I’m very happy to share that Joshua is a great eater. He loves to nurse, and it’s been relatively easy for us. That said, the first few days were tough, compounded by the stress of repeat pediatrician visits. Joshua weighed 9 lbs. 8 oz. at birth. Naturally, he lost weight in the beginning. At 3 days old, we went to his first pediatrician visit, and Joshua had lost weight. They required us to go back at 4 days old, and then again at 5 days. My milk came in when he was 4 days old, and so on day 5 he had gained weight. However, the doctors wanted to continue the precautionary weighing, and so at 7 days old, we went back to confirm that was on the upswing with weight gain.
Going back to the doctor’s office 4 out of our first 5 days at home was stressful. The last thing I wanted to do was get dressed to leave the house and strap my baby into the car seat he hates. Instead of following our own instincts and allowing Joshua to nurse on demand, when he was hungry, the doctor advised me to nurse him every two hours. This meant waking him up and force-feeding him when he wasn’t hungry. He’d doze off, and I’d frantically try to wake him by tickling his feet or taking off his warm clothes. I sent my mom to the store to pick up a breast pump while I tearfully supplemented with formula (1 oz. after every other feeding) as advised by the doctor. I began pumping, trying to bring up my milk supply so I could use that instead of formula.
Throughout these stressful days, I was never concerned that my baby was starving. Yes, his weight had dropped down to 8 lbs. 10 oz., but that’s still pretty big for a newborn. My fear was that, if he didn’t gain weight, we’d have to continue going to the doctor. So the force-feeding continued until day 7, when the doctor told us we didn’t have to come back until he was 2 weeks old. All the pumping (suggested by the pediatrician but deemed unnecessary by the lactation consultant) resulted in days of engorgement and leaking. However, I refused to let all of those outside influences discourage me from nursing my son.
After day 7, we went back to nursing on demand. This meant that Joshua sometimes nursed every hour, sometimes every 3 hours. I refused to time how long he ate for or count how many feedings each day. I also refused to count the number of wet and dirty diapers. I let go of all of that, and he was fine. When the lactation consultant called to check on us, I explained that requiring us to go back every day was stressful, and I thought it was unnecessary. She tried to explain that most moms find it reassuring to monitor weight closely, but I told her I disagree. Ed thinks it’s an insurance scam, and I’m not convinced that’s not the case.
At 2 weeks old, Joshua was eating like a champ and his weight was 10 lbs. 2 oz. I wanted to tell off the whole pediatrician’s office, give them a piece of my mind. They worried me for nothing, stressed me out, made me feel inadequate. And that clearly was not the case at all. At 1 month, he weighed 11 lbs. 3 oz. He’s a big boy.
What I’ve learned from this whole experience is to trust my own instincts. I believed that everything would be okay before they stressed me out, and it was. In the future, when I have another child, I know what this experienced mom (ha!) will say: “I’m NOT coming in tomorrow, or the next day. I’ll see you next week.”