In July, Charlie weighed 13 lbs, 8 oz. At the end of the month we took him on a 2 day trip to Northern California to visit family. Larry and I had a wedding to attend near their house. I knew about this wedding since before he was born and had been prepping for it since his birth. We all know I had a crappy milk supply, but that did not stop me from pumping enough milk to freeze and store in preparation for this weekend.
It took me 4 months, but I was able to store 60 ounces of breast milk. That may not seem like a lot to a person with a “normal” milk supply, but for me that was a HUGE accomplishment. I knew I needed 30 ounces of breast milk a day for Charlie and that we would be away from him for 2 days. On average, I pumped about 3 ounces in 20 minutes. It took 4 months and 6.6 hours of total pump time to make my goal.
Our plan was to leave Charlie with my in-laws. They knew to give him a 6 ounce bottle, 5 times a day. The greatest thing about bottle feeding is that you know exactly how much milk that are taking in. We knew that while we were gone, Charlie had his full daily allotment of milk.
While we were away from Charlie I pumped like a mad woman. Unfortunately, it did not do me any good. The pump wasn’t able to keep up with my demand. I was basically engorged, lumpy and in severe pain for the full 48 hours that we were gone. I was so happy to see him on Sunday afternoon both because I missed him and also because I needed him to empty out my overstuffed chest. His sucking was so much more efficient than the pump.
We flew home on Monday morning. On Tuesday I went to my mommy and me group at A Mother’s Haven. We have been attending this class since Charlie was 8 weeks old. A Mother’s Haven is a beautiful, boutique store that offers education, support and product to new moms and moms to be. They also rent pumps and scales.
Every week after class I weighed Charlie. Every week I was at least satisfied with the results. Not this time.
Last week Charlie weighed 13 lbs, 8 oz. One week later he had dropped 5 ounces. That may seem like nothing, but for a baby that is a lot of weight. At that point I rented a scale so that we could keep daily track of Charlie’s intake and weight gain.
On August 6 we went to the doctor. At the office he weighed in at 13 lbs, 1 ounce. In two weeks he dropped a total of 7 ounces! Something wasn’t right. I expressed my concern to the doctor. He said to come back in 2 weeks.
Larry and I tracked Charlie’s weight to a degree of obsession. It really wasn’t healthy. We probably weighed him 3 – 4 times a day. We knew that he was not gaining weight and we were scared. On Aug 18 we brought him back to the doctor. When they weighed him he was 13 bs, 2 ounces. He only gained 1 ounce in 2 weeks. That’s no good.
I continued to breast feed Charlie for another month and for another month he barely gained any weight. By the time his 6 month birthday rolled around I knew it was time for me to stop breast-feeding. He was no longer benefiting. In fact, it was just the opposite he was failing to thrive.
Our search for the perfect formula needs a post of its own, but I will say that once we found it Charlie really started bulking up. Today we took him to the Dr. for his check up and he was 15 lbs, 9 oz. In two months he gained over 2 pounds!