Sunday, October 21, 2012

Babeorexia ~ the skinny on baby rolls

 
Bigorexia: muscle dysmorphia or biorexia is a disorder in which a person becomes obsessed with the idea that he or she is not muscular enough.
 
Babeorexia: chubby dysmorphia or babeorexia is a disorder in which a mother becomes obsessed with the idea that her child is not chubby enough.
 
In the beginning, at the hospital, I had one goal with two motivations in mind: Pump my child full of milk to flush out the toxic bilirubins tingeing with orange her fuzzed newborn skin, and show that I had enough supply to keep the pediatrician from putting her on formula.
 

So pump her full of milk, I did.

For two weeks, I woke my daughter every two hours and fed her for one. At first, she protested. Her eyelids were heavy with dreams of the calm, watery world she had inhabited, and to which I am sure she wanted to return. It starkly contrasted with this bright, demanding place where she was force fed and burped.

But by the time her peach skin reflected her cleansed liver and her birth weight had been regained with a few ounces to spare, she started to wake every two hours and wanted to be fed for one.

You'd think I would have understood that something was amiss. That no child on this terrestrial ball should need to eat with such frequency and duration.

But I could not stand the thought of my daughter going hungry--irrational thought, though it was.

So I pumped her full of milk.

The elastic in her onesies started to leave indentions around her arms. I could only fasten the center snap of her nightie; her newborn cap perched on her head like a yarmulke.

The day I took her to the pediatrician, I stripped off her pastel trimmings and proudly trotted her down the hallway to the scales, like some prize-winning pig.

Thirty minutes later, the pediatrician showed me that though her head was on the seventy-five percentile, her body – sadly – was at twenty-five.

My heartbeat thudded. I looked down at my daughter. I could almost see her ribs beneath the block of her torso. She only had eight rolls on her limbs when she should have sixteen!

If her weight were a test, I would have failed at twenty-five percent. My child was starving.

So I pumped her full of milk.

Her soft belly poofed out above her diaper, and her belly button caved in. Her face lost its contours in the folds of her double chin.

I switched out her three to six months clothes for twelve. Her feet dangled over her car seat. Her head was bigger than mine. We would be wearing the same size shoes soon.

I took her back to the pediatrician. I bit my nails to the quick while he fetched the computer. But, alas, my daughter’s percentile was shooting off the charts!

I was Fern with Wilbur at the state fair. I wanted a blue ribbon or a lollipop. At home, however, my husband watched our daughter cross the living room in four earth-quaking flips.

He whispered, “How big’s she gonna get?”

I switched out her twelve month clothes for toddler. I started hanging upside down on an inversion table to stretch out my back, curved and aching from carting the heft of a twenty pound six-month-old.

Then she started eating “solids”: pureed carrots, sweet potatoes, peas, green beans, butternut squash, peaches, prunes, and applesauce.

But I didn’t want her to be thirsty…

So I pumped her full of milk.

On our way home from the grocery last night, my daughter started to growl. She flailed her arms and her legs and rocked the car seat in its holder.

I looked over at my husband. “You think . . . ?”

“She is not hungry,” he said. “She ate an hour ago.”

Still—

I wrenched off the top portion of the passenger's seat and scrambled into the back. The headlights of a tractor trailer illuminated my acrobatics.

I dug through the bags in the hatch and found my daughter’s first container of Happy Baby Organic Puffs.

I twisted off the top and poured a few pieces in my hand.

My daughter thrashed her head; her new top teeth flashed. I popped in a cereal piece, careful to retract my hand. She bit down and chewed and then worked her tongue around the morsel, inadvertently popping it out.

She began to cry, and then chop her jaws.

I popped a new piece in. She grinned.

“Maybe this’s how we’ll drive to Wisconsin,” I said to my husband. “We’ll just feed her puffs.”

Randy laughed. “Yeah, she’d turn into a puff.”

My daughter began to cry again. Her puff had dissolved.

I dumped more pieces into my hand and popped one in.
 
