Early on in my daughter’s life, breast feeding was a struggle. I’m talking about latch problems, low supply, malfunctioning pump, and simple exhaustion. So what did I do? I let go of all emotional baggage surrounding nursing my daughter and supplemented with formula until I could resolve my supply issues. After a bit of work, some fancy dancing with medication, and some damned good luck, my daughter finally started latching when she was ten weeks old and nursed until she was nearly two years old (at which point she self weaned, alas).
But the key to that success was relaxing.
A good friend recently started her son in preschool and he just came home with his first serious virus of the season. She kept asking me if she should take him to the doctor because of this, then because of that, and finally asking, “What about now???” because of his myriad symptoms. She acted just like I did when my daughter started getting the preschool crud, that constant sniffly nose and illness that she had pretty much from three to five. Of course, her simple runny nose was a cold virus in adults that would knock us flat for days on end, making our home a bastion of sickness for nearly two whole years.
But that’s all leveled out, and this year my daughter started kindergarten at a public school with a solid immune system bolstered by all that bacterial exposure she got as a younger kid. We could have gone the anti-bacterial route, swabbing everything down constantly, worrying all the time about her exposure to germs. But we didn’t. We focused on basic hygiene (hand washing in soap and warm water), covering her mouth with her arm when she coughed and sneezed, and now we have a kid that processes most viruses without many sick days. Again, we just relaxed.
Of course, I wish that it was always this easy. We have a pretty easy kid, mostly, without any special needs or challenges. So it’s damned easy for me to say “just relax.” I realize that’s not an option for some moms. But it’s still the best advice I’ve got.
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This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of Million Moms Challenge. The opinions and text are all mine. Contest runs November 14 to December 18, 2011. A random winner will be announced by December 20, 2011.