Thursday, November 8, 2007


It's so hard to have a sick child. The Little Mister really is feeling better today, but still...I'm a paranoid new mommy with (in my mind, anyway) reason to be paranoid.

When the Little Mister was born, he was 7 pounds 7 ounces.

At his two week appointment, he was 6 pounds.

In two weeks he lost 18% of his birth weight...and I didn't notice.

I didn't notice.

How did I not notice??

I felt like the Worst Mommy Ever. Looking back, I'm guessing I didn't notice because I was barely conscious during the days, living in a haze of no sleep plus painkillers due to a very painful and damaging delivery. It was all I could do to nurse, change diapers, rock to sleep, feed myself... But hindsight doesn't make me feel any better. My baby got smaller instead of bigger, and I didn't notice.

We spent five days in the hospital. At first it was only observation: I kept careful track of exactly how long he nursed, and when, and I even weighed his diapers. He was a champion nurser; I had good let-down, his latch was perfect, and he ate until I was empty, on both sides.

After 48 hours with no growth, the doctor asked me to give the Little Mister a bottle. Part of me was heartbroken. I loved nursing. I loved that I could feed my child from my own body. But my baby wasn't growing. So I nursed for 20 minutes, and then offered him a bottle.

He inhaled that bottle.

My baby was starving. For two weeks he'd been hungry.

The Little Mister didn't grow a whole lot at first; he had a milk intolerance, so we switched to soy. And then the ounces started coming. When we left the hospital on the fifth day he was 6 pounds 12.6 ounces.

The final prognosis? I didn't make enough milk. Despite (according to my doctors) doing everything right, pumping practically every minute that I wasn't nursing or bottle feeding or sleeping, my milk supply never increased enough that I could feed the Little Mister without formula. About a week before he was three months old my milk just wasn't there anymore, dried up completely overnight. This is something I really don't like to talk (or even think) about, because it feels like I wasn't good enough. I know in my heart that isn't true, but it's still hard. Every day I am thankful for the quality of formula in the United States (we're in Germany but we use formula from the U.S.), but I still have twinges of guilt and, more often, sadness when I make a bottle.

But the other result of all this is that now I pay attention to everything. I worry when he takes longer naps, when he spits up more than usual, when his dirty diapers seem spaced too far apart, when he eats less or more than usual. We go to the clinic probably more than we should. My paranoia has paid off, because now we're treating his acid reflux instead of worrying about it, and we fixed his constipation by switching to a hypoallergenic formula. But when he started acting funny on Monday I just didn't know if I was being paranoid or if he really needed a doctor.

Thankfully, the Little Mister didn't need a doctor. We had a rough couple of days, but today he's happy and smiley and eating like he did on the weekend (and before that).

I'm still paranoid. I think that's going to last for awhile.


  1. Hey, if you read my post to my boy (Christopher) a few days ago, you know I was there with you. Except my boy lost even more weight. You know what, being a first time mommy is the hardest thing you'll ever do. Not because baby is actually that hard, but because of the overwhelming emotional roller coaster you are on. He lost a little bit of weight. It would not be noticeable unless you weighed him. You are NOT a bad mother for not noticing. You are a GREAT mother for taking the steps to make sure he has enough to eat, now that you know he had certain problems.

    Motherhood is tough, girl! But most of it is brought on ourselves by ourselves. It's called guilt. And


  2. I was very paranoid about my children not getting enough to eat - and this in spite of the fact that they were really FAT for the first couple of months due to my overactive let-down (once they figured out how to control the flow better, they lost their Michelin-baby rolls). The paranoia goes deep - I still have an instinct to just SHOVE as much food into my children as I can.

  3. My bestest friend delivered triplets 4 years ago. One child survived with multiple food allergies and now a diagnosis of autism. Jo's "paranoia" and persistance led to an early diagnosis of autism and persistant developmental delays that has gotten Miss Sophia therapy at home and in school much earlier than the average child. I ask you this- is it paranoia or just motherly instincts that rarely are wrong???

  4. You are doing a GREAT job. Motherhood can often just be one big haze of gray, and we all just find our direction as best we can. Btw, you might google some herbal remedies for breast milk supply for your NEXT baby, because this experience with little mister doesn't mean your next one has to be the same!

  5. oh sweetie, this makes me cry (I've had no sleep - but still). Guh, we are so hard on ourselves over whether or not a baby will munch our boobs and grow aren't we?

    Alex was 7 pounds, 2 ounces, 21 inches long and was so freaking skinny tiny that all of his clothes swam on him including the newborn diapers.

    I absolutely understand how you wouldn't zoom in on him losing weight - they seem so tiny and fragile that going from tiny and fragile to tinier and fragile just doesn't really register.

  6. Aw, this touched me. Being a mother is such an all-consuming job. You are neither a bad mother for not noticing or for being vigilant now. *smile* If it makes you feel in good company - we didn't notice that our newborn daughter had a 3 inch birthmark on the back of her right leg. For nearly three weeks. =)

    Take care.

  7. I have had supply issues with all of mine. My 2nd was the only one that nursed enough to keep my milk in for more than 6 months (and I think that is because he would "marathon" nurse. It wasn't uncommon for him to nurse for 2-3 hours straight) With my 5 month old now I can only nurse her in the morning and then she gets bottles the second half of the day. It happens. You don't notice whether they are gaining or losing because you see them everyday. He sure does look happy, so you must be doing a lot right. (I LOVE the pic of him with all the stuffed animals)

  8. Being a Mom is not an easy job and to be honest I dont think the paranoid thing ever goes away. Okay maybe slackens some but its always there. My oldest is 6 1/2 and if he snores differently at night I am bolt awake and next to his bed making sure he is okay. Same with Baby A who is 15 months. I have gotten better with other things but night time is always a hard one for me.

  9. Something very similar to this happened to my sister-in-law with her first baby. In fact, it finally took my stepmother insisting that she take the baby in to be weighed before SIL could even admit there was an issue.

    Breastfeeding is, of course, great and all of that. But I can't help feeling that there must be some way to promote bf without making the moms who want to, but just can't feel like failures.

  10. You are definitely not a bad mother for not noticing. We all would have done the same thing.
    Motherhood is tough and mommying the first time around is definitely the hardest thing any of us will ever do. You're doing a great job!
    I for one am extremely impressed that you are "out and about" as much as you are and posting all these terrifically positive things on your blog---so early in the game. Your baby is still so young! I think I was sleeping and eating and barely seeing sunlight when I was at your phase of the game. You are doing awesomely well!

  11. how brave of you to share this, I know how hard it is for you. And look at all the love you've gotten in return. pretty cool, this bloggy community, huh?

    (by the way, I have to say I'm a wee bit jealous at how many readers you have already! Took me a long time to be getting comments in the double digits!)

  12. Babydoll, we all worry all the time. And it gets worse. As I've been posting for the last 10 days or so, in a few years, you've got to worry about how other kids treat them. It is even worse because you still blame yourself, it's still absolutely not your fault, and there's still not a darned thing you can do about it. Well, you can do a few things.

    The point is, we all feel like terrible mothers when something is going on and we didn't notice. That's why we're not terrible mothers!