*Is "Mom Guilt" the worst with the first child?
*Do you still struggle with "Mom Guilt" even if your children are grown?
*Image by Ann Gennes
*I received no compensation from Happy Baby Organic Puffs--although, it'd sure be nice. She's almost through the first container.

21 comments:

  1. I can't speak for everyone, but there are things I would change if I could go back and do it all again. If the mom guilt is worse for the first, and I'm not claiming that it always is, it might be because we were able to learn from some of our mistakes.

    Love, education, and the best of intentions have to be enough. But mostly the love.

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    1. I love the "Love" part, Christine. That is so true, as it covers a multitude of sins...and unnecessary mama guilt.

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  2. I remember those feelings so well, Jolina! As for your questions? The mom guilt is different with the first, no question, but not sure it's worse. And definitely yes, I still struggle with mom guilt. But I also am able to laugh at myself (and situations) like you do... and that really helps :-) She sounds delightful and absolutely adorable!

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    1. Oh, she's a hoot, Julia! Keeps us on our toes. :) I do completely agree with you that laughter is key in so many ways--parenting, marriage, work....I think if we can just keep chuckling about life's difficulties, it puts them into perspective.

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  3. This is a hilarious post; so glad I noticed it on twitter. My kids are still getting those percentile breakdowns, but I tried not to let them bother me. I figure if they've consistently been in the middle percentile, that's the way they're going to grow. Upper or lower? Same thing. We all grow differently--my bro is 6' 6 1/2" and I'm a mere 5'4. But yes, EVERYTHING is worse w/your first child! You're just learning the ropes and it's easy to freak over things. Esp. if the pediatricians make a big deal of it. Thankfully, mine never did!

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    1. I am so glad you stopped by, Heather. Nice to meet you! :) I really have a wonderful pediatrician. I just really do not like doctors, no matter how nice they are. I feel like everything is a test, even when they're just trying to do their job. Bless 'em...

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  4. Given that my babies are all furry, I can't answer your questions. But I can certainly comment on the well-written, humorous post. You have me thinking she looks like the Michelin Man now!

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  5. Ha! That's exactly what my dad said (the Michelin Man), but she's really not. She's just a BIG baby! :)

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  6. This is such a sweet, hilarious post, Jolina! I don't know about Mom guilt yet, but I do have a funny story to share. The other day my sister, who gives birth next month, was joking around and asked me, "You think I'll be able to loose the baby weight by December?" alluding to the fact that breastfeeding is supposed to burn a lot of calories. I laughed and said, "Yeah, okay. Maybe if you breastfed A LOT. Like, five or six times a day!" She couldn't stop laughing, and I didn't realize until she calmed down that babies feed MUCH more than that...but that just shows how much I know!

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    1. That is so funny, Natalia! I was in your same shoes just a year ago. I had no idea babies each so much, but I sure get the drift now! :)

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  7. I have to admit that I laughed...I laughed really really hard!! I can just SEE you lugging your prize-winning baby around on that teeny little self of yours, and I just died laughing!! Mom-guilt with the first kid is there for sure, but I think it mostly goes away when baby #2 comes along. By then you've figured out that babies will just do what they do for the most part, and so long as they are fed, changed, and loved it doesn't matter what percentile they fall in (I personally don't care a hill of beans about percentiles, but that's just me!) Each child is special in their own way and created by God to be so different from ANY other child on the face of the planet, so I don't make a big deal about comparing them to other children:-) Each of my three have been TOTALLY different in EVERYTHING...my first born was a tiny 6 pounds 10 oz. and 18 inches long and weighed only 9 pounds at three months, yet now at age 11 is an inch or more taller than myself, wears size 6.5 shoe, eats me out of house and home, and yet is like a willowy weed blowing in the wind! My 2nd born was 2 in. longer and 6 oz. heavier than her sister, but at age 6 is NOWHERE near my first's height or weight at age 6...she's smaller in all counts! My last, Caleb, was born 4 weeks premature and yet weighed as much and was as long as his on time sisters and has passed them both up in height for his age compared to theirs....so, don't sweat the small stuff and just love that chubby chunky monkey and rest in the fact that she's happy, healthy, and is loved by two special people...her mommy and her daddy! She's a special girl!

