In my Drafts folder, I have had notes for a blog post that I wanted to write about breastfeeding. The draft has been sitting there for about seven weeks now. The notes that I wrote in it were about how breastfeeding seemed to be established after our initial struggles and that we had it sorted now.
Now the breastfeeding rug has been pulled out from under my feet. Baby E is now taking two bottles of formula a day and is likely to increase that to three in the next day or so.
When I took him to the BVC (the baby and child department at the doctors’ surgery) this week for his injections, the nurse weighed him again as two weeks ago, when he was last weighed, he had dropped down to two lines below the curve. In the past week or so he had been extending his feeds to 35-40 minutes, but the day before his feeds had dropped right back to just 15-20 minutes. I was really hoping that this was a sign that he had upped his weight in the previous week and now was getting back on track. However, he had dropped a little further down on the chart and she said that could now see on him just by looking that he was underweight. Not words that any mamma wants to hear.
She recommended either breastfeeding him more each day or to give him formula for some feeds instead. She did not say it directly, but she was certainly leaning towards the second option and even gave me a large tub of formula powder for babies with a milk allergy.
I left there with very mixed emotions. I have not ever really loved or enjoyed breastfeeding that much, but I feel sad that it is coming to an end, simply because this time I have fought so hard to keep going with it. On the other hand, I just don’t love it enough to fight hard for three more months of breastfeeding Baby E when we are under so much stress at the moment. In fact, Husband and I believe that it is most likely this stress that has contributed to this problem. Since Baby E has been born, we have been travelling frequently down to southern Sweden to spend time with Husband’s sick father, we have bought an apartment, we have packed up numerous boxes of our possessions, tidied and cleaned our apartment into a minimalist white box, put the apartment on the market; and we have very recently made a last-minute trip down to Skåne to say goodbye to my father-in-law, then travelled back down for his funeral, and finally this week been through a real estate trauma. All this while juggling life with a toddler and a newborn. I guess my stress level might have been a little higher than usual.
But still, I cannot help but feel to blame for Baby E being so underweight. Shouldn’t I have noticed this before? What about a mamma’s intuition? He has not been crying out for more food, he has not had problems sleeping, he has not seemed short of any of the developmental milestones. The only sign that he is underweight has been his weight when measured by the nurse. Yes, he is small but then both boys were smaller than the Swedish average when born and both have so far remained smaller the average. However, now that we compare Baby E at three months with how much Little O weighed at the same age, we can see there is almost a one kilo difference.
So, my goal now is fatten up my poor little boy, and if that means formula, so be it. It certainly has done his big brother no harm.