We had Cael's 6 month appointment today. He got 3 shots and his last oral vaccine. This visit also made me feel like a complete failure as a mother, since it appears everything we've been doing is either "wrong" or backwards. ::sigh:: And I thought I was doing a good job. My anxiety has now increased remarkably after this appointment. Xanax anyone??
So for starters: 1) Cael was 15 pounds 14 ounces, 26.5 inches long, and HC of 17.5. His weight is in the 19th percentile. I had posted about 2 months ago that Cael dropped to the 5th percentile from the 50th. I was misinformed, and at that point (4 months), he dropped from the 50th to the 25th. The doctor was slighted concerned at that point, but not horribly. Now as of today, he's still falling off his curve, and is down to the 19th percentile. But the pedi continues to not be horribly concerned, since Cael is "ahead of the curve" and "developing wonderfully and very alert." We go back in 6 weeks to check his weight again. I know it's not a supply issue, because that's fixed now. I actually get engorged from time to time now.
2) Spin-off of #1: We were feeding Cael 4 tbsp of cereal twice a day. I'd feed him the cereal first, then give him the boob. Turns out that I should have been giving him the boob FIRST, then giving him cereal, so he doesn't fill up on cereal. According to the pedi, they get most of their nutrition from breast milk/formula, and that the cereal is more for iron, and to get baby used to texture, taste and eating off a spoon; and that cereal isn't really a nutrition/weight gaining aid. Therefore, if they get more cereal and less milk, they start to slow in the weight-gain department. He said Cael's the 6th baby he's seen this week who is falling off the charts, and the common link is that they're getting more solids, and drinking less milk/formula. Makes sense.
3) Going off of both #1 and # 2 (hehe, I said #2): I got the impression from the pedi that it's not important to be starting Cael on fruits and veggies at this point, especially since he's not gaining as much as he should be. Goes back to the "getting more cereal/solids and less milk..." thought process. He said solids too, aren't entirely for nutritional purposes, and that it's more important to be getting milk/formula at this point. I asked him when solids become for nutrition, and he said 1 year old. All this from the doctor, as I got a side-eye from the nurse when I told her he was only getting cereal at 6 months old, and not fruits. "Is that because he told you not to, or..." was the nurses response. I told her it was for personal reasons, to which she replied, "oh (enter pause)...ok". Made me feel real good. But I'm glad the pedi didn't make me feel like that, and supported what we had decided at his 4 month appointment - to wait until 6 months, at least, to start fruits/veggies. SO, he said it's our choice whether we want to start fruits/veggies now or wait a little longer, that it's not something we need to do right now. Just as long as he's nursing enough. That's what he stressed most. We may start out 1 tbsp of a veggie once a day, just to get him started, but I will make sure he nurses first.
4) Cael's sleep patterns are ALL OFF. According to the pedi, he has the sleep schedule of a 2 month old. For the past 2 weeks, Cael has been getting up every 3 hours MAX at night, starting at 12:30. And oddly enough, it's ALWAYS 12:30 on the dot. Before that, it was every 4 hours or so. I was told last month by the pedi not to feed him at night, because he doesn't need to eat at night at this point in age. But Cael still wakes SCREAMING bloody murder, and it takes me about 45 minutes to get him back to sleep (holding, singing, rocking, sleeping on me, anything), and he's still up 2 hours later anyway. That's when I feed him (usually around 2:30am) because at that point it's been 6 or so hours since he's eaten, so I thought he would be hungry. That's a big no-no. Unless of course, the pedi said, that we enjoy getting up every 3 hours at night, and don't want sleep. We've (or more I, since I get up with him) have gotten Cael into a horrible sleep pattern, and we have to break it. Turns out he sleeps too much during the day, which could also be why he's waking at night, although he's still clearly tired. I also have to NOT feed him at night, and break him of that, too. Completely. He said it's going to be hard, and that parenting isn't easy, but it may take 1-3 weeks to get him onto a more "normal" schedule. He should be napping 2 times a day, one in the morning and one in the afternoon; not the 3 naps for 2-3 hours each that he was doing. And here I thought I was doing good because I had a "good napper". WRONG. So it's not only going to be hell getting him to stay asleep at night, but it's going to be hell keeping him awake during the day, when he would usually take his 2nd nap. Ohandplusalso, he said that he shouldn't be napping before he goes to sleep, and that he shouldn't get solids before going to sleep.
I've heard of the 2-3-4 nap schedule (although I was so overwhelmed by everything the pedi was saying, that I didn't ask him about it), so we may give that a try. I did more research on it after his appointment this morning. Basically, it says that 2 hours after the baby wakes up for the day, they get their first (morning) nap. Three hours after waking from that nap, they go down for their afternoon nap. Four hours after waking from that nap, it's time for bed.
He said that Cael's driving the car now, and that I need to be driving the car, and not let him decide to do what he wants. That we should develop a schedule; especially a better sleeping schedule. Oi veh. I have a long road ahead of me. I told Matt that I feel horrible about doing everything wrong, and his response? "Everyone messes up with the first child. Why do you think we are the way we are." We laughed at that, but still.
I know every pedi is different, and every baby is different, and that some of what my pedi told me may go against what other pedi's say. I guess there's no one perfect way to do things, and that they vary based on the baby. But I trust and love my pedi, so I'll be trying to do what he recommends.