Tuesday, June 20, 2006

They Want To Make My Baby Fat!

When Little Abbey was born, she weighed 6 lbs 11 oz and was eventually officially declared 3.5 weeks premature. I don't have any idea how they can tell that but that is what they wrote. When she left the hospital, they weighed her and she weighted 6 lbs 14 oz, which really surprised the doctors since most babies actually lose weight in the first week of life. Ours had instead packed it on.

So last Tuesday when we had our first follow-up appointment post discharge with the lactation nurse, Little Abbey weighed in 20 grams (about 2/3 of an ounce) less. The nurse was all concerned that the baby wasn't getting enough to eat despite the fact that Little Abbey looked happy and was an extremely contented baby. Little Abbey wakes up on average about once every three hours and we feed her until she falls off the nipple and drifts off into sleep. I figured that it was just calibration differences since the weight was on a different scale in a different building and the nurse admitted it could be but went off about how we need to feed Little Abbey more. She told us to feed her on demand for the next two days and come back again last Thursday.

Well we tried feeding Little Abbey on demand but she still only demanded to be fed every three hours almost like clockwork. We tried to keep her awake longer so that she would nurse longer but were rarely successful. In the end, we maybe lengthened her nurse time by on average a couple minutes but that was it.

We took her in on Thursday and put her on the scale that showed that she had gained 30 grams. Finally they have no room to complain about our feeding of Little Abbey we thought because she had in fact gained 30 grams (or a little over an ounce) in two days. But after much shaking of her head, the lactation nurse said she expected 30 grams a day. Now we have to go in again this afternoon for yet another weigh-in and a full physical checkup by the pediatrician. I'm beginning to think they won't be happy unless she is trying out for baby sumo wrestling.

My wife is petite. Her whole family is on the small side compared to us American giants. Isn't it possible that they just don't grow as fast as us obese Americans? Wouldn't they just crowd themselves off of their island? Wasn't it Darwin who said animals grow according to their environment? Anyway, my wife's taking this harder than me since to her it makes her seem like a bad mother not producing enough milk. To me, I see a healthy baby who just doesn't measure up to the nurse's expectations as to what the average full term American baby should be growing. Little Abbey looks cherubic and content and for me, that is all that matters.

[Author's note: Little Abbey tipped the scales at 7 lbs 3 oz for a 35 gram daily weight gain at yesterday's checkup. The doctor was finally happy.]

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