Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Bumps in the mothering road

It's only 8 am and I have just spent the last 90 minutes trying to get Sammi's belly full of milk. Despite being engorged from her sleeping all night and letting her nurse for a full hour this morning, she was still chirping about being hungry.

So I gave her a bottle which she chugged in 3 minutes flat and the chirping has stopped.

All of this comes after much upset (on my part only*) after her 4 month well baby visit yesterday.

She is still stuck at 11 lbs 14 oz. The same weight she was on April 6. So, in more than 30 days my baby has not gained a single, solitary ounce. I never had this issue with Jack and I was OBSESSED with what he ate.

Being the scientist that I am, I started running some calculations. I estimate that I am spending more than 6 solid hours a day feeding the baby between breastfeeding and bottles. (And that seems fine by her, she isn't crying about being hungry. But I suspect that it is because she is essentially eating all day and therefore it is limiting how much she is actually able to eat. If she were eating faster she would be able to consume more.)

She is only awake 12 hours a day.

And since I find myself without Dave 90% of those waking hours and I still have Jack to care for and other meals to prepare and kindergarten car pool and laundry and on and on...well, it is no wonder I am feeling like I am at the end of a very short rope.

This is simply not sustainable for the long term. Not to mention I am putting in all this effort and for what? The baby is not gaining weight.

And yet, for a myriad of very important to me reasons that I cannot just put out there on the internet, I am hesitant to give up breastfeeding entirely. She finds it comforting and I do not want to take that out of our equation just yet.

Last night I thought I had a *PLAN*. Alternate breast and bottle, work to get at least 5 more ounces of milk in her per day, yadda yadda yadda.

Except that plan included her being full from our morning nursing session.

And then, this morning, right on cue, suddenly she isn't full from that either.

Sometimes I wish this mothering thing was easy. Not loaded with emotional land mines.

For now I would just take a baby that gains weight.


*Her ped isn't worried yet, but she has dropped from 50th percentile to around the 10th percentile. And in order to be even close to that mythical "doubled birth weight" she would have to gain 6+ lbs.


  1. Has the doctor said anything about starting cereal? I know that there are all different thoughts on when to do that. My son, 17 years ago, started cereal at 4 weeks. My daughter, 3 years ago, started it at 4 months. Not that either of my kids had weight gaining issues, it was more to stop the non-stop nursing session on me. My kids would have just stayed latched on all darn day if I would have let them. ;) Good luck and she looks like a perfectly healthy happy baby in the pictures you post. Hope she gains the 6 pounds by her next appointment.

  2. Make a tiny X in the nipple top of a bottle and add cereal to the milk. Worked on my son for one meal at bed time. Now in perspective...she does appear to have rolls. Clearly she is healthy. Coming from a mother of a 10th percentile and scientist, these are based on averages. Someone has to be at the top and someone has to be at the bottom. Really hate that they make us all feel like we need to be a percent! Heaven forbid they promote obesity. Remember also how old is the data based. These percents could be ten years old. Just wait until the schools start grading you kids against the breaks my heart every time....smiles...toss the paper and enjoy her. Renee

  3. How old is she now? It could be a growth spurt-that usually includes non-stop nursing. Also, she's a breastfed baby and her growth rates will not match the growth percentile rates as they are based on forumla fed babies. Either find a breastfeeding growth chart or ignore it. When she hits six months her growth will probably take off like a rocket.

    Also, don't give cereal in a bottle. Seriously bad idea.

  4. Also I forgot to add: She is seriously adorable. I love her pink cheeks and the fat roles on her legs. So so adorable.

  5. I had a hard time with breastfeeding too, and I think we went to the ped every month for a weight check. That's why I get so fustrated when I hear about it being natural. It's hard and work! Ugh! I remember searching searching the web for info, but I think I got the most help from a book. It took me a long time to just realize that Mama knows best. I just wanted you to know that you weren't the only one who has had problems with breastfeeding and weight gain, but I know you will figure it out.

  6. Is she genetically predesposed to being "little". My mom is 5'1 and my dad 5'2. When I was a baby, my mother obsessed over how little I was. (Born a 5 pounder)Finally after bringing me to the Dr all the time because I "was just not growing". He told her, "Joy, you don't get a Tennessee Walker out of 2 shetland ponies! She's alive and well & fed and will grow/gain weight when she's ready."
    And I did. I was never the biggest kid in class & was skinny.But healthy. (and never got past 4'11) but a shetland pony is a shetland pony :)

  7. she looks wonderful.

    my oldest was in the 10th% until toddlerhood.

    my youngest LOST 1.5 lbs when she was 5 months old. she had strep throat & didn't eat for about a few days. that was 10% of her body weight. even with that loss, she made it up and is now a bruiser of a 2 year old, wearing size 3/4.

