"On Demand" Nursing and the Pacifier: Which One Am I?
Nuvy is now about a month old and we are, right on schedule, experiencing "periods of fussiness" which I would characterize as the clean, recently fed child screaming her fool head off for God knows what reason. Now there are many professional and lay opinions in the comfort/cry-it-out debate, and I am trying very very hard to avoid what I think is a poor compromise: cry it out until I can't take it anymore, then I'll pick you up.
If you don't have kids, let me tell you. This is way harder than you think. If you do, well, then you know what I'm talking about.
They say that, by now, I should be able to distinguish the wet cry from the hungry cry from the just-a-little-whiny cry. Of course, in the course of a cry-it-out, it always comes down to the hungry cry. She may be young, but she's not stupid. She knows what cry will get me to pick her up, even if the clock tells me she can't possibly be hungry, she wets and soils 15 diapers a day, and her little thighs are so fat and dimply I could just eat them up.
So when should I feed her? The AAP breastfeeding manual answers "as often as she's willing." Ok. Are you kidding? I have never seen this child turn down a lunch ticket. She will nurse until she's literally overflowing--not swallowing the last mouthful, but letting it run down her cheek, still hanging on. The AAP further states that "sucking is comforting to infants, and they may require more sucking time than feeding time allows...so unless you are strongly opposed to pacifiers, offer your child one."
Well, guess what?
I'm strongly opposed to pacifiers. They're gross, they get dropped, lost, you eventually have to take them away, and they say "Put a sock in it!" very clearly not only to the child, but to everyone else you meet. Everyone tells me that this is "so first-time-mommy", which may be true, but I maintain. I can hang on until she finds her thumb. I swear I can.
Of course, I have a bag in the closet full of brand-new binkies, sort of like an emergency carton of cigarettes after you quit smoking, you know, just in case I turn out to be spineless. But I digress.
So if I choose to quiet the baby by nursing "whenever she's willing", have I made myself a human pacifier? Am I saying "put a sock in it" just as clearly as if I popped a binky in her mouth, and if so, why fight it? Alternatively, can she really be this hungry? Does she have worms or is she playing me for a chump? Am I really "honoring her feelings" by letting her scream?
Follow the child. Follow the child.
It seems like following the newborn child is a little like following the ghost of christmas future. It doesn't say anything intelligible, just makes funny noises and mysterious gestures.