by: Emma Aguirre

January 12, 2011
Week 12

I’ve never trusted my gut the way I’ve learned to trust it over the last 12 weeks. My daughter cries and I know what she needs, she smiles and I know why. It’s a feeling people write about in all the pregnancy books but until you live it and breathe it, everyday…you don’t believe it.

What little routine we had before the holidays was swiftly booted out the door when my folks came into town. And it wasn’t that my daughter was going to bed any later, there was just a different vibe in the house. Different noises, different smells, different people feeding her at 4 a.m. It took us 10 days to get back to “normal”. In that 10 day period, we thought she may not be eating enough, maybe going through a little growth spurt as she was just more fussy at night, and seemed to regress in the sleep routine rather than progress. We didn’t realize how much of an impact it would have on our little one. So, we tried the rice cereal.

Something in me said not to. I’d been fighting it for a few weeks as family members said, “She’ll sleep through the night if you give it to her.” For me, it’s never been about sleeping through the night. Sleeping is something you just give up when you have a baby; it comes with the territory! It’s incredible how the body can function on such little rest at times! I would stay awake forever if it meant that my daughter was satisfied and happy. Truth be told, I secretly love that quiet 4 a.m. feeding. The world is so still. I’d resisted the rice cereal so well, even when my mother tried to give her formula on a spoon…”just to see if she liked the spoon”…! But this fussiness was not normal and I finally gave in, thinking she must be hungry. Despite my gut feeling…my mother’s instinct saying not to…I did.

She didn’t like it. She coughed up that first gulp, and I burst into tears as she got over the taste. But, I continued, telling my heart, she needs this. That night, she slept on her regular schedule – 7 p.m. to 4 a.m. – and my concerns faded. That was Sunday. By Thursday, it stopped making a difference and she was back on the 7 p.m., 1 a.m., 3 a.m., 6 a.m. schedule of the holidays. She was spitting up more and was more gassy, so I drew the line and said enough. Not to mention that the guilt of having to tell the pediatrician we’d already started on the cereal at the four month check up was really beginning to set in. As I’d explained to my husband, mother in law, mother, friends, that four-month guideline is there for a reason and their little stomachs can’t handle it any earlier. I knew the rules.

I literally breathed a sigh of relief when I made the bottles with no rice cereal. My daughter was so much happier and I was happier, maybe she sensed that. I later read that she may not be getting enough sleep, and that may be causing some fussiness in the evening. Sure enough, we brought her bedtime to 6:30pm and voila, we have a baby back on track.

My gut is now my guide. I know that little girl inside and out and she trusts me to know what she needs before she needs it. It’s a lot of pressure but it’s the best job in the world!