Friday, February 15, 2013

Blech.. Not really a 9 month update

I don't feel like writing an official 9 month update. Thursday was the buddy's 9-month check-up and the Doctor freaked me out. He's always been a little guy, but his weight was below his regular growth curve and not only was I very disappointed in his slow growth, but the Doctor seemed more concerned than I ever would have anticipated. :/

She mentioned "failure to thrive" and said they recently admitted a baby to the hospital that was too far below his growth curve and they didn't want to do that with the buddy.. Also, she asked me A BUNCH of questions that implied that I wasn't doing what's best for him. Questions asked with a twinge of judgement. (I'm sure you know what I mean.) My response = WHAT?! I hang out with this baby every day and if there's ONE thing he's doing, it's thriving. However, when a doctor says that to you it pretty much sounds like this-

"You're failing him. What are you doing wrong?"

So, I've spent a lot of time crying the past 36 hours. I know it sounds over-dramatic. But, the doctor didn't say things like, "well, he's hitting all his developmental benchmarks and he looks healthy and strong, but let's try to get more calories into him." It was more like, "I think you need to add cereal to his nighttime bottle because he needs calories of any kind" and "what are you feeding him and when?" and "oh my goodness! you've offered him water! You need to put cereal in all his meals!"

Ick. I don't know if I've shared much about our views on nutrition, but I'm definitely not interested in putting cereal in the buddy's nighttime bottle. We've actually been avoiding grains during this first year as we believe that fruits, vegetables, meat and dairy are more nutrient dense and we don't want to feed the buddy empty calories. I'm pretty sure I mentioned that we're trying to follow the Weston A Price model. http://www.westonaprice.org/childrens-health/nourishing-a-growing-baby

Sadly though, the buddy vomits when having eggs, which is pretty much their staple first food. :/ So, he's been missing out on those protein and fat-filled calories for the better part of 4 months. And I DO feel very, very guilty about not replacing those calories with other high-calorie and nutrient-dense foods, like avocado, pasteurized butter, broths and varied meats (including liver- a HUGE Weston A Price staple). I was in the process of adding these things in slowly to his diet, but hadn't been moving fast enough. A big part of this problem is the fact that I'm a working mom and also I haven't had the motivation to make much baby food for him yet. :/

But, I'm sure motivated now! We tried to add oatmeal into his fruit this morning, but he wouldn't take it AT ALL. This led to a crying mommy AND baby at the high chair. Not such a good start to adding calories. :/ And he usually eats his breakfast fruits and yogurt very, very well. :-( This led me to ask others in my life and even calling the pediatrician back for more specific advice. Sadly to say most of the advice just sounded wrong in my "mommy gut." Not that I'm always right, but when you do a lot of research on something and feel it's the best for your baby shouldn't you stick to it? It's that what our "mommy gut" is for?

Anyway, we've been seriously motivated to find a new family doctor & pediatrician. Someone who is more natural that the one we're currently seeing and who has a different perspective on health that what the FDA proposes (I've felt icky about the FDA since my health minor in college). And who recommends natural supplementation (like Cod Liver Oil) over prescriptions, especially for babies. And who will explain vaccines to us better and will listen to our concerns about giving the buddy the full vaccine panel. Can't I please have a pediatrician like that!?

Unfortunately, we currently have the worst health insurance ever (seriously, the worst) and so we've been taking the buddy to the sliding scale doctor's office in town, but we've decided we just can't do that anymore. Even if we have to pay out of pocket for doctor's visits, his vaccines, etc. we want to go somewhere we are heard and respected and not belittled. I seriously do A LOT of research on what we believe is best for our son and I want to be listened to and to be giving suggestions that I feel comfortable with and not treated like an idiot (even if I'm wrong, I'd like to think I'm not dumb).

Unfortunately, we found the perfectly, highly-rated and highly-recommended family practice and they aren't accepting new patients. :-/ So, I will call them every month until they ARE taking new clients or at least until they are tired of me calling. :-) Someone told me she got in by begging, but I'm not so good at that. I wonder if I could get in by crying? ;-)

We go back for another weight check in 2 weeks. Until then we DO have a plan. One that I feel good about. If it doesn't work and he doesn't gain weight, then I will (maybe) give in and do what the Dr. tells me to do. I just can't reconcile my mind to give my baby empty calories instead of nutrient-dense ones. So, for 2 weeks the buddy will be getting lots of butter, cheese, avocados (if he will take them, he hasn't loved them yet), coconut oil, baby food with the highest calories, liver, and we'll keep trying with the cereal at mealtime to see if he will take it.

You may agree or disagree with me. It's ok. You can let me know in the comments too. With Dave and my own food I pay close attention to the ingredients, and NOT the calories. We also judge our health by how comfortable and confident we feel, NOT by the scale. So, I really, really want to instill that in the buddy as well. I don't want meal time to be stressful for him (or us) and I don't want him to feel pressure that he HAS to eat. I want him to enjoy food and eating. So, I really want that to be the main goal, not getting him onto a particular curve with other babies that are given mostly formula. :/ Can that be the goal? Can I find a Doctor for whom that's the goal? Sigh...

