When someone gives birth to a huge baby, everyone is all sympathies — “oh that poor mom” — but when someone gives birth to a tiny baby, it’s the exact opposite. The most common response I got to my 5 pound, 12 ounce pipsqueak was: “lucky you!” with a little wink.
I’m not saying a woman who gives birth to a 10 lb. heifer doesn’t deserve all our utmost admiration, because she DOES, I’m sure of it.
But us Tiny Baby Moms have our own shit to deal with.
Like round-the-clock heel pricks on your tiny, terrified newborn. Once an hour, for at least the first 24 hours. Brutal.
And the weight checks—oh, the endless, anxiety-inducing weight checks! Once a week or maybe every other week (if you’re lucky), you load up your itty-bitty baby into the car seat, drive 10 miles an hour to the doctor’s office (because you’re convinced your 5-pound baby isn’t safe in that ginormous car seat), and you just pray he met his goal weight.
And if he didn’t, then hold onto your britches, because hell hath no fury like a breastfeeding mama scorned.
You mean to tell me, I’ve been nursing this little baby Skeletor every two hours on the dot, round the clock, and he only gained 4 ounces?! Aw heeeeellll no… *burns down pediatrician’s office*
I mean where is it all going? They’re drinking the milk, right?
So you pump and bottle feed to measure the ounces precisely, and get buried alive in pump parts and bottles, and get so deliriously sleep-deprived that your pump starts talking to you in the middle of the night.
And then, you have to watch your tiny baby spew that precious hard work right back out, because, oh yeah:
THE REFLUX. The life-ruining, destroyer of dreams, thief of joy that is reflux. GERD, as the doctors call it.
Sure, big babies get reflux too, and it’s just as hard on them. Tiny babies are just much more prone to it. Reflux is an evil demon that lives inside your newborn until he literally pukes it out, hopefully after a few months.
You will throw all your crunchy mama aspirations out the window when your tiny baby is suffering from reflux.
“I’m not medicating my baby until he’s at least a year old!” turns into “please dear god, what can I pump into him to make the screaming stop.” So just give into it, and get your tiny baby some relief.
If you can get the reflux under control, you’ll have a fighting chance to upgrade your newborn from baby Lord Voldemort status to, like, hairless Sphynx cat status. And if you’re really lucky, you’ll get him to sweet cherub baby status in time to actually wear some of his clothes before they go out of season.
Because more than likely, if you’re anything like me, you bought, washed, and organized a whole wardrobe of outfits for your little babe while you were still pregnant, blissfully ignorant to the tininess in your future.
And then you birthed a skinny little praying mantis of sorts, and nothing fit him. The Newborn outfits that everyone told you would only last a week before baby outgrew them swallowed your baby up for months. So by the time he fits into the adorable 3-6 month cozy Christmas outfit you’d planned, it’s March.
Just embrace it, and have yourself a Christmas in March party. When you look back at the pictures in 10 years, you’ll never remember that it wasn’t actually Christmas, because motherhood eats your brain from the inside out.
But trust me that one day, you’ll go to the pediatrician, and your arms will be sore from lugging around your beast of a baby, and that little chunk will be in the 80th percentile, and you won’t even know what to do with yourself, you’ll be so proud. You’ll want to toss him in the air to celebrate, but you won’t be able to because he’ll weigh 25 pounds, and you’re not a damn body builder.
So hang in there, snuggle your little string bean, and enjoy these sweet days for what they are –
long, exhausting, thankless, and generally sucky rewarding (just go with it).