UPDATED: Over the past couple years, I have noticed that this post gets a lot of hits from parents searching for the reason their baby has garlic breath. Shooting myself in the foot, perhaps, but I'll just tell you right now-- if you are nursing, it's likely YOU are eating something garlicy and it's coming out in the milk.
Hey, at least your baby has garlic breath instead of beer breath... because that would just be plain ol' bad parenting. Now if you want to read about my Kiddo's garlic breath, well then, keep on reading....
In this post I mention the subject of breastfeeding several times. If you are a person easily offended by the non-"gratitious" use of breasts--i.e.-for their natural purpose and not as something to be objectified-- this post is not for you. Oh, and maybe you're a sexist pig.
For those of you keeping track, yes, my baby is not really a baby anymore. Joaquin is cruising up to the sixteen-month mark and is all Younger Toddler. He puts lids on containers, and can sign a short list of important words. (Who decided "light" and "milk" should be essentially the same sign?) He rides backward standing with both feet in his cart, bouncing his body back and forth to move across the floor. He can say, in mama-deciphered baby language, a whole little lexicon words that mean something to him: stick, rock, shoe, glasses, Gus-Kitty, Daddy, hat, hot tea! (well, important to me for his safety), and is grunting some I'm sure I'll decode soon enough. So, truly, we have officially graduated from the infant mode and he is truly looking and acting like a little boy.
Sometimes, when our kiddos begin to change in appearance and ability, our perception changes too. I'm more willing to just hang back and let him risk a small fall when clambering onto the couch and don't feel I need to rescue him when he's really upset and Dad's on duty. But, there are still some things that take your breath away and make you inwardly say "My Baby!" with all the feeling we would had they just been born and placed into our hands for the first time.
I found myself in that situation on Friday night. This is one of those moment when I am so glad we have chosen to cosleep. Our evening was uneventful and Joaquin and I fell asleep as right as rain around 10:30. (We are a late-to-bed/late-to-rise family whenever possible.) Forty-five minutes later, Joaquin was awake, crying hard, tons of snot running down his face, gulping and gasping. I did all the things I could do, held him upright, rubbed his back, tried to wipe the goo from his face. But Joe and I were both scared. The gasping and gulping (and near-hysterical crying) continued, and after a few minutes, we decided to get dressed and walk across the street to the ER.
An hour and a half later, after so much more poking, prodding and heartbreaking tears, we were assured that his lungs sounded healthy and his ears were clear and we most likely had a kid who was dealing with a sudden but nonetheless common cold.
Thank goodness he's insured.
I'm not one to run to the emergency room for any little thing. Joaquin's had colds before that we just dealt with. Sometimes, though, that "something's wrong" feeling makes us go get a second opinion, and I think that we are glad we did. Knowing that his lungs weren't being filled with fluid (the gulping and gasping abated eventually) was a relief. Having that "oh, Baby!" moment also helped me switch gears, and realize that for the next few days, my little boy was going to need me just as much as he did when he was younger.
And he has been more baby-like. I'm glad that I still nurse, because the kid has been living primarily off breastmilk. I can take my echinacea and Airborne and pass on the good stuff through the milk in ways that are much harder otherwise. He can snuggle and snot all over me --tee shirts are so much softer than tissues-- and nap on me for as long as he pleases. There are, admittedly, moments when I feel like my boobs are about to fall off, but when he's only eating limited amounts of food, it's reassuring to know he's getting some good stuff.
I did make some baby cold soup yesterday, too. Veggie broth, onions, celery, carrots, corn and elbow macaroni and a handful of minced garlic. He loved it. I pulled out some of the solids for him to pick at with his fingers, and fed him spoonfuls of broth separately.
And so my baby has garlic breath. Little baby garlic breath. I was very scared when this cold came on like gangbusters, but I'm grateful that it gives me a moment to reflect on what we do daily, and how useful it becomes when we are in crisis. Unlike some parents, I don't worry about "setting a precedent" in regard to bringing my son to bed with us. He's always there, and I can sleep him sitting up on my arm if he needs help with breathing. He's got his milk-sign handy and that's worth a million bucks. He is getting the nutrition he needs, when he wants it, so I don't stress about that. It's like our life was meant to adapt to those hard moments easily, without a lot of debating and fuss.
But, really, there's just one problem left to solve: what are we going to do about this kid's garlic breath?
(yes, I did really write "gratituous". if you don't get it now, you never will.)