A blog about babies: the babies I lost, the babies I never had, the baby who made me a Mama.

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Weighed and Found Wanting?; or, 6 Months!

I haven't written much about breastfeeding for a couple reasons, primarily because it's gone pretty well, so it didn't seem like a very interesting topic for discussion. A series of posts detailing the ways breastfeeding was a success for me just didn't seem like must-read blogging. So here we are, six months into this whole mommyhood thing and this is my first real feeding post.

I feel very lucky--particularly after reading so many reports of how differently it could have gone--that Smudgie and I had such an easy time of it. No real pain beyond those first two weeks or so, no supply issues, a great latch right from the beginning. We had pretty much the dream breastfeeding relationship. Smudgie was exclusively breastfed up until we started solids this week. And while I choose not to talk about or write about it much (partially because I realize how lucky we are and don't want to seem smug), I feel damn proud of myself. Middle-of-the-night feedings, constant nursing, pumping when away, and wearing only easily accessible outfits for the last six months--I've done it all to sustain him in the way that feels healthiest and the most right to me.

This past week, though, Smudgie had his six week checkup and we got an (mildly) unpleasant surprise. He's always been a teeny little dude, but his weight gain curve is leveling a bit and he dropped from the 5th percentile to the 3rd for weight (he's more for length and head circumference). His doctor did not suggest that this was due to breastfeeding, that it's a sign of anything wrong, or that I need to switch to formula. She encouraged us to begin solids feedings right away (which we have) and to bring him in for a weight check in a month or so and see where we are then.

But I can't help feeling guilty. Have I doomed my son to shrimpitude thanks to my egotistical desire to solely breastfeed? Is he truly healthy? Rationally I know the answers to these questions, but it's hard not to feel like I'm failing him when I learn that he's so tiny.

Despite his small size (he can still wear some of his 3 month clothes), Smudgie is doing great in all other respects:

- Smudgie rolls eagerly in both directions. He now flips instantly to his belly as soon as I lay him in the crib, and seems to sleep better that way.

- He smiles, squeals, giggles, grins, and belly laughs at new faces, familiar friends, and all our little games.

- He naps about 4 hours a day in his crib (over two or thee naps) and wakes once in the night (over a 12 hour period) to nurse. Incidentally, I am so glad I continued with that feeding, despite reading that he didn't need it any more and I could drop it without a problem. His pedi confirmed that with his weight being so low, continuing the night time feeds makes sense. Score one for mom's intuition!

- He looooooves to stand and can hold himself up like that with no external support save his own grip on my fingers (and quite a grip he has).

- He plays attentively with favorite toys, observing them from multiple angles, dropping them, moving them around, passing them between hands, and (of course) sticking them in his mouth.

- He recognizes Bella! He smiles ear to ear when he sees her and is quite fond of grabbing her beard fur (we're working on this one).

- He's a big fan of books, following my finger on the words, examining the pictures with rapt attention, and trying to stick them in his mouth.

- He's all about his exersaucer--his little legs kick and flail crazily as he plays with the toys.

- He loves music, whether it's me singing him show tunes while I change him or the classical music station on the radio or the first sing-along I brought him to (he shrieked happily at the musicians the whole time).

- Smudgie responds to his name now and loves playing imitative sound games (repeating ba-ba-ba back and forth to each other and so on) and peekabo.

- He also loves his bath time. He starts kicking his legs emphatically before he's lowered in the water. Once he's in there, he's all about splashing, chewing on the washcloth or his bath toys, and smiling at mommy and daddy. He doesn't mind at all when he gets water in his face. He can be about ready to scream with hunger, but show him the bathtub and he's all smiles.

- He's started noticing other babies, smiling at them in church or at our playgroup. He's still a massive flirt, as well, giving coy smiles to women (while basically ignoring all men except his daddy).

Smudgie still has his challenging days here and there. But overall, he is a delight--the cutest, sweetest, silliest, most fun, most wonderful little person I can imagine. Gosh, I am so lucky to have him!


  1. What a cutie! I love watching babies play with toys when they don't realize you're watching them and they're just intent on figuring something out. So funny.

  2. such a cutie!!! Smudgie seems like a content, healthy lil guy from all you've said. It sounds like your ped is supportive and smart, and I hope the he takes to solids well. Good luck mama! You're doing great.

