Baby Torturing 101

*Because of family obligations, I’m unable to give you new content this week. But fear not! I have lots of content that nobody except for my mother (Hi Mom!) has ever seen, because nobody was reading my blog yet when it was published. So here’s a re-post from back in February. Enjoy!*

We would have injected vitamin C if only they had made it illegal! ~ from Trainspotting

So, every soon-to-be mom has heard that “Breast Is Best!” As a matter of fact, if you haven’t already been asked whether or not you plan to breastfeed by the end of your first prenatal visit, get a new obstetrician. The one you have is clearly not toeing the Breast Party line.

What surprised me, though, was when I brought in my bright, shiny new baby for his four week well-baby check and the pediatrician (after asking the usual “Are you still breastfeeding?” questions) said that we must give our baby vitamins, because breast milk (in spite of being your ‘baby’s perfect food’ and ‘liquid gold’ and ‘you don’t love your baby if you’re not into breastfeeding’) does not contain vitamin D.

Far be it from me to write a diatribe here about this strange omission on the part of Mother Nature, tempted though I may be.

Mother’s Milk: Your Baby’s Perfect Food. Almost.

Anyway, since I had no intention of starting my child on a sunbathing regime that might lead to skin cancer treatments which would interfere with his attendance at Kindergarten, I headed out to buy Vitamin D drops. This actually proved to be a somewhat tricky proposition, since many less-well-stocked stores only carry infant multivitamins, and my local drugstore is one of them. After checking with the pediatrician, I bought a ‘berry flavored’ poly-vitamin to start him on until such a point as I found plain Vitamin D drops.

Now remember, this is for a four-week-old baby, a little angel whose main goals in life were to drink the sweet momma milk and sleep as much as possible. He had no idea what was coming.

A scene:


Me – Me.

Him – My husband.

Baby – My son (now known as Sausage).


Our bedroom. There is a changing table to one side, and a bouncy chair (which is doubling as the baby’s bed) on the floor beside the big bed. There are moving boxes in the corner, and a general feeling of disarray. It is evening.

Me: (holding the baby) Okay, you do it.

Him: Fine. (He squirts a dropper full of the vitamin into a silicone nipple and puts the nipple in the baby’s mouth.) Here you go! Drink it up!

Baby: (Sucks once.) Gah! (Retches violently.) Oh my god! What’s happening to me? I’m dying! AAAAAAAAAHHHHHHHHHHHHH!

(The Baby continues screaming while Him and Me look at each other worriedly.)

Me: Sssshh, it’s okay sweetie, it’s just a vitamin. Here, I’m taking it away.

(She removes the nipple even as the baby begins choking on his own fury. His face is turning purple from screaming so hard, and he is forgetting to stop screaming long enough to breathe. He flails as if he is fighting off an invisible, berry-flavored attacker.)

Me: Oh my god, what did we do? Is he okay?

Him: He’s fine, he just hates it. He’ll calm down. Why don’t you sing to him?

Me: (Trying to suppress her fears. Singing.) Hush little baby, don’t say a word …

(The baby is now foaming at the mouth. His panic is infecting his mother, who is faltering in her singing and beginning to cry as well.)

Me: Momma’s gonna buy you a … mockingbird … and if that … He’s not calming down! What’s happening to him? Should we call the doctor?

Him: No. He’s okay. Why don’t you try nursing him? That would calm him down and get the bad taste out of his mouth.

Me: O-Okay. (Sings.) Momma’s gonna buy you a billy goat. And if that billy goat won’t pull … sshhh … oh please … sweetheart … momma’s gonna buy you a cart and bull … (Attempts to nurse the screaming, flailing, purple ball of angry with absolutely no success.) He won’t latch on! I want to call the doctor! What if he’s having a reaction? Maybe he’s allergic! He’s all purple!

Him: He’s fine. He just hates the vitamin. He won’t die from a bad taste.

Me: You don’t know that! He’s not breathing enough! He’s FOAMING at the MOUTH! What if he has a stroke? We should call the ambulance!

(This is the point when our infuriatingly calm father-figure realizes that he has two babies to calm. He takes the Baby and holds him while issuing instructions.)

Him: Go into the bathroom and turn on the vents. Take a shower. I’ve got this under control. Go on! Everything will be fine.

Me exits. Him comforts Baby. Fin.*

(* I would like to draw your attention to the ridiculousness of the grammar in that line. Just let it sink in for a moment. Yeah.)

Needless to say, when I came back the baby was much calmer, snuffling in his sleep, and I was also much calmer. But we never gave him that vitamin again.

Before the vitamin. (Photo by iferrero)

After the vitamin. (Photo by Lanfear’s Bane at en.wikipedia)

After a little bit of searching, we found a place that reliably has Enfamil’s D-Vi-Sol, plain Vitamin D drops, and started giving them to our baby. He liked them just fine – they taste like sickeningly sweet medicine cherry flavoring, but he liked them.

After he hit six months, we had to give him a prescription multivitamin with fluoride and iron in addition to Vitamin D. It’s terrible stuff, but was much easier to get into him at this point due to the fact that he was on solid foods and I could hide the vitamin in tastier things (like Awesomesauce.)

So I guess the lesson learned from my experiences with infant vitamins would be this: simpler is better. Additional ingredients in your vitamin are likely to add new and excitingly horrible tastes. An additional lesson learned is that I would rather spend the rest of my life utterly nauseated and with a horrible taste in my mouth than have my son spend two minutes feeling that way again.

I also learned that my husband is more useful in a crisis than I am. Whatever. I’m way prettier than he is.

5 responses to “Baby Torturing 101

  1. You are definitely way prettier 😉

  2. Of course a naked baby actually only needs about 5-minutes of sunlight exposure/day to get enough Vitamin D…a fully swaddled baby requires slightly more…sometimes doctors just like to feel needed 🙂

  3. I’m guessing the idea of pumping a little breast milk and mixing the vitamin drops in with it, then feeding it to Sausage never occurred to you guys?

    Love this line: “The one you have is clearly not toeing the Breast Party line.” Great, funny post…as always. Why wasn’t I reading your blog in February?

    • Nobody was reading my blog in February. It’s quite alright. And the mixing thing occurred to us, but only after this incident. Giving it to him directly had worked fine with other medications. Live and learn, right? (My husband’s favorite line is the “berry-flavored attacker,” which he still refers to pretty regularly).

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