My son was a mere 2 weeks old when I knew something was wrong.
He was sleeping 21+ hours a day. His skin had started getting darker. Nursing sessions seemed to get longer every time, and it was so hard to keep him awake during the process.
I had nursed my daughter for 13 months with no issues. She was a champ at nursing.
My son was not getting it, and it definitely was not a lack of supply on my part. I knew in my gut that something was terribly wrong with my son. No one told me something was wrong. My mama bear instincts kicked in and told me to get him some help. And to get it fast.
Taking our little guy to a lactation specialist that week would lead us to discover that he has a swallowing issue that puts him at risk for aspiration. It is dangerous for him to eat on his own. Our son was declared failure to thrive and had a feeding tube placed at 4 weeks old. We also discovered that he has low muscle tone and low oxygen levels, both of which require therapy.
Four months later, our son is thriving, smiling, and living life well. He has many doctor and therapy appointments each week. But he is alive… all because I listened to my gut. I have had several people tell me how amazing it was that I figured out that something was wrong so early. In many cases, swallowing issues are not discovered for several months, and it takes much longer for a child to recover.
Trust Your Gut, Mama
I have known my children since they were inside of my womb. The same tendencies they had in my womb, they now have in their daily lives. My daughter did not like to sleep in the womb, and she still doesn’t prefer to sleep at 2 years old. My son, however, slept a lot in the womb, and still sleeps a lot and likes to snuggle.
We can read as many parenting or child development books as we want and still learn more about our kids just by observing them every single day. Our children are all different. No child will ever fit the perfect mold or exhibit all the behaviors that the books and articles describe. And each of your children will be different from their siblings. What one child does or responds to will not necessarily be the same for the next child.
Dear mamas, if you sense something about your child, feel free to gather advice and information as needed. But I have found that I can trust my gut more than anything else in parenting. When in doubt, go with your gut. You know your kids better than anyone else. If your mama bear instincts kick in, you should act upon them in a calm but urgent manner. It could save your kid’s life or change their life for the better.
We’re all in this together, mama bears. Be brave and gather your cubs around. You are their greatest cheerleader and their best advocate.