Zack and I had a stay in hospital last week. It’s only now, almost a week later that I can talk/write about it without crying.
I took him for his 12 week immunisations on the Tuesday and went to the baby clinic while I was there to get him weighed. He’s been gaining weight slowly. I know that. Jake was the same. I just assumed he’d catch up in his own time. At 8 weeks, he was 9lb exactly. I expected him to be at least 10lbs at 12 weeks, especially considering how often he feeds.
He was 9lb 6oz. He’s dropped two lines on the centile chart (and below the 0.4th), so we had to see the GP. As soon as they said he had only put on 6oz, I knew the discussion of formula would be on the agenda. It’s not that I’m against formula. It’s that I wanted to breastfeed. I had no concerns previous to him being weighed. He’s smiley, he is alert, he sleeps through the night. There was nothing to make me worry.
The doctor sent us up to Birmingham Children’s Hospital. We ended up in A&E as that’s where the RMO’s were (Registered Medical Officer). We were taken to cubicle and Zack was asleep in his pushchair, so the RMO was talking to me, asking me questions about Zack, about me, about Jake, about my pregnancy. Then he woke up and needed a feed, so she left me to it for half an hour or so. Then a different doctor came round to see us and examined him. Said that she didn’t think there was anything wrong with his tummy or anything and that we should top him up with formula. I said that I didn’t really want to and that I wanted to fix breastfeeding first. So she admitted us and arranged to Zack to have a blood test, in which I cried more than he did and was reduced to a snotty mess. So much so that even the nurse took pity on me and wiped my nose as I had no hands free.
I’m a bit angry, because I feel like if I’d agreed to the formula, she would have just sent us home, but because I refused, we had to endure a horrible 24 hours in hospital. He looked so small in the huge cot in his room, and I had the delight of sleeping on a faux leather recliner for the night.
The doctors came round in the morning and again, had a poke and a prod. Then a dietician came in and spoke to me.
I have had to compromise. We have agreed that he has two 3oz feeds a day of a high calorie formula that promotes catch up growth, and that I breastfeed as well. I have been prescribed Domperidone to try and increase my milk supply. Zack has to be weighed every week and I am to call the dietician with his weights so we can plan the next course of action, which will hopefully at some point be to drop the formula altogether and go back to exclusive breastfeeding.
It’s taken me a long time to be OK with this. Not because I don’t want him to gain weight, not because I don’t want him to have formula, but because I feel like I’ve failed him.
One of the most natural things in the world is to breastfeed your baby, to nurture them, and I couldn’t do it alone. Whether it’s because of everything my body has been through over the last two and a half years, I don’t know, but I wanted to be able to do this so much and the fact that I couldn’t upsets me more than I can put into words.
I know he’s put weight on. I can see his cheeks are chubbier, and he feels heavier. I’ll know for sure tomorrow when I take him to be weighed. I hope it’s positive. I certainly don’t want another night in hospital with him any time soon.