Here’s my timeline of my growth-stress:
Birth: 6#4oz. Natural birth, BFed within an hour of birth. LOTS of skin-to-skin time & BFing.
2 weeks: 6#4oz --> I FREAKED, although doc said ‘don’t worry!’ She was peeing & pooping ALL.THE.TIME & my DS had gained 2 whole pounds in 2 weeks, so this worried me.
We used our bread scale over the next several weeks at home (had to put her in a huge mixing bowl. Hah!) & her weight was going up.
8 weeks: I forget #s, but she’s 5th % weight, 15th % length. I still think that’s small, but doc says ‘don’t worry! She’s staying on her same curve. She’s just a little peanut.’
All the while, she still pees and poops ALL THE TIME – BFs about 12X per day, seems content except 5-10PM when she SCREAMS unless latched on. (Doc tells me this is colic.)
12 weeks: I take her to the doc JUST because I’m paranoid about weight gain AND she starts sleeping longer & longer stretches. The day I took her in, she had slept 12 consecutive hours!
Doc says she’s 9# 9oz, still 5th percentile. She's gained .7 oz per day - and she SHOULD be gaining between .5 and 1 oz daily, so she's doing well. She was also doing well 'standing' -bearing her weight. doc said she doesn’t expect that until 4 mos. Doc said enjoy her, stop worrying. & there's no problem if she sleeps long stretches - she'll make up for it.
OH THE IRONY… I FINALLY STOP WORRYING at this point. Plus she’s FINALLY starting to outgrow some size newborn clothes! AND – she rolled over from belly to back at around 3.5 mos - again, she is ahead on milestones! She started laughing around that time too and the evening colic is beginning to get much better. She still poops & pees all the time & BFs around 12 X per day. (hourly during the day to make up for lots of sleep at night.)
Re: milestones, just prior to 4 mos she also started blowing raspberries and discovered her vocal chords, so she’s quite vocal. She also brings her hands together (I had forgotten that milestone, but pedi asked at the 4 MO check up & now that I’m looking for it, I see it too.)
SO, I take her in for her 4 month check up. 6 weeks have gone by since the last visit.
SHE HAS FALLEN OFF THE CHART for weight. 10# 7 oz. So only gained 14 oz over 6 weeks – which averages .33 oz per day. (less than the .5-1 oz per day she should gain on average.)
However, she gained 2 whole inches in length & jumped up to 50th % for length. She’s also gained in head circumference.
Doc says, “Probably not much to worry about, but go see an LC and come back in 4 weeks.”
DH freaks out. “I don’t want her under-nourished at a time of critical brain development.”
Of course the idea that exclusive BFing could be DAMAGING to her brain seems preposterous to me. By EVERY OTHER factor, she’s thriving – and she doesn’t LOOK the least bit skinny.
So I met with 2 LCs even though I HATED them when I met with them for my DS 3 years ago. <sigh> I feel now like they have a check list of problems & a check list of causes & simply CAN'T consider anything outside the lists. Like lactation-consultation-by-numbers.
I was told, "Nipple pain is due to a bad latch" over & over & over again with my DS. They’d say, “So let me check your latch.”
I’d latch him, they’d say, “That looks good!”
“Uh, OK, well why am I in so much pain?”
Reply would be something absolutely asinine like, “LOOK, you MOVED! Now it slipped! Don’t move!” (I kid you not.)
Now the LC suggested DD was having trouble 'transferring milk' and/or I have a low supply. Excuse me, both ideas seem absurd to me! As for transferring milk – why would she SUDDENLY develop that problem when up UNTIL 12 weeks, her weight gain had been fine? Second of all, I am away from DD one day per week & I’m able to get 4, sometimes 5 oz per pumping session. That, aside from the fact that DD poops & pees all the time & her weight gain was adequate until 12 weeks- low supply also seems highly unlikely.
(But, there must be nothing else on their check list for “low weight gain.”)
So I told her, per above, low supply & lack of transferring seem unlikely to me. So she jumps back to latch! She says that around 3-4 mos, the influence of the postpartum hormones dies out –my hormones should be “back to normal” (LOL, whatever, I don’t feel normal! Besides, anyone who uses “back to normal” to describe the hormonal status of a BFing woman is quite ignorant. BFing has a massive influence on hormones!) Anyway, she says that with the influence of PP hormones, DD could have had a bad latch but still got enough milk, but now that the PP hormonal influence is no longer helping my supply, the fact that her latch isn’t (hasn’t been) good enough could result in me having inadequate supply.
In my opinion, the main Q for the LC to ask should have been, “WHAT CHANGED since 6/1?” Her weight gain had been fine until then – 12 entire weeks of exclusive BFing and her weight gain was adequate (not high, but adequate – she stayed on the 5th percentile curve.)
So … “WHAT CHANGED?” should have been the first question to ask. And as it happens, TWO things changed -both her sleeping longer, and me building a freezer stash --> removing some of my daily milk output & NOT subsequently giving it to her within the next few days of removing it – therefore my daily (& weekly) output was greater than her daily intake.
So I decided to:
- Wake her up every 4-5 hours
- Feed her my freezer stash I had collected throughout June
Her weight then went up over 7 oz in the past 5 days (both weights 100% naked, although on 2 different scales.)
I’m also considering pumping POST-feedings to boost supply, doing breast compressions, and trying to get her to take BOTH breasts at each feeding instead of just one.
Called doc back, talked to someone else at pedi’s office (first doc was out), she said I might have low calorie milk. But also agreed – don’t stress! It’s not like she went from 50th % to falling off the chart. She even tells me to NOT wake her up at night – let her sleep.
DH still wants me to supplement with formula. I’m not opposed to it in PRICIPLE – let’s get real here, if she has ONE bottle a day of formula starting at 4 mos old, and is therefore still 98% BF, that is not going to be detrimental to her health! But the problem is… I WOULD THEN HAVE TO WORRY ABOUT MY SUPPLY [even MORE]! Then, all day long, I’d continue to obsess about it killing my supply!
Plus, if my supply now is inadequate – and I give her 4 oz formula daily to supplement, that could DECREASE my supply, so if
-----Meg’s BM + 4 oz formula = DD’s daily needs----
Then the giving of the formula could make “--Meg’s BM--” go DOWN, so then we still wouldn’t be meeting her needs! See what I mean?
UGHHHHH! I just want to try to increase my supply first and keep a close eye on her weight before I step down the path of supplementing. Doc agrees with me. But I read here yesterday someone had seen a baby “happy to starve” so I’m still a little paranoid……….
So if you got through all this, LOL, thanks for reading.
BFing both kids has been one of the single hardest things I've ever done. And here I thought the first few weeks were the rough patch & once you were good there, it would be smooth sailing. I'm really frustrated.