Monday, November 10, 2008

Lazy Baby

Recently I was part of a conversation with a new Mom concerning her child with Down syndrome and the trouble she was having getting her child to nurse. This lady was given the advice that there were no lazy babies and that if a baby didn't eat, there must be a reason. I would agree with that if we were talking about a child who did not have Down syndrome. But when it comes to children with Down syndrome, laziness, unfortunately, is a reason.

This is probably not the case with a non-Down syndrome child. With my four healthy children, practically everything came naturally. They learned to nurse easily and they met their milestones on or around the time supposed to. I didn't have to push them along. They didn't need to woken up at feeding time. One thing I have learned in my physical therapy career is that people are not inclined to do what comes hard for them whether it be babies or adults.

This has been one of the more difficult concepts for people to understand; I know it was difficult for Joy and I to learn this when we began our journey. So I will try to explain by telling a little about our experience with John.

When John was born and Joy started nursing him at the hospital, John had trouble latching on which I have written about in earlier posts (refer to August postings). Here we are at 3 months of age and while nursing and bottle feeding is going well and John is gaining weight, it still requires a lot of time and patience some times for us to get through one bottle (4 oz.). This being the fact that children with Ds have low muscle tone which causes them to tire quickly.

John would also sleep through feeding times which we learned early on that Ds children tend to be very sleepy. As we saw his weight either decreasing or staying the same, we knew that we had to start waking him up every three hours to feed him. This is where raising a baby with Ds was more physically exhausting. This went on for about a month. Something with John just seemed to click and he began waking himself up to feed. I am happy to say that at 3 months of age, we don't have to be as diligent about waking him up although there are still days that he sleeps more than normal during the day and I get paranoid about him not getting enough to eat but usually he will make up for lost time later that evening. And also, he is gaining weight which I check it frequently.

I have also noticed this in his physical therapy treatments that he and I do. He is much more quick to give up on a skill whether it be holding his head up, twisting his body, etc. He may start out good but when the going gets tough, he is quick to lay his head down on the mat and go limp on me.

Well, I am here to tell you that he was born into the wrong family for that. This Daddy does not give up. There are some that will say that I push him too much, but when they see him, they can see the progress that he has made - and it hasn't hurt him. The bond that John and I share is probably stronger today because of the time that we spend together. He knows that I love him.

So, in answer to the question whether or not there are lazy babies, my answer would have to be yes. But just because they may be lazy doesn't mean they have to stay lazy and that is my goal for my son. I want to teach him that we don't give up just because something may come difficult.


Summer said...

Just wanted to say how much I enjoyed spending time with John this last weekend. What a treasure he is! It put a lot of things into perspective for me. I told Kevin one morning after I changed his clothes, that it hit me that a few months down the road we were going to have a "live" baby on our hands!! John is growing and is beautiful and strong. He fits right into the family and I told your mom that God had him born into the right the rate he is going, he will be reading when he is 2 years old. Love you all!

JaybirdNWA said...

Thanks Summer, you and Kevin will make good parents. We are proud of the work that John is doing in order to gain strength but we also recognize that God has blessed John with the abilities he has.

heather said...

Thanks for stopping by my blog and commenting! I think John is very lucky to have you for his daddy! I felt all the pressure to do Morgan's therapies, IEPs, advocate, etc. My husband just said he trusted I was doing what was best for her. But I know that it is huge to have that support and involvement! Keep pushing him along! He's gonna do GREAT!

Andy and Ellen Stumbo said...

Just stumbled on your blog. I love it.

I just have to say, I would not consider Nichole to be a lazy baby. You mention that they have trouble because of low muscle tone, and that is exactly right! I would put it this way.
I have no muscles (or weak muscles) in my arms. If I try to do a push ups, it takes A LOT of effort. I can handle maybe five, (by the second one, I am really struggling). It would be impossible for me to give you 15, I could not do it. Even if I kept trying, I would not just be lazy and quit, I just can not physically do it. Now, if I kept working at it, kept building those muscles, in a while, I will, I will give you those 15 push ups. It took hard work!
it is the same with a nursing baby with Down syndrome. It takes hard work! If you keep at it, they eventually work those muscles.

I am very hesitant to say it is because of being a lazy baby.
Nichole eventually nursed well (all her feedings) by the time she was 8 months. No lazy there, just weak muscle tone, but those muscles are now working!