Wednesday, December 7, 2011

The one where I admit some difficulty

I have a hard time blogging or talking about the things that bother me or upset me.  Since we've now got our situation somewhat under control, I feel ready to share.

Maclin had his 4 month check up the Wednesday before Thanksgiving and we learned that he had gained NO weight since his 2 month appointment.  Literally.  To the ounce, he weighed 13 lbs, 2 oz at both appointments.

I panicked.  Because ZOMGZOMGZOMG my baby was starving!  I am a horrible mother!  How did I not realize this?*  Luckily, my doctor was MUCH calmer than me and said that sometimes babies flat line for a while and it can't be explained.  He went on to say that based on his observation of Mac, he wasn't overly worried.  If the lack of gain was paired with lethargy or inconsolable crying, that would be cause for alarm.  Mac, however, is a happy, smiling kiddo.

* In my defense, I had called the doctor a week prior because I thought he was somewhere around 14 pounds (based on our home scale).  They said that as long as he acted fine, it could probably wait until his scheduled appointment.

The doctor did say that he wanted us to start solids immediately and see if that helped. We were instructed to feed him rice cereal 3 times a day and start adding in veggies on the following Monday.   After two weeks, we would do a weight check and re-evaluate.

I didn't really feel ready to give him solids... I hadn't properly Googled and I wasn't even planning on considering it until he was 6 months old.  But, as David so eloquently told me, we don't pay a pediatrician to ignore his advice and listen solely to Dr. Google.  So, after a 6 hour drive to my parents' house, we fed Mac his first bite of solids.
Of course, we stripped him down to his diaper...and he was confused.
The first few bites were traumatic.  I think he thought we were trying to kill him with rice cereal.  After a while we reasoned that maybe he was freaking out because he had never had milk without being held... so I tried holding him.
And things were better.... he actually seemed to enjoy it a little bit.

But by the next morning... Mac was a man who knew what he wanted.

And it was cereal!

Even squash was a hit!
So Mac started solids, but I couldn't shake the feeling that something more was going on... Dr. Google had told me that replacing breast milk with solids would hinder weight gain-- not speed it up-- because breast milk is waaaay more calorie dense than rice cereal.  I equate it to me replacing a candy bar with a piece of celery.  Which I SO have not be doing lately.  Ahem.

Because I didn't feel this could be a long-term solution, we went to see a lactation consultant that was recommended to me by my La Leche League leader.

Alyssa was AWESOME!  I felt so supported and she really calmed me down (because, obviously, there was a TON of emotional turmoil and guilt happening in my brain).  After talking to us as length, watching Mac nurse, checking out his mouth, checking out my lady bits, and weighing Maclin before and after nursing, she said she thought Mac might be tongue-tied.

Besides seeing and feeling what she felt was a short frenulum, she also said that he only managed to get 1.4 oz of milk during his 30 minute nursing session.  That might explain why my baby boy had been a SLOW nurser before--his meals could last upwards of 1 hour.

There are a lot of other indicators he fit, but the one most apparent to me is a heart-shaped tongue.  When someone with tongue tie sticks his tongue out, the tongue can appear heart shaped because the frenulum is pulling on the underside.

Check it out:
That, my friends, is a heart-shaped tongue.

I talked to my doctor and he's hesitant to do the frenetomy immediately.  So he told us to feed Mac 2 oz of pumped milk after every nursing along with his solids.  Doc says that if he has a significant weight gain, then he would be willing to refer to an ENT.

Right now, Mac's taking 21 oz of expressed milk a day along with ~4 nursing sessions...all of which last 45-60+ minutes.  I am losing my mind, because to keep up with Mac's need I need to get up in the middle of the night to pump AND pump after every nursing session.  I cannot keep this up long term...right now I'm pumping 75-90 minutes a day and nursing for about 3 hours.  Then I need to feed him the bottle (if David's not home) and wash the pump parts.  My house is not clean--and we haven't decorated for Christmas.  And I need a nap...but I always need a nap :)

We see our doctor tomorrow and I'm hopeful that Maclin's had some significant weight gain.  If he hasn't, I will probably be a hot mess.

Luckily, he's REALLY cute, so all this is totally worth it.


  1. Your poor ta-ta's! They must be exhausted! I'm with 100% on the whole trying not to feed B until he is 6+ months. B gains weight just fine, a little quickly if you ask me. My pediatrician told me at 3.5 months to start B on cereal....I was not ok with it so I didn't. At the following appointment B had gained weight just fine without cereal so I asked if we could go the whole 6 months solid free and they said sure. I hope Mac has gained some weight and if you ever and I mean ever need to talk about things behind close doors feel free to email me. Being a mom isn't easy and I'm more then willing to Google for you :)

    PS: Having a heart shaped tongue might not be ideal for nursing but sure is super cute!

  2. Good luck! It sounds like you are taking a totally great approach and are being level-headed about the whole thing, but yeah...your poor ta-tas.

    We've started The Bean on some solids, but mostly she thinks they're a play toy. Maybe I'll try the holding her thing...great idea.

  3. Hang in there girl! As a mama of 2 super slow eaters I feel your pain!! Em got to the point where she would either nurse for an hour, or I could pump for 15 min and spend 15 min giving her a bottle and be done. So that's what I did...if it is easier to just pump and feed bottles go for it. With P I am currently pumping 4 times a day and that gives us 2 b/m bottles. She gets 2 formula bottles and eats from me twice. I couldn't keep up pumping and gave in to formula much sooner than I did with Em. Someone told me when I was feeling mama guilt that a pedi told age 2 there is no way to tell the difference between a formula fed baby and a breast fed baby, so that is how I deal with my guilt! That and having a happy, sane mama was worth it! Breast feeding is HARD and you are doing an awesome job!! Just keep doing what you think is best for Mac and all will be well!

  4. I totally relate to the nursing plus pumping because I was doing the same thing for about 3 weeks after Emily was born. Hang in there!!

  5. Cute oh yes, he is definitely a cutie pie! Hang in there, it will get easier and the heart shaped tongue is really cute, I've never seen that before :) Visitng from Nicole at Pampers and Pumps!

  6. I exclusively pumped for the first month of my daughter's life so I know what all that's like - the pumping, the feeding, the waking up to pump, the cleaning bottles and pump parts. Exhausting.
    Read your newest post though and I'm glad he's gained some weight. I may have a weight gain issue with my daughter.. the doctors are telling me to try feeding her more but she not interested.