  8. I'm not going to read the comments, I'll just tell you about my babes. I had really big babies (9lb 9oz, 9lb 3oz and 9lb even), and they are really, really hungry. They all started cereal at 4 months (my youngest is 6mos). My boys had a good weight, but the doctor is a touch worried about my youngest - she's 90 percentile for height and 40 for weight, they are generally a bit more similar. She was 15lb 8oz at her last visit - she still has 2 and a half pounds to her double weight. She might hit that at 9 mos. Maybe. ANYWAYS, one of the signs that a baby is going to start needing cereal (or solids or whatever you would like to call it) is that they are always hungry. Milk / formula just isn't enough anymore. And the strange thing is, even if they are eating about the same in cereal, they don't need boob as much, I guess it just feels better in their belly. You should really ask your doctor about about starting cereal - it might trigger growth, and it should give you a bit more down time so you don't burn out.

  9. For what it's worth, my daughter was 2 weeks premature (exclusively breastfed) and dropped well below the percentile growth she should have been in with in the first few visits. I worried about it a bit but the doc didn't seem phased by it so I put it aside and now that she is 18 months she is right where she needs to be. I'd like to say too that those growth charts seem to be based on formula fed babies which gain weight differently than breastfed babies. My two cents, try to relax a bit (hard I know) :)

  10. Sounds like she's ready for cereal. She looks healthy and she still has rolls, she's just ready to eat something solid.

  11. They didn't do percentiles when mine were young....she looks marvelous, absolutely adorable... nice little rolls and wonderful pink cheeks!
    So relax... add a bottle of pumped milk to give you some time off... don't do the cereal bit if you can help it but if you do make her work to eat it from a spoon not the bottle bit!
    These comments are more than you really need.... you're doing fine just look at her! And look at her big brother!

  12. She is adorable! Most of the advice you got all ready is good. Follow your gut, and try not to stress, as stress causes milk production to slow down. Babies are all so different...try not to compare. Also, stop reading books or on internet, it just freaks you out more. Try to relax and enjoy!

  13. Weight gain issues in babies is hard to deal with. I had a lot of breastfeeding issues, and I just didn't have the supply to breastfeed exclusively (despite doing everything I could). I didn't want to use bottles when I was with him, so I used an SNS to supplement about 2oz or so at most feedings. He still nursed on me, but got formula on top of milk.

    Even with the SNS he didn't really gain weight well until solids were well established. He was a reflux baby too, so I think the symptoms dissipated around 6-8 months, which helped.

    I probably wouldn't do cereal in a bottle; swallowing liquids and eating solids requires different movements. If you do cereal, give it from a spoon. Less confusion and aspiration risk.

    There are also some higher calorie formulas out there; your doctor can probably suggest one if you get to needing one.

    Good luck with this. Feeding problems suck.

  14. Are you pumping at all, so you have an idea of how much milk you're producing each feeding? I had similar issues with my last, and was advised to rent an infant scale. I weighed baby before and after nursing, and was startled to see how little milk he was getting. He was a lazy latcher, and over time dwindled my milk supply. At least that way you'd be working with known amounts, rather than estimates.

  15. she sure is cute! keep up the good mothering and i am sure you will find something that works... and then you will be on to the next issue my sammy won't eat a single vegetable. drives me crazy!!

  16. All my babies had cereal in the bottle. I am happy to report they are 15, 12, and 10. All happy non-aspirating children. I will add that we had all three children while in med school among multiple specialties. There was never a problem with aspiration or any thought of it. They used to sell cereal nipples for heavens sake. You only want to thicken the milk up a bit. All of this is sound advice from loving mother's all meant to be given with your final word and choice. I think I will stick to sewing.

  17. Sounds like she's starting a growth spurt to me. Slow down and nurse more often(yeah right). At least try? FWIW, I didn't give Sarah solid foods til she was 8 months old and she went straight to table foods(she also nursed til 3 months shy of her 5th b-day). BTDT with baby food for the first 2 kids, didn't have the innernets then to find support and advice, lol.

  18. I wouldn't recommend cereal in a bottle. There are lots of things our parents did when we were younger that are not recommended nowadays, and this is a good example. The American Academy of Pediatrics says: "Cereal should not be added to bottles except for medically-indicated reasons (e.g., gastroesophageal reflux) because this practice deprives children of the opportunity to learn to feed themselves." Note, "there is no nutritional indication to add complementary foods to the diet of the healthy term infant before age 4 months."

  19. Oops, that last comment was from me, I didn't realize I was still signed in to a work account. The comment box told me I'd need to sign in but there it went, bloop! I officially signed out of GH -- let's see if it does it right this time.

    - Hope

  20. I have no answers to the weight issue, but she sure looks like she could be the next Gerber baby. She's a beauty!


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