Newborn Mason Johnson spent a peaceful birthday Monday snoozing next to his mother while his father rocked his bassinet. Mason won’t have another official birthday until the year 2020.
Mason is one of more than 21 Baton Rouge children born on Leap Day, and parents were generally excited about the unique date.
His father, Demetrius Johnson, said it is “something different.”
“(We’ll) do it big every 29th,” he said.
First-time mother Elnaz Farhadi said her daughter, Deanna Peyvandi, was due next week, but she arrived a bit early.
“I think she did a good job,” Farhadi said of her 6-pound, 9-ounce daughter. “It’s a very special day.”
Many parents dread giving birth on Leap Day, the statisticians at fivethirtyeight.com have written. They worry about teasing, trouble with ID and other problems the site says the “leaplings,” as they’re sometimes called, might face. In fact, the overall birth rate on recent Leap Days dropped 7 percent, largely because fewer C-sections were performed.
That wasn’t the case at Ochsner Medical Center-Baton Rouge, which typically has about five or six births per day. Monday, the hospital had delivered five babies by late afternoon, with another five on their way, a spokeswoman said.
Baton Rouge General did not provide information on their Leap Day babies.
Another factor is the Monday effect. Generally, doctors deliver fewer babies over the weekend, causing an uptick on Mondays, explained registered nurse Kristen Richard, of Woman’s Hospital.
Staff at Woman’s generally deliver about 30 babies per day but had only 16 as of late afternoon Leap Day, said spokeswoman Dana Michell.
Richard said the number was low, “especially for a Monday.”
Farhadi said she isn’t worried about logistical issues surrounding her daughter’s birthday.
She and her husband were still trying to decide whether they should celebrate on March 1 or Feb. 28 next year, or whether they should save up and give Deanna quadruple the presents next Leap Day.
Thinking ahead, Johnson offered to take his newborn son out on the town when he turns 21, in case he needs to vouch for Mason’s age.
Mason’s mother, Torrel Price, initially expressed concern over the Leap Day birthday, though she appeared to warm to the idea as she spoke about it.
Maybe she’ll tell Mason he has a unique birthday because she crossed the international dateline when he was born, she said. Price already knows they’ll celebrate Feb. 28 on off-years, since Johnson was born in March, and “he wants to own” that month.
“I’ll have to save my money up” for a big celebration every Feb. 29, she said.
Otherwise, parents of Leap Day babies had the same concerns as other mothers and fathers. For Farhadi, that included getting her husband to share their newborn.
“I couldn’t take her back from him,” she said.
Johnson, a welder and pipe fitter, thinks his son should work with his hands. When asked what Mason should be when he grows up, his father said “busy.” He also wants the 6-pound, 4-ounce infant, once he gets older to play ball at LSU and thinks the boy will have the build to play wide receiver.
“Let him have his second bottle first!” Price chided.
“We’re skipping the basics!” Johnson replied.
Editor's note: This story was updated on April 25, 2016, to correct the spelling of Deanna Peyvandi's name.
Follow Steve Hardy on Twitter, @SteveRHardy.