Thursday, September 8, 2011

Can Boobs Get Performance Anxiety?

Atticus turned 6 months old on the 7th.  Today, the 8th, was his 6-month well visit.

At his four-month visit, he weighed 15 lbs, 10.5 oz.  Today, he weighed 16 lbs, 6 oz.

That's a weight gain of ...  10 ounces.  In. Two.  Months.

He went from 50-75% to around 25%.

What Atticus' doctor said: Well, he's only gained 10 ounces in two months.  He's either finding a new spot on the growth curve, or something's going on that we need to be concerned about.  We're just going to watch him to make sure it's a new spot on the chart.  Why don't you bring him back 6 weeks from now for a weight check, and we'll reevaluate everything at his 9-month well visit?

What I heard: Your breast milk sucks.  You're starving your baby.  I can't believe you haven't started him on solids yet.  You're a terrible mother.  Formula!!!!! 

What I wanted to say: You bastard!  My son is perfect!  How dare you imply that something may be wrong with him or my super-awesome-wonderful milk?!?!

What I really did say: I'm not giving him formula.  He is happy, sleeps great, and is meeting all of his milestones.  


The doctor never mentioned formula.  He never mentioned that anything might be wrong, per say, but the fact that Atticus has gone from 90% at birth to 75-90% at two months, 50-75% at four months, and 25% at six months kind of sucks.   He did reiterate that he wasn't asking me to give him formula or to rush ahead with baby-led weaning.  He said to keep on keeping on, and that everything is probably fine. At Atticus' weight check in six weeks, they would like for him to weigh about 17.5 lbs to stay on his "new" spot on the growth chart.  I hope my boobs don't get performance anxiety like my brain has.

Everything is probably fine, but that doesn't mean I don't feel like a shitty mom today.



I found this excerpt on

Growth charts and breastfed baby growth

I have heard of many breastfed babies (including my own) whose doctor was disturbed at some point because the baby wasn't gaining weight quickly enough, even though the baby was well within the above parameters for weight gain. The problem is that many doctors are not familiar with the normal weight gain patterns of breastfed babies, and rely too much upon standard growth charts.
Healthy breastfed infants tend to grow more rapidly than formula-fed infants in the first 2-3 months of life and less rapidly from 3 to 12 months. All growth charts available at this time include data from infants who were not exclusively breastfed for the first 6 months (includes formula-fed infants and those starting solids before the recommended 6 months). Because many doctors are not aware of this, they see the baby dropping in percentiles on the growth chart and often come to the faulty conclusion that the baby is not growing adequately. At this point they often recommend that the mother (unnecessarily) supplement with formula or solids, and sometimes recommend that they stop breastfeeding altogether. Even if mom realizes that her baby is perfectly healthy and doesn't follow these unnecessary recommendations, she ends up worrying for no reason (and moms don't need anything extra to worry about!).


  1. Aw, Ashley, I'm sorry. You are not a bad mom. I know you know that deep down, and I can understand how you'd feel discouraged after the visit. But it sounds like you're doctor isn't too worried, so try not to fret too much.

    I feel like a bad mother a lot for not continuing with breastfeeding, so at least you're still doing that. :/

  2. Thanks a lot for your comment, Erin. :) I did some research on kellymom this evening and updated the post with what I found. Apparently, it's normal that breastfed babies' weight gain slow down from months 3-12. It's NORMAL, not problematic.

    People keep asking me when I'm going to give Atticus food. I was unable to get pregnant without medical assistance. Minus one three-day stretch, I threw up every single day of my pregnancy from four weeks on, yet I still managed to grow a baby. My milk has been causing him to grow since he was born. Perhaps I'm too attached to breastfeeding, but it's something that my body is finally doing well, and I'm just not ready to give it up. I'm certainly not ready to hear what I feel is criticism about it from his doctor. :)

  3. Chin up, girl! You're doing awesome! Don't let the anybody scare you into not doing what you and Michael know is right for you and your child.

    My Halle didn't chart from age 2 weeks on. She doesn't chart today...not even close. Everytime she sees a new doctor, they freak out. She has a curve, it is just wellll below what is *standardized*. She's healthy, happy, and she eats well...she is just Halle. My point is, you know Atticus. You're his mommy, and I think you would know if something was actually wrong. I think Atticus would also let you know, and by your accounts he is an extremely happy baby! So, yeah, whip those boobies out and keep going! :)

  4. Thanks Leslie. :) I'm beginning to think that the charts are a load of crap. Halle's not on it, Lynette's daughter isn't on it, and a couple more friends' kids aren't on it. If this situation had happened to a friend, I'd tell them not to worry about anything, but everything feels different when it's happening to you, ya know?

    What frustrates me the most is this - we interviewed pediatricians to find a super breastfeeding friendly one because we've always known my intention was to BF. This doctor said all the right things, so we went with him. I looked on kellymom last night and read in three separate breastfeeding books that weight gain from months 4-12 of a BF baby slows significantly, but it isn't a sign of a problem. If my doctor is truly as BF friendly as he says he is, he should know that. Michael was angry. He asked me to print the stuff from kellymom and to take the books to the weight check in 6 weeks (that he will also be attending). Everything I've read indicates that Atticus won't gain the full pound they expect him to, so Michael intends to confront the doctor with this literature.

    Obviously, if it doesn't go well, you'll hear about it. :)

    Thank you for the comment.