Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Chunky Monkey to Chicken Wings

Kieran was 9 pounds, 1 ounce when he was born. At his one month appointment, he was 9 pounds, 13 ounces. 10 pounds 8 ounces at his 2 month appointment and when I had to take him in to get an eye infection checked out at around 3.5 months, he was 10 pounds, 14 ounces.

Over 3.5 months, he dropped from the 92 percentile for weight, down to the .7 percentile (according to this website.) We joked that he went from our chunky monkey newborn to having chicken wings for arms.

At the appointment for his eye. I brought up my worry about his weight, and the doctor agreed that he was small for his age. He suggested we start solids right away, and also brought up the idea that Kieran's infected eye may be caused by a milk allergy which could also cause him not to gain weight.

Since we didn't see his normal doctor, I wanted to wait until his 4 month appointment to get a second opinion before making any drastic changes like wiping dairy completely out of my system (Mama likes her cheese!) We did play around with a few solids (sweet potatoes and a smashed banana,) but we weren't doing it religiously.

Over a 15 day period, Kieran gained another 13 ounces (from 10 pounds 14 ounces, to 11 pounds, 11 ounces.) At his four month appointment, we unfortunately weren't able to see his regular doctor (again...) so when I brought up his slow weight gain, the new doctor brushed it off saying that he's doing fine since he is gaining weight. I asked her to look up his percentile and that's when we found out that he had only increased to the 2nd. She then became concerned about his weight and strongly started pushing formula. I told her that since we had already dipped our toes into starting solids, I'd rather continue on that route, and she agreed. She suggested putting cereal into his bottles, but I told her that I am not able to pump enough in a day to give him bottles all the time. She agreed that we could give Kieran cereal by the spoonful as long as he seems to be able to handle it fine, which he is.

The doctor concluded that she thinks that I do not have enough of a supply to sustain Kieran, and what I am able to produce does not have enough calories for him. The plan is to feed him solids of some sort every feeding, and go back in two weeks to check his weight gain.

I've been going back and forth between guilt, disappointment, anger. Guilty that he's been hungry this entire time and it's the reason he's been sleeping in 1.5 hour increments which disrupts my husband's sleep. Disappointment that I'm not able to exclusively breastfeed him until 6 months and start baby led weaning when we wanted to. Anger that once again, my body can't seem to do anything right.

But, I'm also thankful that I was able to exclusively breastfeed him for 4 months. I know that any breast milk is better than none at all, and I'm still planning to nurse him as well as give him solids. I'm also thankful that throughout all of this, Kieran has been a happy, healthy baby who hasn't been all that fussy, even though he's always hungry.

So, that's where we are now. Hopefully adding in solids will chunk him up and he'll start sleeping again. Mama and baby both need some rest.


  1. It is not your fault you don't have enough milk. Do not beat yourself up. You are right the only thing that matters is baby is healthy & happy. You'll chunk him back up.

  2. Ok, I hope what I am about to say doesn't offend you....
    Giving babies cereal in their bottles is SO outdated! I personally would not go back to a Dr. who immediately just pushes cereal or formula as your only options! I also don't believe that your breast milk doesn't have enough calories! If I were you and wanted to continue breast feeding I would definitely get an appt with an internationally board certified lactation consultant! They will actually support your breast feeding relationship and help you to find solutions. Giving a baby solids before 6 months is usually not recommended because it adversely affects their guts. Food before one is just for fun....not to actually nourish them. Again, I hope I don't sound all preachy and I certainly don't mean to criticize your decisions but it makes me really mad that Dr.s tell first time moms to give their babies rice cereal, gah!! Rant over.

    1. No offense taken, I actually agree with you. The doctor we saw isn't Kieran's normal doctor and I don't think we're going to see her again (if I can help it.) My hospital does have lactation consultants, and I'm in the process of getting an appointment with them.

    2. Again, not trying to offend anyone but it is actually very uncommon to have low milk production. What you pump is only an indication of what you can pump, not what you actually have. You can (and probably will at your lactation consult) weigh him and then nurse him and then weigh him again to gauge how much he is able to take in during a nursing session. Most women actually have an over supply. I do not. I only get up to 4 oz at a time when pumping (which is actually way over average) and it's discouraging because I know so many women who get 7 or 8! Average in one pump from both breasts is .5 -1.5 oz!! What I know about BM is it is the perfect "formula" for your baby. It changes as your baby matures and needs different hormones, vitamins etc. It's pretty much magical so I don't know if it's even possible for your BM to not have enough calories in it! I hope the lactation consultant can help you figure out what's up!

  3. You're a wonderful mom who loves and cares for her son with all she's got. Never feel you're failing. Sending love.

  4. Don't feel guilty mama, you are doing a great job and I think if he's happy that's all that matters :-)

  5. Don't beat yourself up, it's such a common problem! My milk production was very low too, I never breastfed longer than a couple of weeks. You've done great to get to this point!

  6. Oh no, sorry you guys are experiencing this challenge. Being a mom is tough and I can't belive the docs advice. I hope the lactation consultant helps or your regular doc has better advice. Hang in there!