overnight, especially when your instincts are deemed controversial, which is the case I think for most natural-minded moms.
From the moment my daughter Allison was born, I questioned and sometimes even fought against conventional medical practices that I believed were not best for my
child. My one regret? That I didn't fight harder--stand my ground firmer because two years later, I see that my instincts were right.
The first doctor I met in the
NICU told me that I needed to decide which brand formula they should give her. I told them that I wasn't using formulas, to which she curtly replied that my baby would need more nourishment then I would be able to give her. Really? I knew better and I promptly told her that I would choose a formula when it became apparent that we really needed it. For the record, I was right.
Later that morning the doctor heard a heart murmur. My daughter wasn't tired, she was sick. She had a serious heart defect and was rushed to Riley Children's Hospital for surgery the following morning. I researched for hours, learning as much as possible about her condition so I would be a knowledgeable advocate for my daughter. I didn't want to just follow whatever plan and advice they dictated to me, I wanted to partner with her doctors.
I was often teased for and even advised against researching online about her condition.
"You can't trust what you read on the internet."
"Get off the internet!"
But, reading those forums, learning from the experiences of other parents, researching what they are doing in other states or even countries, encouraged me, gave me hope and made me a better advocate for my daughter. I have often been asked by specialist if I have a medical background because of my knowledge about health issues pertaining to Allison.
"No," I reply, smiling, "I just do a lot of research."
Allison was tube dependent from birth. I knew from my research that the best and fastest way to get kids off the tube is too stop using it, but I had very little support from our medical team. They told me to expect that it would take a year or more from the start of our wean to get her eating.
They were wrong.
In August she had recovered from her surgery and we started the hunger-based wean set up for us by her amazing speech therapist. By October we were off the tube completely and onto a toddler formula. Her tube was removed in February and we got to work weaning off the formula and onto real food. Again we were told to expect several months before she would be eating enough to not need the formula. Again we were told that reducing the formula amount wouldn't help because the problem was that "Allison doesn't have the skills to eat yet," but by mid-March she was mostly off the Pediasure.
Time and time again I have seen her make giant progress that surprises everyone. In the last few months, she was made great strides and is gaining well for the first time in her life. In the last 6 weeks she has gained 20 oz!
More importantly, I have finally learned to trust myself and my mommy instincts.