Thriving. At least so I thought.

Yesterday I took Luca and Mae to the doctor’s for their two years and five month old check ups, respectively.

It was stressful enough. Luca likes to touch everything. He likes to hide. He likes to be ‘helpful.’ If it was just him and myself, I’d have had no problem. But Maelie was along for the ride and teething. While, yes, she was under the influence of Tylenol, she was still cranky.

So it was a crappy disposition from the get-go.

Luca checked out fine. He weighed in at 28 pounds and was 38 inches tall. He passed his Autism screening with flying colors and gave active examples to prove it.

Mae looked great. She is a long girl and was long from the beginning, measuring 22 inches at birth. She’s always been in the 75th percentile and above.

But her weight is another story. Born in at 7 lbs 13 oz, she seemed proportionate to her long body. And at her last visit she weighed in at 14 lbs 8 oz. of perfection. However, at the doctor’s yesterday she weighed in at 13 pounds even.

Yup, you read that right. She lost weight.

And here’s where I’ve been so out of sorts.

At the doctor’s office we weighed her on the baby scale. 13 pounds. We checked the calibration, weighed her again, 13 pounds. We had me stand on the scale holding her, then without and subtracted. 13 pounds.

I wish I was lying.

I really, really do.

So I messaged a friend of mine who had a baby only a few weeks behind me and was always there for me during the thick of the PPD with Luca. Her daughter weighs in at 18 pounds already and I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t jealous. In my note I wrote:

“The doc says not to worry until next month, because she’s still gaining in height. She is 85th % in height, but 15th in weight. Luca was the same way with weight, and is just fine, but he was also a squirt. She’s just so long and lean. 

It feels better to write all that out. 

I’m afraid that its my fault, that I’m not supplying enough breast milk. So I’ve been supplimenting her a feeding a day with Baby’s Only formula. I almost cried today doing that. But I’d be damned if I’d starve her just for my own pride.

I’m at a loss. But at least I’m not PPD.”

And she wrote back:

“Awww, Cassie! Do not cry over giving Mae formula. You are absolutely right that your pride comes second to feeding your baby. 

It sounds like, from what I’ve read of your posts, that Mae is a really active baby. Is it possible that she just burns a heckuva lot more calories than she takes in? How often does she eat? Is your pedi concerned? If not, you shouldnt be. You and Matt are both thin so it makes sense your baybays would be the same way. 

(Read this next part twice)

Your breastmilk is STILL Mae’s perfect food. You are doing NOTHING wrong. Do not beat yourself up AT ALL.

(Go read it again.)” 

And that was what I needed to hear.

She also told me:

“Working and pumping/nursing is hard shit. Props to you. Especially after 4 years of being milked. Honestly. You shouldnt be upset, you should feel like the queen of the lactating world.”

Which made me giggle.

But it still has me in a funk. I noticed earlier today that I was just off. I look at Maelie – beautiful, sweet and so very calm – and I never knew that she was losing weight. I never noticed it. And while I know that doesn’t make me a horrible mother for not realizing it as it was happening, I still feel awful. I’m the one who feeds her. My body built her into the baby she is today and up until yesterday, I’ve been solely responsible for feeding her. And I’m letting her down.

My doctor says I shouldn’t be worried until she gets weighed next month. Obviously I’m going to. She said that it’s good that she’s gaining in length and that her weight could be just displaced by that. But I still want to know why she lost weight.

It just goes to show you, that as a parent, you never stop worrying. When I was pregnant, I was constantly afraid that I’d have a cord accident. When they were little babies, I checked their breathing like me watching them ensured they’d continue to do so. When they play outside I neurotically check around to make sure that no freak is going to pull them into an unmarked van. It never ends.

But now I’m just sad. I’m sad that my body isn’t doing its job. I’m sad that I have to supplement Mae with formula once a day. I’m sad that perhaps for the past two months she’s needed me to understand that she’s just hungry.

I’m just sad.

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About Cassie

Two sisters from two misters. What could be more fun?

Posted on July 6, 2011, in Cassie and tagged . Bookmark the permalink. 14 Comments.

