First things first, I am writing this down confession style because last Wednesday I blogged about our solid food escapades, while in the same day learning that Everett has dropped to the 2% for weight. Clearly I should not be giving anyone advice on how to feed their child because I am a failure at feeding my own.
So, the backstory….at Everett’s six month appointment our pediatrician told us that Everett’s weight had dropped from the 25% to the 5%. She seemed concerned and threw out a number of suggestions: start pumping every day, drinking more water, taking fenugreek, and maybe supplementing with formula. I took two of those suggestions and started pumping every night, drinking more water, and as the months progressed, giving Everett more solids.
When we brought him in for his 9 month appointment on Wednesday, I was honestly shocked to find out that he had dropped even lower to the 2%. Our pediatrician (who I like, but did not like in that moment), started asking me about nursing and my milk supply. I’m currently nursing Everett four times a day and as far as I know, everything is fine. He doesn’t cry when he’s finished or give me any other signals that he is still hungry. He’s also eating three solid meals a day, aka SEVEN meals total per day, every two hours.
I immediately got defensive.
But, he’s crawling now! He’s super active!
He poops 4 times a day! He used to only poop once a week!
I’m small! I was a small baby! We are a slender family!
She didn’t really seem to care, and kept pointing to the growth chart.
Which, I know I’m not a doctor, or a nurse, or medically trained in any capacity, but WHAT IS UP WITH THE GROWTH CHART? I realize it would be awesome if Everett was smack dab in the middle, but he’s not.
And I guess if I had even the tiniest of inkling that there was something wrong with Everett, I would be grateful for our pediatrician’s attention to the growth chart. But I don’t have the tiniest of an inkling. Everett is, literally, the happiest baby on the block. He smiles 90% of the day. He only fusses when he’s tired. He’s crawling and babbling and loves to be outside and play with his blocks. He’s a happy, active little boy.
But our pediatrician doesn’t see any of that. She sees a number on the scale, a percentage on the chart, and a reason to lecture.
And I can’t help but feel like this is crazy sauce. The idea that a doctor can see my son once every three months for fifteen minutes at a time and use a stupid growth chart to size up (pun intended) how healthy he is, seems bananas to me. At what point do we stop using these growth charts? I’m 26 and last time I checked, there wasn’t a growth chart for me to adhere to. Adults come in all different sizes and shapes according to diet and exercise and their natural disposition, right? And if Everett’s clearly not malnourished or lethargic or crying from starvation, is it possible that he is just…..small? And that maybe he’ll stay small or have a growth spurt next month or grow bigger when he’s a toddler?
Maybe I’m the crazy one. Maybe I should be worried. Maybe there is something wrong, and maybe this is what they call motherhood denial. Who knows? Being a parent is hard. It feels harder today.
I’m stepping down from my soapbox now. If you need us, Ev and I will be drowning our anxieties in yogurt and cheese.