Thursday, October 10, 2013

Still so Tiny



I’m a mess of emotions as I write this. Overwhelmed, worried, tired....more that I can’t think of the names of (see the third emotion).

For weeks now, Diddy has been breastfeeding pretty constantly. Out of each 24-hour period, maybe 6 of them have been spent without a baby attached to my breast. I’ve told myself that this was OK, because I was giving her the very best start in life. Visits to the Maternal and Child Health nurse were showing she wasn’t putting on much weight, but I figured any gain was good, and kept on keeping on. I was expressing and topping up occasionally, but mostly to relieve blocked ducts.

Yesterday morning, we had a 7-week weight checkup which showed my beautiful girl has gone two weeks without any weight gain at all. She’s growing tall, but not fat. As of Wednesday, she’s only 230grams over her birth weight. Not good at all, I’m totally aware.

For weeks, people have been looking at her and going ‘she’s still so tiny!’ and I’ve told myself that it was ok, sometimes breastfed babies are small. But everytime someone says it, it’s niggled at me and later on I’ve been teary about it.

Turns out, a massive dose of oral thrush has hit my poor baby, making it painful for her to suck and affecting her little body so much. It’s been 3 weeks since I noticed the white around her mouth, but I was sure it was just milky residue on the skin. No-one else was telling me to be concerned, so it was OK, right? Apparently not. She’s got blisters around her beautiful lips, and her ineffective sucking hasn’t been getting all the good stuff out of me.

Did you hear that? Pretty sure my heart breaking was audible around the world.

Yesterday, the tears fell all day. I felt inadequate. I’d been starving my baby and her sweet, content nature and my demand-feeding philosophy meant I’d been missing it for weeks. It was time to put a plan in place. Now, I’m breastfeeding, followed by a bottleful of expressed milk. Once a day, if needed, I’ll give her a formula feed, just to make sure her tummy stays nice and full. I’ve been avoiding formula, but last night when Husbeast gave her the bottle, she was ‘milk drunk’ for the first time in weeks. She was so content and satisfied, and I can’t deny my baby that happiness, especially not when she’s still getting all the good stuff I have to offer.

I’ve started treating the hideous thrush, I’m pumping after every feed (surely the Medela Swing is a gift from some higher entity? AMAZING) and I’m making sure my baby is full, happy and on the way to recovering from a crappy few weeks. It breaks my heart that it took me so long to realise something was wrong.

Yesterday, I was forced to admit something was wrong with me, too. Not just sleep deprivation (though that’s sure as hell not helping), not hormones and not my run-of-the-mill anxiety. Yesterday I admitted out loud that this time around I’ve been hit with Post-Natal Depression. 

I’m scared, I’m sad, I’m angry and I’m exhausted. But mostly I’m relieved to finally know what’s going on with my baby, why she’s ‘still so tiny’ and be working to fix it. I’m relieved to have admitted something serious is up and be taking steps to fix it. I’m glad I got there before I did something to hurt myself or either of my precious babies. And I’m glad that, even though she’s skinny, my tiny baby is still developing. She smiles now, and no matter how crappy I feel, when she hits me with that huge, gummy grin, I know I’m doing something right.

2 comments:

  1. Well done for seeking help and now doing whatever it takes. My little boy refused to breast feed after a few weeks and the guilt I felt was so overwhelming. But he would drink expressed from a bottle or formula and was happy and healthy. Hope you all are feeling better soon xx

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  2. Oh that sucks so bad. I had feeding challenges with #1, he also wasn't gaining weight. Long story but he went on the bottle at 4 months and we never looked back. I felt so bad that I didn't know. Breastfeeding went a bit better with #2. But guess what I was diagnosed with PND when she was 2 - reckon I had it the whole time!

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