Thursday, July 14, 2011

Bottles, Bottles, Everywhere

Last week, Clara had her four-month check-up with the pediatrician. A few days before the appointment, we had the suspicion that she hadn't been gaining very much weight. So, I started to pump every night before I went to bed and to nurse her on both sides (which I never did with Abby) to see if that would help.

As with all doctor's appointments, the first thing the nurse did was take Clara's measurements. Sam went out with Clara to the scale and I heard the nurse say 9 lbs. 9 oz. My heart dropped. That was only five more ounces than her two-month visit.

A few minutes later, the doctor came in to the room. The first thing she said was, well, the first thing I noticed on her chart was a little alarming. She hasn't really gained any weight since her last visit.

They like babies to gain between 1/2 ounce to 1 ounce a day and Clara had only gained 5 ounces in 60+ days. She told us we needed to get A LOT more in her every day, whether breast milk or formula.

Needless to say, I was pretty devastated. I felt like I had been starving my sweet baby. We knew she was skinny, but we didn't realize it was that bad. She never cries, so I had no indication that she was hungry.

The next day, I pumped during each of her feedings while Sam fed her a bottle of previously pumped milk to see what we were dealing with. Let's just say, it wasn't pretty.

So, I went into full-on pump mode.

Despite pumping every two hours, I wasn't coming close to keeping up. Every day the freezer had one less bottle at the end of the day.

Sam took her in for her weight check yesterday and she had gained 10 oz! We were thrilled and the doctor was pleased. However, Clara is still way behind where she should be. The extra 10 oz. took her from the .05 percentile to around the 1 percentile. The doctor advised us to increase her intake even more if we could. So yesterday, we did what I was dreading and trying desperately to avoid and put a little bit of formula in her bottle.

I'm still pumping like crazy and started drinking this horrendous herbal tea that is supposed to help with lactation to see if I can catch up and get back to nursing exclusively.

I was never one of those people who love to nurse, but being told that what I was doing wasn't enough changed my heart. I hope and pray that things can get back to normal. I miss my special time with my little sweetheart.


  1. I know how you feel about the formula...I felt sick when I first gave it to B, even though I knew that it was the best choice for our circumstances. But it will get better and you won't feel so guilty in a few days or weeks. It's so worth it if she is healthy!

    And think about what smart, healthy, awesome people you and me and Philip have become when we were formula fed :)

  2. Deborah, I am praying that your milk picks up. Whatever happens you know you have given it your best! Clara is a doll and you are an amazing Mommy!

  3. Sorry that this has been so difficult for you! You are amazing with all the pumping (and tea drowning) you are doing! Know that you are doing your best AND that Clara might not be gaining weight the way the doctors like, but she is NOT going hungry. You're not starving her. Remember that. You're a wonderful mom and there are no indications of hunger. Just slow weight gain. Madeleine was ALWAYS below 1%tile... so no worries. Also, know that if you have to use formula it may not be your preference but it's far from the devil's juice, too. It will all work out! Prayers are with you!

  4. I feel your pain!!! My lactation lady told me about some herbal pills instead of the tea (which I think tastes AWFUL!!!) They are called Fenugreek and Blessed Thissle. You can buy them at GNC or the Vitamin Store. They are more powerful than the tea and you don't have to taste them. She had me taking three of each three times a day. They do make you smell like maple syrup which is a strange side effect but not the most unpleasant smell. I also tried Reglan which your doctor can prescribe. It really helped but be prepared for some wacky effects on your mood. You are a fabulous Mom and don't let the pressure get to you. Abby and Clara are VERY lucky to have you as their Mom. We finally had to go to formula and although I still struggle with occational boughts of guilt I know it was the right decision for our little man and our whole family. Whatever you do will be right for your sweet girls. You are AWESOME!

  5. You are definitely in my prayers, I hope things get better. I wish we could give some of Jared's excess weight to her!!


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