What a difference a week and a half makes. Maggie got seriously grouchy and extra wheezy, so I hauled her into the pediatrician’s office. She was diagnosed with acid reflux caused by overeating, clocking in at just under 11 pounds at five and a half weeks. Below-average weight gain would have indicated reflux of a different nature, but Maggie’s weight gain was well above the average (even when I realized I was leaning on the scale and moved). Maggie’s ped seems to think she has an extra-strong sucking reflex, and nurses to relax as well as to eat. Unfortunately she overeats, spits up quite a bit, and then hurts so she wants to nurse more for comfort, perpetuating the cycle. The acid irritated her little throat and breathing passages so she was wheezing and whistling like a teakettle. We put her on a new feeding routine and a small dose of antacid with her meals. She is out of her newborn clothes and solidly filling out her 0-3 month outfits, which is a shame because I wanted her auntie to see Maggie in the alien pajamas she gave us.
Goes to show that you should never say never. I had never intented to use a swing or a pacifier; I liked the idea of wearing her everywhere and didn’t like the idea of a grubby plug. However, Maggie’s calling the shots around here. After a period of fussiness in which I simply could not comfort her by rocking, bouncing, swaying, holding close, etc., my mother said “Please, put that baby down for a minute.” And lo and behold, it was like flipping a switch–fussing stopped, smiles started. Apparently I was the same as a baby, always pushing off my mom’s chest and fussy when I was being snuggled too much. Maggie has a similar “Put me down, damn you” attitude. She will be snuggled if she’s tired–sometimes–but is often equally happy to be put in the swing we were given as a gift to look around. I don’t put here there and leave her, but when we put her in the middle of the room and converse with her, she’s nothing but smiles and coos. I used to wear her in the wrap for naps all the time and depending on her mood I still do, but coming into the heat of the Hawaiian summer she also enjoys being parked in her travel bed directly under a nice breezy window. Her best naps are taken sprawled out under a big fan. Maggie is not a baby who likes to be warm. We use the pacifier infrequently but it seems to help her relax quite a bit, without the unfortunate spit up.
Between not holding her as much, the antacid, and giving into a pacifier to fulfill her sucking needs, she is a whole new baby. Since she’s not overeating and spitting up like before, her breathing has improved, she’s waking and feeding on her own like clockwork, and her moods when she’s awake are incredibly pleasant. It’s a little bit of a bummer having a baby who isn’t really into snuggling, but I love that she has an independent little mind of her own. It’s also a good reminder that our ideas about how we want to parent should be based on Maggie’s needs, not a general philosophy or ideology. Maggie is her own person, and listening to and respecting her cues has made her even more delightful than before.