Zoe wasn’t gaining weight properly and the doctor told us to supplement her with formula. He said it like such a simple thing: “Let her breastfeed on each side until it seems like she is done and then supplement her with about 2 oz of formula.”
It sounded simple enough. Sure, doc. I want my baby to get the nutrition she needs.
Zoe did not agree.
Let me tell you, if this child does not want the sun to rise in the morning, the sun will not risk showing it’s damn face around our roof. At a whopping four months this child is quite accustomed to getting what she wants.
Or not getting what she doesn’t.
Zoe did not want formula.
Oliver, my mother and I slaved over this enterprise for a full month, switching bottles, researching bottle feeding on the internet, mixing tiny amounts of formula into breast milk, and making fools of ourselves performing ridiculous dances to distract her.
The lady would have none of it.
Her pretty little face would turn the color of a beet root and if any formula happened to drip into her delicate little mouth, she would gag, spit up and scream as if someone was prodding her with a hot poker. Then she would become so angry that she would reject bottles altogether for several weeks.
Zoe no like.
Yep, mommy and daddy get the point.
It was somewhat of a stressful time.
And then the miracle happened. Ordinarily that would be a joke, but this time it’s actually true. My father-in-law gave us the book The Children’s Hospital Guide to Your Child’s Health and Development. In this book was a tiny paragraph that suggested bottle feeding babies in a different position than you breastfeed in, namely facing outwards.
I think some empathetic fairy must had compassion on our weary souls and sprinkled miracle dust on our little family. I bet the fairy was a mother too.
Zoe took the bottles without so much as a hiccup. Emboldened, I tried mixing in a little formula. Still no problem. Straight formula? And HUZZAH! Lift off!
Anyways, that very long anecdote was an observation that such a seemingly innocuous change can make such a dramatic difference. For whatever reason, the position made a huge difference for Zoe. I can’t pretend to understand it, nor would it be helpful for me to try. I probably would never have found a solution had I assumed Zoe experiences life the same way I do. Actually that probably would have found me holding up a cost/benefit analysis chart up to a bleary-eyed baby– bleary from all the tears shed over the formula. See Zoe? It’s simple really. You’ll grow better. Promise.
It might sounds silly when I’m referring to a baby, but we do the same thing with adults. We tend to assume that everyone thinks the same way we do, and as such, if something isn’t important to us, it oughn’t be important to them (or vice versa). Really, you want the toothpaste squeezed out of the tube in a certain way? Seriously, you can’t just put your clothes IN the laundry hamper, as opposed to on the floor right NEXT to the laundry hamper?
I’m not suggested that we drop everything and do what everyone else wants. But maybe regardless of what course of action we choose, we can stop expecting other people to value the same things we value and at the very least stop trying to convince them our way is right.
Man, I better learn this real good before my kid gets any older.