  3. So cute! I love this post. So much to look forward to! And I'm sure the weight-gain situation will turn out just fine. Maybe Smudgeroo just has a track star physique--there are worse things! Seriously, though, I'm sure you were absolutely doing the right thing exclusively breastfeeding until now. I'm delighted to hear that it's gone so smoothly!

  4. He's incredibly cute, and sounds super charismatic as well. He also looks quite chubby and healthy, so I can understand why your doctor isn't concerned (yay for a good pediatrician!). I can totally understand your feelings (of self doubt), but you ARE and have been doing the right thing!

  5. He is a charmer and adorable. I'm sorry about the weight gain issue. I suspect that he will both chunk up and shoot up like a tree in good time.

    I can say with 100% certainty that I'd stop and flirt with that handsome face, too. I love the picture here!

  6. I am so excited to finally meet that sweet little peanut in a few days:)

  7. So stinkin cute!! I'd flirt, too! Maybe he's just gonna be a little guy! Sounds like he's doing amazing!

  8. http://kellymom.com/health/growth/growthcharts/

    Have you seen this chart?

    Also, such an adorable little boy. :)

  9. He's such a cutie!

    And, truly, he sounds like a healthy, happy little man. And, that's what matters.

  10. Nice job!. I was going to say the same thing as Josey. Make sure you look at the World Health Organization growth charts for breast fed babies. They are smaller. I just this week attended a presentation on breastfeeding at a public health conference and learned a few new things. (I actually know a lot). A few items of interest. 1. additional antibodies are made when babies start crawling. 2. BM acts like teflon on the intestine keeping bugs out. 3. 2nd year Breastmilk is fattier. 4. formula babies have to drink more to get same nutrition as breastmilk that is why they are chubby.

  11. You're not alone here. At his 9 month appt. S dropped from 15% to 4% in weight. The doctor was not concerned. The rest of his development is right on track. But it is hard not to be hard on myself. I've been upping his food intake from tasting and playing to actual 3 meals a day. It sounds like Smudgie is doing great.

  12. Mother's intuition rocks! I'm glad you kept up with the middle-of-the-night feeding for Smudgie since that's what works best for you and him. And not that you sound like you're worrying about his size, but it looks like your pedi is great and knows just what you should be doing. I think everything sounds awesome with Smudgie. And kudos to you for BFing exclusively! I totally didn't make enough milk to do that :). His pic btw is adorable :).

  13. I had a similar situation. My son fell off the growth charts-but, because he was reaching all of his developmental milestones, the doctor was not worried at all. This was around 1, he didn't really start eating solids (even though we tried) until about 1. He is still very tiny, around 2 he was still wearing size 12 carters onesies. He's super active, happy, ahead developmentally...nothing to worry about at this point!

  14. I'm sure you remember, we were in the EXACT same position. At 4 months, Liam was 11lbs (Jack was 11lbs at 2 months)-- MANY EBF babies are smaller than formula fed babies. As you mentioned, what's important is that he's hitting his milestones & it sounds like he's just perfect.

    We started supplementing around 4 months, then switched exclusively to formula at 6 months with Liam. With Jack, we FF and BF from the beginning, then switched to FF exclusively around 4 months.

    The boys can share clothes-- both of them can wear 6-12 month sized pajamas. I think Liam's always going to be tall & thin and Jack will be tall & average weight!

    Smudgie is so unbelievably handsome!! So happy to see a pic!!

  15. Not that I'm an expert or anything, but I wouldn't worry so much about Smudgie's weight. Sounds like he's hitting his developmental milestones like an old pro, and I'm imagine the difference between 5th percentile and 3rd percentile is only a matter of ounces.

    I know I say this all the time, but seriously, Smudgie's smile warms the cockles of my heart.

  16. I love that photo. And I love the fact that Smudgie, right from the start, has had his own specific expressions...(I think the same about O). It's clear that he has a boatload of personality.

    Sorry for the weight news at the checkup. I agree with other posters, though. My sister-in-law, who is downright wise about such things, always says: it all comes out in the wash. And it does. These things tend not to mean much in the longterm.

    (My brother was a smaller-than-average baby and grew into a 6'4" behemoth).