I am a proud dad! I promise not to write too many blogs about becoming a father, but today I am because it’s quite an amazing experience and often thought provoking.
At this very moment, I’m battling grogginess from a lack of sleep. Since the day Abraham was born, doctors told us to wake him up every two and a half hours to feed him because he needed to eat eight times a day.
It all seemed so ludicrous to us. It’s unnatural for both the baby and the parents. Why interrupt sleep we asked?
Forty-eight hours after Abraham was born, the nurse in the recovery room told us that he had lost 7.5% of his birth weight and if it fell below 10% we should be concerned. It would have been nice if she had elaborated on the fact that every newborn baby loses weight at first. When we left the hospital we were going to do our damnedest to fatten Abe up.
As one would predict, waking ourselves up every few hours for the last two weeks often has seemed like a fool’s errand. We have told lots of people about the waking/feeding mandate, and almost everybody has said to us, “That sounds crazy, just feed him when he wakes up. Don’t awaken that cute slumbering beast!”
I’m always asking Stephanie if we can just wait a few more hours between waking Abe. I reason with her that it is simply common sense. Billions of people for thousands of years have been letting their babies sleep. They wait for the baby to wake them up, rather than wake up the baby!
This prescription reminds me of other counterintuitive health trends like intermittent fasting. Some plans restrict eating to one 6- to 8-hour period each day. Others say to eat regularly five days a week and then limit oneself to one 500-600 calorie meal. Does that really make sense!!!???
Yet, then I remind myself about so many of the modern best practices for new babies that would not have seemed like common sense to me but are now considered conventional wisdom. Newborn babies can’t sleep on their stomach, you can’t put a blanket or stuffed animals in a crib with them, and you are not supposed to bathe them for the first few weeks of life.
I was very amused by one piece of advice from our pediatrician who told us it was ok to not change a baby’s diaper if all they did was pee in it. Pee is sterile and contains urea that can help remove dead tissue in some wounds to help healing. A Chicago Cubs fan like me, he brought up an article written back in 2004 about Dominican outfielder Moises Alou who would pee on his hands to deal with blisters.
All this wackiness, which in reality may not actually be that wacky, reminds me of Woody Allen’s 1973 masterpiece, Sleeper, about a guy who wakes up after being frozen for 199 years. When he is revived, the doctors in the future tell him that the wheat germ he used to eat for breakfast was bad for him, while deep fat, steak, cream pies, hot fudge and tobacco are healthy. According to today’s food science, part of that statement isn’t so ridiculous anymore.
In any case, I’m happy to say that yesterday we went to the pediatrician for Abraham’s 2-week checkup, and the doctor said he is doing great. He now weighs over eight pounds, which is heavier than his original birth weight. The doctor also told us that at night we are now allowed to wait for him to wake us up, rather than us purposefully waking him up. Great news as that is, I’m not optimistic that we will feel well-rested anytime soon.
Question: What’s the strangest medical advice you have tried following?