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    1. So glad you enjoyed the post, Lauren; it's good to see you here! The percentile thing doesn't bother me now as much as it did in the beginning. I think I saw it as gauge of not only how well she was doing, but how well I was doing as her mom. I also think it's a hill of beans, because it makes some moms feel incompetent (myself once included.

      It will be fun to see what our next child looks like, genetically. If he/she takes after me, that will throw off the percentiles, for sure! :)

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  8. This is laugh out loud hilarious, Jolina! And that picture is great. Yeah, guilt kinda comes with the territory. Best just to get used to the feeling and make friends with it right now. LOL!
    Honestly, nothing is scarier than a skinny baby – it somehow just doesn’t seem right, and we know it deep inside. They slim down once they start crawling and walking everywhere. My two were pretty rolly polly as infants, and now they’re both tall and slim. I sure your little Adelaide (did I spell that right?) is one of the best cared for babies on the planet.

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    1. I do think that "Mama Guilt" does come with the territory. I've been trying to night-wean Adelaide (yeu spelled her name perfectly!), and it's been pretty rough. She used to wake once, if that, but now she's waking up as much as a newborn. I didn't use to believe in letting her "cry it out", but at this point, we are out of options. It's reassuring to know that she is still going to be all right in adulthood, even if I allow her to cry once in a while. I will surely be more relaxed with the next child! ;)

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  9. I think this is my favorite post of yours ever!! Love the state fair, prize pig metaphor. That's hysterical. (Great photo too! Good find!)

    You are joining a LONG line of moms who like to fatten up the kids. It's totally natural. My baby has cheeks and things that would make you swoon.

    Thanks for sharing this with us!

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    1. I have seen your chubby lil' man in pictures, Nina, and I think he is adorable!

      It's so funny, too, because I can't really SEE Adelaide's own chub until someone else is holding her, and then I'm like..."Oh. My. Word!"

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  10. I get frustrated with how many times I hear how big Mason is. Yes, he is a 22-pound 6.5 month-old, but he is perfectly healthy and adorable. He is also very sweet and has a great disposition. Just like with the rest of our society, people are even obsessed with what size a baby is. People ask, "What percentile is he in?" and "How did YOU have a baby THAT BIG?!" and "He's fat! But babies are supposed to be fat..." Who cares?! He is a big, healthy boy just like others have smaller, healthy babies. Little Adelaide is just precious. (And Mason is right there with her...I put an 18 month-old onesie on him yesterday that was none too big. Shew!) Oh, and while (knock on wood!) I don't have a problem with night feeding, my pediatrician says to give a bottle of water instead and supposedly, most babies soon realize it's not worth waking up for a bottle of water.

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    1. I know, Sus. If our babies were skinny, people would make comments on that, too. I guess it's just the way of the world. Honestly, though, I would pass out if she was too thin, and I think you would as well. We just like to keep our loved ones well fed! ;) And thanks so much for the bottle of water tip. If she starts acting up again, I might just use it! Xxoo

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  11. Ah, the memories. My children were all different. My oldest was a big baby from birth with an appetite to match. I actually had him tested for a tape worm in his pre-teens. No one could eat that much and stay so slim!

    As a baby he weighed a hefty 31 lbs at a year and was in the upper 5% percentile for babies in height and weight.

    My second was tiny, thin and I worried constantly. He was a fussy eater and ate little.

    The older son now stands at 6'1" and with a stocky, but healthy weight. The second son is now 6'3" still on the slim side, but strong and healthy. And so, I agree with Susie. We all are going to be at different levels in growth. Health is the bottom line.

    Parenting is a succession of choices, mistakes and re-accessing - with each child. Experience gives us more options to try until we find one that works for that child. Blessings to you, and Adelaide, and your husband for his patience and good sense.

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