Words no mother wants to hear

“Your baby is hungry.”

I really like baby Azulito’s paediatrician. She is affirming, soft-spoken, generous, kind, reassuring and the antithesis of alarmist.  But today she said those four words that struck me as I imagine a knife entering my left eye might feel. My heart sank. 

Baby A has dropped from the 97th to the 35th percentile for weight using the WHO chart for breastfed infants (adjusted for his early arrival). His height continues to be above average (90th I think, that dimmed in the face of the shocking weight percentile change). 

This has happened despite my efforts to nurse more (and sleep even less). I’ve doubled my dose of Domperi.done. I’ve made and eaten lactation cookies (Booby Num Nums as I like to call them). I stopped pumping and whip out the breast for baby to enjoy more than the recommended number of feedings each day (he never says no, typical male right?) as I have been afraid he wasn’t gaining enough weight. 

Ugh. 

Thankfully when the paediatrician examined baby A today he was his usual never-stop-moving self, meeting and exceeding milestones in every other respect. Except weight. (Darn it!) She said no matter how much I feed him he is going to gobble up and use every calorie. He wants to see the world. Not now but right now. 

She predicts he will be crawling and walking early. He is already scooting himself around on his back using his feet like some sort of reverse-crab, trying to sit up on his own and standing at any opportunity (he can’t stay upright whether sitting or standing without help or something to hold onto yet). This kid isn’t even five months old (and his adjusted age would be just over 4 months). Slow down little buddy!

We had this problem with the MT too but not this early. Even though baby A’s doctor expressed concern today over his weight and urged me to start feeding him solids daily now once she saw his activity level and physical development (which she said is that of a six-month old) she said she understood how this has happened. All the more reason to start getting this kid to consume more calories whenever possible. 

I am grateful that she turned it into an action plan. It was hard to hear her tell me my baby is hungry. The sense of failure swooped in (I need drugs to make enough milk for him. And now even that isn’t enough…) and threatened to take up residence. 

Instead I am trying to kick it in the cajones and send it packing. I am a good mummy. My baby is healthy. Busy. Eager to experience all life has to offer. His hunger is just one facet of that. And it’s fixable. With some more effort hopefully we can keep him gaining not only length but weight too. 

Wish us luck!

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27 thoughts on “Words no mother wants to hear

  1. You are a VERY good mummy! Sounds like you got one of the good ones when it comes to pediatricians.

    Your little guy is doing remarkably well! I can’t believe how physically adept he is already. He’s gonna have so much fun chasing after his big brother.

    • Ha ha. Have you been eavesdropping on our talk of how A is growing fast to clean the MT’s clock for all of the rough housing to which big brother has already (!!) subjected baby brother?

      Thank you for the kind vote of confidence. It’s hard to know your kid is lacking in some way and I think hunger reminds me of more impoverished times in my life when I had to choose between food and rent etcetera… Stuff I never want my kids to experience. I think the idea of hunger one can’t control oneself automatically evokes anxiety in me for that reason. I immediately felt like I have been failing or neglecting him despite best efforts. I’m sure all the mommy shaming out there doesn’t help. You know?

  2. It sounds like A is thriving! And to encourage you, BG is gaining noticably faster now that she’s on a routine of solids, so I’m sure that will round out A’s diet/calories and stabilize his weight (she’s still a string bean though, 90th for height & 12th for weight).
    Sounds like A is quite advanced for his age! And you are a great mom ❤ XOXO

  3. From just reading, I am very very sure that you are a wonderful mom. 🙂 Busy bodies burn calories. Your doctor is good in that she didn’t just tell you the problem, she also suggested how to fix it. Motherhood is hard, yeah?

  4. Nothing but luck from this end! He may just be hungry from now on. A just may need double meals. Every meal. Hungry isn’t always a bad thing! But we have the 30 pound (healthy and hungry) 11 month old. Hungry is a way of life in our home.

    • Yes I was thinking about your (not so) wee and his amazing growth and appetite. It’s inly been in the last 3-4 days that A is really taking an interest in food so at least we have that going for us.

  5. I can so relate. I’m in trouble with our LC because C only gained .2 oz last week. I’ve had to add one formula bottle a day since we’re still months away from solids. Nothing is straightforward with these baby creatures, is it? Just when you think you’re on a good path–wham! Everything is upended! You’re doing great, mama. Hang in there!

  6. Alex was the same. Fast metabolism. Even now he is super skinny. He was off the chart. That chart with the percentiles. He was THAT Underweight

    • Yes! The MT is exactly like that. He was below zero since 9 months. Now he is at around 2% but whatever. His doctor recognizes he’s just s busy kid. Do you have trouble getting Alex to eat? For us it’s hard because he is so much less interested in food than play.

      • Yes. So much so that I have had to request he sit next to his teacher at lunch at school. Because the other way he told me he ate two tomatoes. Nothing else. School is 8-4.45!?!? He was busy talking at lunch. He talks non stop. So now he sits next to his teacher and is monitored. He’s off the chart still. Very very skinny. Great at running though 😃😃 so I guess huge could be a Long distance runner

  7. Oh, that must have been hard to hear. I can immediately imagine the feelings of anxiety and failure creeping in. The idea of not being able to adequately sustain your baby cuts to the quick. But, at 4-5 months old (depending on his chronological vs. adjusted age) he’s ready for some solids anyway! And I think that’s why: because he’s more active and burning more calories. In other words, it’s a natural progression and he’s just ready for it slightly earlier than some of his peers. He’s happy and engaged in the world around him! Solids will likely make a world of difference. We reached that point with Bunny, too. Now we have sort of the opposite problem. Now that she’s eating table food she shoves it in her mouth like it’s going out of style. It seems like she never stops. I worry about her self-regulating her food intake. She’s pudgy. She’s active, but pudgy. I want to bring this up at her 12 month checkup which is a couple weeks away because I’m actually concerned she’s eating too much! There’s always something, isn’t there. And you, my dear, are a phenomenal mama. 🙂

    • Thank you my friend. There is always something. Pudgy is good in babies. Mine never seem to stay pudgy. I wouldn’t sweat it honestly. Is she walking yet? If not my guess is the weight will fly off once she is. Peanut certainly is lean (MT is just like her – small for his age, petite build, prone to outbursts and wild behaviour at home though not tactile defensive and not to the degree you’ve wrestled with all these years). Thanks for getting my anxiety.

      • I suppose you are right! Bunny is just starting to take a few steps at a time without holding on. Every day she gets more and more confident in it. 🙂 Her first independent steps were about 2 weeks ago. So yes, her activity level is about to increase greatly. She’ll also be switching to cow’s milk in the next 1-2 weeks and I don’t know if that will make a difference. Sheesh, she turns 1 next week! Anyway, Peanut was big at that age, too, and clearly now she’s not at all. Maybe that’s just how our babies grow! Good luck with the solids. I certainly expect A will adjust once you get into that routine. And hold on to that pediatrician! He/she sounds perfect – straightforward but sensitive.

  8. It sounds as though you are doing the best job you can with a baby who is advancing very fast and demanding calories. The fact that you have breast fed this far is something I think is incredible. I have failed twice to breastfeed and it has killed me both times to stop so soon 😦 Wishing you lots of luck going forward. Whatever you have to do will be the right choice for you both x

  9. I know you know this, but just wanted to remind you… You’re an amazing mother. Don’t ever forget that. This is fixable, and I’ll be sending prayers your way that this little issue is no longer an issue very soon!

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