Tuesday, January 10, 2012

4-Month Well Visit and Cosleeping Commentary

I had an interesting visit to the doctor yesterday for GI's four-month physical. I like this doctor for reasons you will shortly understand.

First of all, GI was 26.75" long (tall?) and 17lbs., 7.7oz. This makes him slightly heavier and longer than SB was at the same age, but not nearly matching NJ's robust 18lbs., 14oz. SB's weight gain didn't level out until six months. GI may be slowing down sooner, possibly because he was born in his own time and was bigger to start with than SB was. SB had some catching up to do because he was a couple of weeks early. It will be interesting to see which brother's build GI's more resembles as he grows. My guess is that he's going to be a big, tall guy like his oldest brother, though. SB had his three-year physical last week and was in the 75th percentile for his age, but he always strikes me as being short and skinny, probably because NJ is just so big.

Anyway, back to the pediatrician.

First, he said obviously I'm doing fine with breastfeeding and to just keep doing that. (Not that I was worried!) He asked if I was giving Vitamin D supplements, which I'm not, mostly because I'm bad about it and not because I don't recognize that Vitamin D is important. I've been taking a supplement for myself, and we do get some sun every day. He then said that he's not so crazy about them, either. Ha!

Then he asked where GI is sleeping. I told him in my bed. He said the AAP is now recommending officially that babies not sleep in their parents' bed but in a crib nearby. I said the AAP is welcome to come and take care of GI at night if that's how they feel about it. He said that SIDS dropped to almost nonexistent after the back-to-sleep campaign in the '90s, but that the rates have been creeping back up, and that most of the babies who are dying of SIDS are in their parents' bed. He said he's supposed to tell me that but then admitted that all three of his kids slept with them (and sometimes still do) and that he loves cosleeping and understands why I do it. Ha!

According to my reading, in a controlled bed space with sober parents, especially if the baby is breastfeeding, cosleeping is quite safe and healthy for a normally developing baby. And mom gets a lot more sleep! But having the baby in the room with mom, whether in a bassinet, crib, cosleeper, or the same bed, has been demonstrated to be the healthiest way for a young infant to sleep, and the AAP does recommend room-sharing, if not bed-sharing! (Remember that in many other cultures, the family bed is the norm.)

This article by Dr. William Sears puts it very succinctly.

To be honest, I cosleep because it's convenient for me. Frankly, I don't love cosleeping. I find I wake up with a stiff neck and shoulder and feeling like my torso is twisted. It takes a hot shower and some time upright before I feel like I can move freely again. I'd rather him sleep in the crib which is currently wedged between my side of the bed and the wall. I had intended for him to sleep there, take him out when he woke to nurse, and put him back in when he was done. That lasted one night. I found myself getting totally confused when he'd rouse, take a while to realize that he was awake and looking for me, and then I'd fall asleep nursing him, so he wouldn't make it back into the crib. Ah well. The same thing happened with SB. Eventually the inconvenient squirminess of a mobile baby will outweigh the convenience of popping out a boob and going back to sleep, and GI will be in the crib more regularly.

GI is currently showing signs of the four-month sleep regression, so while he does sleep soundly, he's waking  more often to nurse and spending more time with my nipple in his mouth. The other night, I kept trying to roll to my back, only to find there was still a baby attached to me. The choice was to stay on my side or unlatch and risk a wake-up. My typical choice in that situation is to stay where I am. This is where cosleeping works out so well, because I'm not up and down and up and down all night. I wouldn't say I'm getting lots of quality sleep, but I'm getting more than I would if I couldn't "sleep-nurse."

In other news, GI is still showing dairy sensitivity, having spit up rather dramatically just now. I tried a smidge of dairy the last few days, and it seems I, well, shouldn't have. It does seem he now tolerates soy and caffeine better, so at least I have that. I'll get to have macaroni and cheese again one day. Just, not today. I did get an ice cream maker and have been making non-dairy ice cream, which is loads of fun and takes the edge off the whole dairy-free thing.

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