Euphoria’s Blog for Green Mamas

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“Failure to Thrive” January 15, 2009

Filed under: Breastfeeding — Rachel @ 2:38 pm
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Pediatricians.  Ugh… sometimes they can be just awful.  Like, when they throw the “failure to thrive” statement at you and suggest supplementing with formula because your 5 month old baby only gained 1 ounce the past month.  A dear friend of mind just came home teary-eyed from just such an appointment, and asked me for advice.  Here is what I wrote:

“No matter how you feel when at the doctor’s, remember that you know your daughter better and love her more than anyone else.  You are educated and can figure out what’s best for her.  Go with your gut… 

As to only gaining an ounce in a month, I will speak my mind here.  So what?  Babies do NOT grow in a perfect curve like the graph at the doctor’s office.  They’ll grow a lot and then stop for months.  A baby can be tiny all through infancy (like Aria, they were always worried about her being too small) and then become “standard” size in preschool years (like Aria has).  I say, DON’T LET THEM SCARE YOU!  It sounds like your gut tells you that you should let her nurse as long as she wants.  This is a good idea.  Now that your nipples are broken in, it shouldn’t bother you too much.  Yes, getting an herbal tea like this: http://www.euphoriamaternity.com/na-em-milkmaidtea.html may help, and won’t hurt.  Also, make sure you’re getting enough rest, drinking tons of water and eating lots of nutritious food and even healthy fats (nuts, meat, beans, veggies).  Your emotional perspective on this can make a big difference.  Try to be positive and confident that you MADE her with your body and you can sustain her too. 

As your gut is telling you, don’t supplement.  It’s only a temporary fix and will lead to weaning earlier than you want.  I truly believe that slightly less breastmilk  is better than going more and more to formula, which almost always happens when people supplement.  If you hold on and do what only you can do (breastfeed) your body will ramp up milk production, if that’s what she needs.  She’ll gain when she’s ready. 

“Failure to Thrive” is a ridiculous term for your daughter’s situation.  They don’t know how much she SHOULD grow in a month, they’re only making a statement based on averages.  I know that you’re feeding her, cuddling her, singing to her, wrapping her, smiling at her, carrying her, talking to her – these are things that make a baby thrive.  She IS thriving, because you love her.”

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One Response to ““Failure to Thrive””

  1. mymilkspilt Says:

    So true. I think that really is the worst terminology someone can use to describe a baby’s growth. So demoralising. It conjures images of neglect when what a breastfeeding mother is doing must surely be the opposite of neglect! Too many health professionals suggest comp-feeding without telling women of the consequences to their breastfeeding relationship. It makes me cross!


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