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By Jessica T

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About this blog: I'm a late thirties mother of a ten-year-old and infant twins. My family moved to Menlo Park 6 years ago from Virginia - where I grew up, went to college, got married, had my first born, and got an MBA (in that order). I'm a manag...  (More)

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The baby growth imperative

Uploaded: Oct 9, 2013
Not every newborn experience has been glowing… With each passing day in the hospital, my husband and I were made painfully aware of just how much weight our babies were dropping as we waited impatiently for my milk to come in. Our twins were perfectly healthy and born over 5 lbs, and I had enough milk to feed a village when my first daughter was born. We knew that my milk would come in a day or two later since I'd had a c-section, but nevertheless, there was mounting pressure from our nurses and pediatricians to supplement the twins with formula such that we relented on day 3.

I'm still irritated about the pressure we received. I know that not everyone can or is willing to breastfeed. I struggled to breastfeed my first daughter for 8 weeks before it became at all comfortable. Like last time an instinctual determination kicked in to exclusively breastfeed the twins as much as possible. We stopped supplementing with formula the day we came home from the hospital (and now have a freezer full of breastmilk to boot). I had no intention of letting my hard-fought twins starve - god forbid! When the twins started gaining again (too quickly according to the lactation consultant), one of the pediatricians begged us to disregard the lactation consultant's counsel to slow down on the supplementation.

Imagine my surprise when I received this note from my friend across the country who had a baby three weeks after me:

We had to stay an extra day in the hospital because our baby lost 11% of his birth weight-- and the lactation consultant had me totally freaked out--tears, hormones, major drama. Not sure how moms with twins handle breastfeeding two little ones! The good news is our meeting with the pediatrician went well--and she was like "Hello, babies lose weight after they are born. Sometimes I think the hospital staff overreacts a little too much"....so I am thinking we picked a good peds :) She was very reassuring and pretty great.

I didn't know whether to laugh or cry! Like my friend, my obstetrician assured me that healthcare professionals go through stages where they are more and less neurotic about baby growth...It appears that we're in a growth hysteria peak...

At the twins' five week appointment, their weight gain was healthy. The pediatrician we saw indicated that she was eager to see them catch up to other babies born three weeks later and "get on the growth chart" within another month. She also wanted to ensure that I was making absolutely enough milk and pumping with great frequency. Once again, I felt as though my maternal instincts were being called into question. If my babies are healthy and their weight gain is consistent and tracking well, why doubt the mother? My breastfed daughter is now a strong ten year old! These are little human beings, not the latest technology to go to market, so why should conforming to a growth chart matter?

What about you? Have you been pressured by your doctors unnecessarily to satisfy a statistic?

Comments

Posted by Name withheld, a resident of ,
on Oct 10, 2013 at 10:45 pm

I think the medical establishment is far too freaked out over newborn weight gain. I was also encouraged to supplement my full term home-birthed baby. Can you imagine you are actually supposed to weigh a baby before and after a feeding to see how many ounces of milk you fed him or her? It\\\'s a bit extreme. I downright refused to supplement and even got breast milk from other mothers for a few weeks! I just think in most cases, a mothers body will adjust to "make enough milk". I was so paranoid that I didn\\\'t have enough that it caused more stress. Well guess what? My body still makes breast milk and I have only one kid and she is eight.


Posted by DairyFresh, a resident of ,
on Oct 11, 2013 at 12:54 am

> Chances are I wrote these blog posts while hooked up to a breast pump.

Too much information.


Posted by heck yeah!, a resident of Atherton: West Atherton,
on Oct 12, 2013 at 6:06 pm

Got pressured by our ped when our son lost weight. We noticed he had been weighed on different scales in different examination rooms. Are they calibrated we asked? Uh.. no. Then let's take our son and weigh him on a few scales and see. Uh... OK. Voila! Different weights on different scales! Still the pressure to do something. How about we come back tomorrow and see if he is reaching a critical low weight? Uh... OK. voila! Just fine the next day when we insisted on using the same scale as the day before. Whatever.


Posted by Jessica T, a Mountain View Online blogger,
on Oct 13, 2013 at 10:27 am

Jessica T is a registered user.

Good for you for asking additional questions and reaching an agreement with your pediatrician that everyone could be satisfied with!


Posted by Jessica T, a Mountain View Online blogger,
on Oct 15, 2013 at 9:03 am

Jessica T is a registered user.

And as I've mentioned on some other posts, I'm going to be sharing more information (not less). I'm not ashamed of breastfeeding, and I don't think anyone should be. If my style isn't your cup of tea, please check out the other talented bloggers on the site.


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