Jan 3, 2013

Weighing In

Despite having gestational diabetes, Addison was not a big baby when she was born. She was 6 pounds 5.2 ounces. Which isn't actually all that small - a lot of people are born 6 pounds. However, a few days after Addie was born she lost 10% of her body weight and dropped to 5 pounds 11 ounces. It then took us about a month to get her weight back to her birth weight. We were in and out of the doctor's office having weight checks with her weight only slowly increasing, but finally we got her to an acceptable weight and all seemed to be on the right path.

However, I started noticing a problem. I was exclusively breastfeeding and it was beginning to be a problem. Addison was frustrated and was spending all day eating. I was frustrated and tired of her spending all day eating. Something about what was going on just didn't seem right. She was fussy, not sleeping well and there just seemed to be something off. My content, quiet baby that was born almost two months ago was completely taken over by an unhappy, frustrated, extremely fussy baby.

Addie was still a skinny, long baby with no meat at all on her bones. I could tell she was gaining weight but I was doubtful that she was gaining at the speed which she should have been. All that feeling was reinforced by the fact that I knew she was frustrated when feeding. I was seriously starting to wonder if breastfeeding was the right thing for us. [Read about my full thoughts, experience and feelings about breastfeeding here.] So I knew going into Addie's 2 month appointment that this would be a major topic of discuss, especially if her weight still wasn't where it was supposed to be.

So we headed to her 2 month appointment (which was also my postpartum checkup - which I'm all healthy and good by the way). She was weighed at 7 pounds 12 ounces. Which translates to her not even being on the percentage chart. That can't be a good sign. But all that leads me to really believe that the problem is indeed with feeding.

We talked with the doctor for a long time - between my appointment, her appointment, her shots, and all the conversations with the doctor we were there almost 2 hours (and Addie did amazing through all of it - Rob was there to help me out though too) - and we came up with a plan. I would go on some medicine to try and help my milk supply and we would supplement if we had to. I had also walked away deciding that we would switch to bottles only. Breastfeeding days were behind us. She was still going to get as much breast milk as I could give her but I would be exclusively pumping. It was the best thing for both of us.

We started her with her first bottle and just breast  milk and quickly she downed 4 ounces. The only problem was that I couldn't get 4 ounces each time I pumped. I could only get about 2 ounces each time. Which explained a lot. She was wanting 4 ounces with each feeding but could only get at a max 2 ounces. The poor girl was just hungry.

It has taken some time to really get into a routine with pumping and as far as feeding her breast milk and supplementing with formula, but now we have it down pretty good.

When I was first considering that breastfeeding could actually be the problem, I was worried I would regret the decision to quit. I was worried I was going to quit on a bad day (although they were all bad days anymore). But after getting the confirmation from the doctor that my instincts were correct, I knew exactly what I needed to do. I knew switching to bottles all the time was the best decision for both of us.

And within a few days of switching, we could tell a difference. We got our happy, content, quiet kid back. Granted she gets pretty unhappy when you take the bottle away to burp her, but mostly she's happy. I'm not saying she never cries because as much as I would love that - that is not realistic. She is still a baby. But our bad days were fewer and further in-between.

At our two month appointment because she wasn't even on the chart and her weight was pretty low, we scheduled a follow-up appointment in two weeks. Which meant that we would see if what we were doing was making a difference and if she was on the right track. After the first week, I could already tell a difference. She was already starting to fill out. So when we went in for the appointment, she weighed in at 9 pounds 12 ounces. She had gained 2 pounds in 2 weeks. May not seem like much to you, but she was now at 1%. She was on the chart and we were heading in the right direction.

Like I said, our days are better. She's healthier and happier. I'm happier. We are both less frustrated. There are times when I miss breastfeeding, but mostly I'm just happy that we got the problem sorted out and are on the right track. Breastfeeding was becoming much too frustrating and exhausting for both of us, so there is no regret whatsoever in quitting. I am happy that I am still able to give her some breast milk with each feeding. But more importantly, she is getting what she needs and enough of what she needs.


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