  1. Aww Cass, don’t be sad. I failed at bf’ing 3 times. For 3 different reasons (the last of which should have been caught by the lactation nurse, who just told me to give up instead of noticing that he couldn’t latch).
    Remember that Mae just started trying to move on her own – that her height could be it. You’re not Superwoman (a fact I have a hard time accepting myself) & what matters is you’re doing the best for Mae. Breast milk or formula, you’re feeding her.
    I will say I’m glad that its not just me that beats myself up for things I don’t have a whole lot of control over.

    • I forgot to mention that my doctor told me to increase how often I feed her and I’ll make more milk, which has been proving true thus far. I think part of it is also my fault in that I have rushed her through feedings because I have a zillion other things to do or two other kids needing me. I’m making it a priority now to sit and feed her for as long as it takes it. That’s why Bubble Guppies make such a great babysitter when need be.

  2. You’re a way more seasoned veteran mama than I am, but I still wanted to leave a comment to encourage you. My son is currently formula fed because for his first two weeks of life we tried to breastfeed him and watched him lose weight and continue to lose weight. Scary stuff, and definitely made me feel like a failure. I cried many, many tears, but finally realized that I had to do what was best for my son, even if that was not what I had envisioned. I’d be lying if I said that nearly three months later I still don’t have moments where I feel like a formula-feeding failure, but at the end of the day, seeing my son happy, healthy, and thriving makes me feel like everything is ok. So don’t despair! Your beautiful daughter will be fine and it does not make you any less of a mother. You are an awesome mom for doing what is best for her.

  3. Dear dear Cassie. You can’t force her to take more than she does, and she gets all that she needs. As long as she is pooping and her diapers are wet. She is satisfied and she doesn’t need to gorge herself. You can’t super size the quantity. the quality is there. Perhaps the scale wasn’t calibrated last visit, and she didn’t lose as much as you think. RELAX.

  4. Listen, you have three kids. You know when a baby’s hungry. I have zero kids, and *I* know when a baby is hungry. Every baby I’ve ever met is not shy about telling you they want food, and they want it NOW. If Mae was hungry, you’d know it. 1) Mae is super active 2) She has two tall and thin parents 3) She herself is growing up to be tall and thin. It makes perfect sense to this outside observer that periodically throughout her life, her height will increase disproportionately to her weight.

    You are a GREAT mom, Cassie.

    P.S. Um, what is a cord accident and why has no one told me to freak out about this before?

  5. I agree with your friend on all accounts. She is 100% correct. Don’t beat yourself up. If Mae was hungry, she’d let you know. You don’t deprive her! My sister in law has an underweight daughter and she has been since she was born. She’s almost 4 now and can still fit in 12 month pjs (even though the pants are now capri’s or shorts because shes tall, shes that thin.) She eats and isn’t hungry, she is just active and wont eat anymore than she wants. But as a mom, you’re going to worry and stress and when you do, just remind yourself that if she were upset, she’d tell you and give her what extra she’ll take and go on about your day. Hopefully by the next appointment she’ll go back up and give you less worries. But don’t beat yourself up. Who could notice a one pound loss? It’s nothing you’ve done. You’ve done it twice already and are a bf’ing pro. 🙂

    • It’s true. I’m the same way. I eat only when I’m hungry and I probably don’t eat as many calories as I should…but either way my body takes from me before it takes from her milk.

  6. Oh I know how stressful that is. I would be upset too. Breastfeeding, especially after you’ve been doing it a while, is a bonding thing for mom as well as baby. I know that having to switch Sarah to bottles during the day has been hard on me emotionally because I enjoy the time breastfeeding.

    Hang in there. That one extra formula bottle will beef her right up, and a happy, healthy Mae is the most important thing. I bet she’s gained a bunch by that next visit!

    • It is a bonding moment. And with two other ones running around it gets hard to bond with her. So I look at it as an opportunity to get to know her aside from the other kids. But me stressing over it isn’t a good thing. I just have to work a little harder. Just like running a race, just gotta work for it.

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