Tuesday, February 27, 2007

size matters

Went to the pediatrician's. Generally, my ped is pretty nice, but I wasn't so hot on her this time. See, Lucy is small. Very small. Low on the growth charts small. Even for breast-fed babies small.
Course, you look at Dyami and I and you wouldn't expect gigantobaby, would you?

So, when she comes back with the news that Lucy is light for her age, I wasn't too surprised. Also wasn't surprised that she recommended feeding her solids. (She recommended solids at Lucy's four-month appointment, at which point I told her I wasn't going to do so. See, the American Academy of Pediatrics doesn't recommend doing that either. Shouldn't this woman be following their advice?) And we have started solids. Slowly, and without too much gusto. But we have started. I was thinking about doing it on weekends at first. If we felt like it. Since it's kind of a pain in the butt (and this is from a woman who complains about nursing!) And because Lucy still doesn't have teeth and doesn't react too well to some foods, solids are a little, well, premature.
The ped, however, wanted us to start three meals a day. Which is just not going to happen right now. How am I going to give my child that much food all at once? Food would go from being a pleasant, fun thing that we ease into to me force-feeding my child three times a day. Exactly what I wanted to avoid.
But see, I kind of like authority figures, and doing What They Say, and so it's hard to go in a second time and have her tell me these things, and know I'm going to pretty much ignore her. Hard, but still doable.
It doesn't help her credibility that she also says that breastfed babies are bigger, usually than formula fed babies, which is false. (Looked it up in my baby book. UC Davis study says she's wrong. Plus, think about it: which is harder, getting food actively out of a boob or passively out of a dribbling bottle? You don't even have to suck the bottle--and it's easy to overfeed bottle fed babies). It's hard to trust her advice when she's wrong on something so simple. Also, breastmilk has more calories per ounce than most solids, so wouldn't I want to give her more of that to be most efficient?

Anyway, to make a long story short, I do take her concerns (somewhat) seriously, and have been trolling around for feedback from trusted people, like my midwife, Sarah, my LLL leader friend, my mom, my mother-in-law, and last but not least, Dyami.
See, breastmilk should still be plenty for her right now, and the best thing for her right now, but half of the people are telling me it's not. Which is a little frustrating, seeing as how I'm getting mixed messages. And how it produces worry and lack of confidence (like birth, breastfeeding is kind of a confidence game, seeing as you can't actually see how much food the child is getting). I've poured my life (literally--I haven't had much of a life) into feeding this child for the last six months--willingly, though not without a struggle--and now it seems that it's not enough. Not enough? Are you kidding me?
I'm thinking about ways to increase my milk supply (which is surely the better route than trying to force-feed my child or give her foods that could possibly cause allergies later on) but already nurse a lot, and it's hard to motivate myself to come out of the nice little comfort zone we've created over the last month and a half. Things have been relatively easy since January. God, it's been nice. I think about waking up in the middle of the night to nurse or pump and I whimper.
I was quite relieved to talk to my mother-in-law, Donna, actually. Turns out Dyami was small, though she can't remember how small. But Jamie, his older brother, was a munchkin (28 pounds in kindergarten). And Jim, my father in law was small, and Donna herself was a preemie.
So probably a lot of this is genetics. This is good, since Donna's children all turned out normal and coordinated and quite brilliant (if I do say so). And funny and handsome.
Lucy still has a chance, people! It's amazing!


Melissa said...

Lucia is going to be just fine, and also brilliant and lovely and wonderful. Of course.

Susan said...

Lucy does not need anything but breastmilk until she is a year old! Small does not equal undernourished! It just means small, and small is the perfect size for Lucy. She is a happy, healthy developmentally on target little girl, you are doing exactly the right thing.

Michelle said...

since i am an expert authority on all things breastfed, I agree with melissa and susan! (see how smart I am ?)

Seriously, your body was made to feed her.

You rock babe!