My poor, runty baby

I've been saying for the last few weeks that Saul is too skinny. Babies are supposed to be fat. Everyone told me to quit worrying. Yesterday, the doctor told me to worry. Proportionally, Saul lost weight between his two week and six week visits. His length stayed exactly on the line for the 75th percentile, but his weight dropped from the 50th to the 25th percentile. He only weighs a little more than 10 pounds. The pediatrician gave me some techniques to help him eat more and to increase my milk production. We will visit again next Wednesday, and if he hasn't gained a significant amount, we will have to supplement with formula. I feel terrible. I committed to try to breastfeed until his first birthday because I believe that it is healthier for him. But I also enjoy it. It's a special kind of bonding that benefits both of us. If I lose that, I will be very upset. I also feel terrible because the colic? Maybe he was just hungry. I am a terrible mother for not realizing this.

So while I'm still reeling from the fact that I've been starving my child, the nurse came in to give him five(!) shots in his (skinny) little legs. He didn't cry too much, but I did. We went home and I dosed us both with some Tylenol. Then, stressed and upset and guilty feeling, with a fussy, hurting baby, I decided that the best course of action was to make some homemade oatmeal potato bread. No, I don't understand the logic of that either. Surprisingly enough, it was the only time I have attempted to make a yeast bread and had it actually work. Pictures to follow later.

To help Saul sleep last night, I swaddled him in a blanket. I did not unswaddle him for the middle of the night feedings. When I did unswaddle him this morning, he was burning up. I took his temperature and discovered that he had passed the "Call the Doctor" number we had been given. I called the doctor and they told me to bring him in immediately. I grabbed my toast and tea, threw him in the car seat, and took off. It was only while in the waiting room that I noticed I was wearing one of B's army surplus shirts from college, with dried spit-up on it, and holes where you could see my milk-stained nursing bra. I hadn't brushed my hair or teeth, my jeans were filthy, and I was wearing a pair of ridiculous purple crocs. Saul was crying, had no socks or hat, and also had a generous amount of dried spit-up on his onesie. I briefly imagined that the receptionist was calling child protective services.

After an examination, the doctor concluded that he was just having a reaction to the immunizations and that we shouldn't worry. I will monitor his temperature today, but he is already feeling much better. And child protective services haven't broken down the door yet, although I'm expecting them at any minute.

This parenting thing is hard.


Annie in Austin said...

How the heck are you supposed to know everything at once? My mom told me that she underfed me as a baby, too- following the doctor's instructions while I screamed and didn't grow. My grandmother spoke up and an increased amount of formula turned things around fast.

That will happen for Saul, too, whether the nursing techniques work or you turn to nutritional supplements.

Milk production can go down with emotional trauma, something you've sure faced in the last few weeks, Steph! You did the responsible thing by having Sebastian put to sleep but working through the grief must be hard.

When the Leander child was killed by his family's dog earlier this week, your situation immediately came to mind, reminding us that an early farewell is better than a later tragedy.

If I'm stepping over the line just let me know, Stef - your troubles are giving me flashbacks!

Garden blogger Annie

J said...

You are not a marsupial. Saul can't crawl into your pouch for 6 months and latch himself to a teat which would swell to fit his mouth. We aren't talking innate knowledge, that's all I'm saying.

It's ok. You are a good mother and a good person.

That's for sure.