Thursday, September 04, 2008

The only constant is change

We took D in for one last check-up with our Swiss pediatrician before the move. I don't know if they normally continue with monthly well-checks past 6 months, I had simply assumed this would be the case and so made the appointment which also made sense as it's nice to get one last check in before jumping on a plane, and not being sure when we'll find/get to see a new pediatrician once we're in California (will try to start the search as soon as we arrive, don't worry).

Everything went well today, except that D hadn't gained much weight since last month. Looking at his weight compared to the WHO growth charts, his weight has been at about 50th percentile through 5 months of age, but the past 2 months his growth has slowed so that now he's hovering closer to 20-30th percentile. Enough so that our very pro-breastfeeding pediatrician has suggested we supplement with formula.

At first when he mentioned this I thought, "Wow, ok, we're here then." Just the other day I was thinking about how I was glad D hasn't ever had to have any formula. I've had an inkling in the past month or so that perhaps my supply isn't what it used to be, or may simply not be growing to fit his needs (especially now that he's scooting around everywhere and thus I'm sure needing lots more calories to make up for it). I have some tea to help with that, and I swear in the past when I've eaten almonds my supply has increased (strange but true) so I'll try that as well. He already eats every 2 hours most of the time during the day, so I can't exactly feed him more often (ok, I guess I could, I'm not willing to). But I know there is one thing that would probably help the most, and that is to pump after every feeding, and to be completely honest I'm just not up for doing that. Not now. Not in the middle of all this.

If D were younger I might be more willing to go through the hassle of pumping and cleaning and storing, so many times a day. But we've had 7 full months of exclusive breastfeeding (other than a few bites of food here in the past few weeks). That's pretty great. I'd love to be able to continue with just breastfeeding till he's a year old, or perhaps longer, but if that doesn't work out I think I'm ok with that. I do still plan to breastfeed as much as I can so he still gets hopefully a majority of his nutrition from me, but I'm not going to stress or kill myself over it. I realize that this course may lead to weaning, that for many women the supplementing of formula leads to further decreases in supply and thus the downward spiral begins (while other women use both for long periods of time with no ill effects). Part of me feels sad about all this, and part of me doesn't. Part of me feels guilty that I'm not willing to do what it takes to avoid having to use formula, and part of me realizes that everything will be fine, that I've already given D a great start, and that I deserve to maintain some level of sanity.

The other thing I thought as we were sitting across from the pediatrician in his office was, "Crap, the guys just packed all our bottles this morning." When we stopped at the store to buy the formula I also picked up a couple new bottles. I have no idea how this will go, honestly. He hasn't taken a bottle since 2 months of age, and I stopped trying after 3 or 4. Maybe it will have been long enough that he'll take one now. We also have his sippy cups, and just plain old glass cups, to try out (he's done well drinking out of a cup when I hold it for him, though it would take a looong time for him to take much more than an ounce or 2 that way...).

So off on another adventure we go. I have no idea how it will go. I guess he'll either take the formula, one way or another, or he won't. He'll either gain more weight, or he won't (we'll try to check him again in another month ot monitor progress). I'll either still be breastfeeding him in another month or 2 or 3 or more, or I won't. It's all up in the air, as are so many things in life. I think that's the biggest lesson in parenting, learning how to fly by the seat of your pants and roll with the punches.


  1. I had a manual pump, which when it came to just finishing up after kiddo, was pretty easy to use. It had about 5 parts, fit nicely in the dishwasher, and was fine with a rinse under hot water during the day between uses. It was a pain when trying to fill up a bottle to freeze, but only took a few minutes when I needed to drain out the ducts completely. You'd be surprised, you can get a couple ounces out - which can then be used to make baby cereal.

  2. How much solids has he been eating? Do you always nurse him before the solids? Even playing with the solids can make him less hungry for breastmilk. He should still be getting all his nutrition/calories from breastmilk (or formula) at this point. I mention that as I recall you saying you started solids recently, and that could cause the weight to not gain as quickly as it had been when he was only on breastmilk.

    No problem giving formula, but if it's not something you really want to do, you may consider looking at his nursing patterns.



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