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Thumbsucking and no pooping.

2006-04-19 - 10:23 a.m.

We hit twelve weeks yesterday and Grommet is continually changing. She recently has discovered her hands. Not in the sense that she can direct them to do a lot, or even that she seems to think that she can – it doesn’t seem to occur to her to reach out for things – but she can now bring them to her mouth from time to time. We know that she’s managed it again when we hear some triumphant slurping from her direction. For instance, I was changing her and she was complaining mildly. Suddenly there was an instant of silence and then *slurp, suck, munch, slurp*. I looked up and sure enough, she had her little fist against her mouth and her tongue was busily laving it while drool ran between her fingers.

This is good news for us and we’re trying to encourage her to develop this skill. She’s never wanted a pacifier and spit it out the couple of attempts we’ve made to see if she wants it (we never really wanted her to get into pacifiers but there have been about three times where she’s just been inconsolable so we thought we’d give it a try). BUT, there are times each day where she obviously wants to suck on something that doesn’t fill her mouth with milk. She’ll turn her head away from the boob as soon as letdown happens (or outright from the beginning), but sucks our fingers with the desperation only a baby with gas pains can have. It’s the only thing that soothes her when she’s really miserable from the stomach cramps that afflict her when she’s gassy. So, we’re encouraging the fist-sucking, even if it becomes thumb-sucking, because we think it’s good for her to have a way to soothe herself, and because studies have shown that as long as the thumb-sucking stops before permanent teeth come in it’s relatively harmless.

My father in-law would be scandalized. He is very against thumb-sucking for some reason and feels that at least children can be more easily weaned from the pacifier than the thumb. Good thing we get to make the decisions when it comes to our own kids, eh?

The other new development is that the Grom seems to have declared a moratorium on pooping. From short period of pooping once a day, she had the biggest poop I’d ever seen and then went four days without pooping once*. And the one poop she produced at the end of the four days was three days ago and all that’s come out of her since then is some rather stinky farts. We have literature saying that breast-fed babies may go several days between poops when their digestive system matures – apparently breast milk can be so thoroughly digested there’s just not much residue left to poop out – but we kind of thought that, if that happened, it would be a gradual lengthening of the time between evacuations. This sudden advent of several-day stretches just seems strange to us.

You know you’re a parent when a lack of poopy diapers seems like a bad thing. Before I had a kid, if I’d heard that someone’s baby only produced a poopy diaper once every few days I’d have thought that parent was lucky indeed. As it is, I’ve got a call in to her doctor, just to reassure myself that I don’t have to be concerned. Of course, once I get that reassurance, I will probably think myself quite lucky to have such a lack of poopy diapers to deal with.

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* The funny thing is, after I changed that particular diaper I told J that she must have cleaned out her system so thoroughly that she wouldn’t poop again for days. Little did I suspect the truth of those words.

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