *GASP* I don’t know that she’s ready for it. She’s not old enough. Her core is still weak and she’s just now starting to hold her head up! I don’t know if that’s such a good idea…
Her – * Sympathetic smile* Kara is doing a fantastic job and I think she’d do just fine if we start to experiment with some cereal. The heavier cereal will sit in her stomach better and will help her with that acid reflux pain. Take your time and think about it.
She continues to reassure me, but after she leaves our house, tears fill my eyes. I am not ready to take this next step and I can’t explain why. She’s hit milestone after milestone over the past six months and the only tears I’ve shed were proud ones. For whatever reason, this is an occasion that I just can’t bear to accept. Is it my mother’s intuition telling me that she’s really not ready for this? Or is this feeling simply that I’M not ready for this?
A few days pass and I leave Kara with Jacob while I sulk into Target to pick up some rice cereal. I wind through the women’s new swimwear, saunter around the clearance section, zigzag down the shoe aisles. Eventually I find myself standing under the big red “Infant/Toddler” sign hanging from above and I think of how its unfair for babies to be grouped together like that…infants and toddlers.
I reluctantly steer myself towards the shelves stocked with solid foods. Applesauce, Squash, Peaches, Oatmeal… and finally the Rice Cereal. I have to choose and I am not ready.
My baby doesn’t need solid foods. She’s just a baby! There are so many different kinds of cereal, what if I make the wrong decision? My baby. Maybe it’s not reflux and there is a different solution. Maybe we can wait another week and see. In my head she is still two days old. My baby girl.
So there I am, standing in the middle of the baby food aisle in Target and as I’m searching the shelves for what I need, I feel my eyes burning. I think “Oh no, not here…” But I can’t stop the tears that flow.
**For those of you that know me, you know that I’m a crier. I cry all the time for every reason under the sun, good or bad. Worse still, I am an ugly crier. My face gets swollen and red splotches cover my cheekbones. For this obvious reason, I absolutely refuse to cry in front of others. I can somehow always hold back until the sanctuary of my car or the shower or my pillow, but of course, this time was different…
A man turns down the same aisle. I sniffle pathetically and I can feel his eyes on me. After a moment, he gives me a sideways glance, takes a half-step towards me and says, “You doing okay?”
I manage to squeak out, “yeah-i’m-fine-thanks,” grab my cereal and make a beeline for the checkout lane.
What a wreck!
The week flew by way too quickly and before I knew it, the therapist was due in an hour and I had yet to take the high chair out of the packaging. Talk about procrastination… Even though I woke up wanting to cancel the appointment, I had been nudged forward by my support group and I’m glad for it. Once the therapist arrived, I was shown how to prepare the cereal while we talked about Kara’s goals with spoon feeding (much more on that later). Next thing I know, I am feeding my girl solids and she is L-O-V-I-N-G it! Not only that, she was a pro! By the third spoonful, she was stretching her mouth wide in anticipation!
Turns out, feeding my baby cereal has been nothing but a good experience for the both of us. I have learned a lot and Kara has too! She loves to sit in her high chair. She has been desperately trying to sit up for months (long before she could hold up her head even) so I don’t know why I didn’t think of it earlier. Seeing her so content in her chair really put me at ease. I feel so silly reflecting on the rollercoaster I just rode. It’s a wonder how I survive at all with this sassy little girl holding the steering wheel.
So anyway, there’s my latest story that has “new mom” scribbled all over it. It’s okay to make fun of yourself every now and then 🙂 Until next time…