I read this on a blog about pretty much the same thing yesterday, so I will quote her. "If you need us, [the buddy] and I will be drowning our anxieties in yogurt and cheese."

12 comments:

  1. Sorry to hear about this struggle. I had a hard time finding a VET for Oscar, so I can imagine how much more vital it would seem to get just the right doctor for your son. I wonder, though, if at the very least, the little "kick in the pants" about making the baby food is going to be just what you needed. Anyway, I'm praying for you guys.

    Also? Your husband is right. I don't pity-nominate. :)

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    1. Thanks Jenn! YES! It's stressful finding a health professional that we agree with! Even for ourselves! We try to do things the more natural way, which is NOT the Western Medicine way!

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  2. My boys' pediatrician made similar statements when baby E was about 9mon. Check out the WHO growth chart. After looking at it, I could see that E was not only not "too small" (i.e. 5-10th % for his age) he was closer to the 50th%. The CDC's chart, which pediatricians in the US use (most of them at leat) is based only on US babies who are forumla fed. The WHO one is based on babies across the world, most of whom are breastmilk fed. Additionally, bm (and even formula) have much higher caloric content that any baby food. So recommending you increase cereal intake is just plain ignorant (not to mention all the other issues that can come with feeding infant ceral - but that's a different soapbox I'll choose not to get on today). If YOU'RE concerned , I'd encourage you to talk with a nutritionist who has lots of experience with infants. Not a pediatrician who - honestly - is by no means an expert in infant nutrition. That said, if the buddy is meeting milestones, continues to grow and is happy, screw the MD. And that's the nicest way I can say that ;) You are mama and know your baby best! ((hugs)) I know it's tressful!

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    1. Thanks Becky! I did discover the WHO chart and he's a LOT closer on there! He's only off the 3rd percentile (where's he's been since 1 or 2 months) by ONE ounce! I just wrote a blot about it. Thanks for the encouragement! Aarg! Why don't doctors respect the breastmilk!?

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    2. Lol - I think it's that they're simply ignorant about it, to be honest. MD's for the most part know nothing about breastfeeding. And, IMO, know not a whole lot more about infant nutrition.

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  3. You guys are doing great and don't doubt yourselves! Babies are individuals and can't be defined by generic growth curves. They can be a helpful tool but it sounds like your doctor took it too far in this case. You know your baby and how he's eating better than anyone. Noelle's doctor made us fill out developmental screenings before each appointment, and Noelle failed them until she was two years old. I was very anxious about this and it wasn't healthy for me or my baby. In hindsight, I wish I would have relaxed about it because she is totally normal and just developed certain skills at a different rate. Weight is no different. I mean, good thing they didn't do growth curves for breasts or I'd still be failing miserably, for CRYING OUT LOUD :-)

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    1. HAHA! :-) I know... it seems like pediatricians are trained to stress out parents! I can't handle it! :( And Noaelle is healthy and precious as can be. :-)

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  4. I have always heard that if you don't trust your pediatrician it's time to find a new pediatrician so I applaud you on that step! I also think you need to trust your gut, and I'm glad you have. It's sad to say but often times I think those serving a population that can't afford as much often get lackluster service, and I wonder if that's what you're getting here. I am so sure there are nutrient AND caloric foods out there good for the buddy. ((hugs))

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    1. That's SO true! We tend to be pretty "renegade" in our health decisions, so it's hard to find a pediatrician with the same thoughts! But, apparently we're not the only ones since no one can ever get into the practice we want to be in. :-)

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  5. Yuck, what an awful experience for you! This is just another example of how incredibly myopic and flawed western medicine can be. I know I haven't seen the Buddy lately, but to even insinuate that anything alarming is happening with his growth just seems irrational. From what I've read about the Weston Price model, it is far more biologically sound than the empty calorie model most pediatricians push on moms. We've been using pure coconut milk (the kind in a can or bottle, not the kind they sell next to the soy milk/milk alternatives) in many things, which has tons of good fat and is slightly sweet, although it is a little expensive, and we love it. I'm sorry that you had to have such a stressful experience!

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  6. Aw... thanks Robyn! Coconut oil is a good idea! We're pretty much sticking to breastmilk and formula as liquids for now for all the calories, but I'll have to remember that!

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  7. Here's what Mary Anne's first pediatrician said to me at MA's three-month check-up: I said, "I really want to lose weight, but I know that toxins are stored in fat. If I lose weight, will toxins get into the breastmilk?" His answer was, "Don't worry your pretty little head about such things." We didn't stay long.

    Doctors who listen and think and explain their thinking are worth their weight in gold!

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