Thursday, March 29, 2012

Le petite

Belle officially weighs 8lbs, 7.5oz, up five ounces from last Friday. Aside from being born just shy of thirty-five weeks (A full term pregnancy lasts about forty weeks), Belle is proving herself a slow gainer. She lost almost an entire pound in the weeks after birth and didn't return to her birth weight until her sixth week of life (Many babies are back to birth weight by week two). This concerned her original doctor, who insisted I supplement breastfeeding with formula. He didn't say how to do this, however. When the couple of bottles I gave infrequently didn't plump the baby up, the doctor ordered Belle into the hospital, where a battery of tests were given. Those tests all came back negative for abnormalities or malignancies.

Belle took up to twenty-four ounces of formula per day for a good month after that. She went from 5lbs, 3 oz (January 20, 2012) to 7lbs, 10oz (February 24, 2012). Belle slowly weened herself from formula after this by nursing until she either fell asleep or drifted into quiet, contented alertness. She maintained her weight on breast milk alone for most of March, only picking up eight ounces before last Friday's appointment. Her new doctor suggested I give Belle at least a bottle of formula per day just to ensure she is getting enough calories. Breastfeeding on demand, plus five extra ounces [of formula] a day for three days, helped Belle gain five ounces between last Friday and today, Thursday.

I wasted half a bottle of "ready to feed" formula in this process. I am reluctant to open even an 8 oz canister of powdered formula because that defeats the goal of exclusive breastfeeding. Also, the canister puts pressure on me to clean bottles, measure and mix formula for an entire month's commitment. I would rather express milk for Belle with a breast pump than use additional formula, especially after last night. Belle took her last bottle of formula after breast feeding and then politely pooped runny stools. The poop stained her tunic and my bedding, down to the mattress pad. I fell asleep doing the laundry.

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