I just returned from our visit with the pediatric gastroenterologist to try to find out why Avery isn’t gaining enough weight. I was hoping to leave this visit with clear answers and feeling better about everything, but unfortunately that is not the case.
The hour that we spent with the doctor was filled with questions about Avery’s diet, including our breastfeeding routine. I’ve mentioned before that we are struggling with breastfeeding because Avery is so active and can’t sit still for more than two minutes when nursing. Because of this, my supply has decreased and Avery isn’t getting the proper amount of breast milk that she needs to within a day. Because of the lack of milk, the doctor thinks that this might be one of the real reason that she isn’t gaining the amount of weight that she needs.
I honestly feel that I have failed Avery. How could I have not known that she isn’t getting enough breast milk? I knew that she wasn’t getting quite as much as she had before she starting crawling, but I didn’t know it was going to make that much of an impact on her weight. She eats really well during her solid meals and I’ve been trying to nurse more frequently so that she gets more of my breastmilk. But it’s just not enough.
The doctor also mentioned that he thinks that she has a vitamin deficiency. We will need further blood tests to confirm. As well as other blood tests to rule out anything else. Due to the lack of breast milk (which contains a vital amount of vitamins she needs) and the fact that she wasn’t eating any baby cereal (which I skipped) he believes that it is having an impact on her lack of weight gain.
So where do we go from here? The doctor wants me to exclusively pump from now on to make sure that she is getting at least 20 ounces of breast milk a day. He said that he is sure she is getting enough solid foods, but that should never replace the nutrients from breast milk. If I can’t pump as much as she needs, then we will have to supplement with formula.
The good news is that I do have a stash in my freezer so I can start feeding that to her now, but I know that I don’t express as much milk as she needs. That is what worries me. I am now doing anything that I can to increase my supply of breast milk. I am determined to get my supply back up.
Even with all of this plan that the doctor has me implementing, I still feel anxious and upset about the appointment. Honestly I felt so small walking out of that doctors office. I felt as if I was being looked down upon because I wasn’t doing enough or not doing the right thing for Avery. I felt that I was being looked at as if I was depriving my daughter of food which was leaving her malnourished.
We go back in four weeks for a check-up and I am going to try to get her in for blood work next week so that we can have those results as soon as possible. I do know that just with my efforts within the last week (making sure that she is getting nutritious fatty foods and trying to nurse her without distractions) she has gained almost a half a pound!
I will keep you updated as our journey continues.
*Writers Note: Just wanted to clarify after seeing some of the comments. I am not anti-formula. I used it with Harlan when I went back to work. I just want to know that I’ve exhausted all of my options when it comes to breastfeeding before I make the switch to formula.*
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