eK-3zmjBImBHOZjRJYEZVBw4ZWs Shaky Mommy: Baby Dolphins (and why Jaxon wants to be one)

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Baby Dolphins (and why Jaxon wants to be one)

Two months ago, we went to visit Gulf World in Florida. We went on a great day - a baby dolphin had been born the day before and we were able to see it swimming around with his mother in the aquarium.

Here's a short video my husband took so you can admire the cuteness.

 So sweet, right?

We learned from the ladies taking care of the mommy dolphin and her new baby how old the mommy was, how long the mommy had been in labor, and how she was doing as a new mom. We learned that many first time dolphin mommies don't do well with their babies and the babies often die because of it. Baby dolphins nurse around the clock (that's 24 hours a day, people). They nurse for 5-15 seconds, multiple times per hour, for TWO TO FOUR YEARS. That's a lot of demand on a new mommy! Thankfully, this mommy dolphin was doing wonderfully, and they were very pleased with her mothering abilities.

In the very short video above, you'll see the baby nurse several times (it's a little hard to see, but each time he swims right next to his mommy, he was sticking his little mouth on the mommy and nursing). A worker was monitoring the baby's nursing...noting each time the baby latched on and for how long. Dolphin milk is apparently very fattening and so in these mini sessions, the baby gets all he needs to survive. At the time, I just couldn't imagine nursing several times an hour 24 hours a day.  

But Jaxon thought it was a great idea! While he ultimately decided to keep his normal nursing schedule during the day for the most part, he decided to go full on "baby dolphin" at night. 

So now, when we go to bed, Jaxon becomes a baby dolphin. He nurses for 10 -15 seconds, several times each hour, all night long. ALL NIGHT LONG.

Did you catch that? ALL NIGHT LONG. 

I'm not sure how mommy dolphins sleep while doing all of this, but I can tell you one thing, mommy humans do not sleep well like this (the daddy human in this house is not getting a lot of sleep either).  

I've tried feeding him more in the evenings so he's not as hungry at night. I've given him baby food at night in hopes it would fill him up more. I've woken him up from late afternoon naps in the hopes he will be sleepier at night and hopefully sleep more soundly. I have tried laying him back in his bed but he always wakes up immediately and just wants to nurse again. Nothing seems to be working.

So, if you have ever had a dolphin nurser and have advice on how I can turn my dolphin back into a baby who only wakes a couple of times a night to nurse, I would appreciate it!  


  1. Isaac has been doing this too, only not at night... I just have noticed that he doesn't need to nurse as long anymore. Does Jaxon co-sleep with you at night?

  2. Yes (unfortunately). I don't have anything against those who co-sleep, but it's really not for us...especially not in our queen size bed now that Jaxon's older and taking up more space. When he goes to sleep at night, I lay him down in either his pack & play (in our room) or his crib (in his room) each night, but he wakes whenever I go to sleep and ends up in bed with us. From that point on, whenever I try to lay him down, he wakes up immediately and so he ends up back in our bed.

  3. Oh man, I hope you can get him into his own bed soon! I have a feeling that will help a lot. :) But since reading your most recent post I'd say it's teething that's doing this to him. Isaac has been waking me up 3 or 4 times a night and I end up nursing him and putting him back in his playard and then going back to bed. He sleeps for a couple hours then gets back up. Tiring!

  4. Yep, I think you might be right. When I saw that tooth last night, I had the same thought. I hope that this will pass with the teething!