Little Dude had his six-month check up on Thursday. He now weighs exactly sixteen pounds, which puts him the 20th percentile or so for weight. That simply means that 80 percent of babies his age weigh more than he does, and 20 percent weigh less. That's really not all that bad, and our pediatrician isn't worried about him. But I am starting to worry a bit. You see, his weight and height were in the 75th percentile at his two month check up. He's been slowly falling down the chart for the last four months. He was also weighed in October at the county health office. If their scale was correct, he weighed 15 pounds then and has only gained one pound in the last two months.
I know everything about how some kids are just small and gain weight more slowly. S-Boogie only weighed about 17 pounds when she turned one, and even now at nearly three-and-a-half she barely hits 30. She's just a small person, and always has been. Her weight has stayed pretty consistently in the 10th percentile or so for her whole life. I also don't worry about Little Dude's development or anything. He's bright and friendly with people; he rolls both ways and can get himself across the living room and back; he can pick up objects, pass them back and forth, and put them in his mouth. He loves solid food and has gobbled up everything we've given him, even avocados. That's what's worrying me--I'm afraid my baby isn't getting enough to eat.
That is one of the central anxieties of breastfeeding--you never know how much your child is taking in. But there are plenty of signs you can watch for to make sure they are OK. And Little Dude is bright eyed and smooth skinned, so he's not totally undernourished. But he's also still chronically cranky and doesn't sleep well anymore. For the last month or so, feedings have turned into a battleground. He'll latch on and nurse for a few minutes. Then he'll pull away and scream at me, latch on again for bit and wrestle around, then pull off and scream some more. I'll try the other side with the same results. Usually we'll end the feeding in less that ten minutes; me, frustrated and him chomping on his hands, chomping on my shirt, and screaming at me. It could just be teething, but it's been this way for several weeks. It feels like an extended growth spurt, but no matter how many extra feedings or extra pumpings I add, the only thing we get is sore nipples and an angry baby. The other day I made him a four-ounce bottle of formula about half an hour after feeding him, and he grabbed it and drained it in about five minutes.
I'm getting really, really tempted to just switch over to bottles. At the same time, I'm nervous about making the wrong decision. I know breastmilk is the healthiest option for my baby; it's also the most convenient at five in the morning and it's definitely cheaper than the alternative. But, what's best for the baby may not be what's best for the whole family. Parenting is all about balancing needs, and though I usually try to give my kids' needs priority, sometimes mine have to come first. Because a happy, healthy mommy is also a need for children. And mentally, I can't handle too many more times of wrestling with an angry little monkey trying to chew my boobs off. I've also been realizing that I want to try antidepressants again, and I don't want to wait six more months for Little Dude to wean. I know there are some that I can take while breastfeeding, but I think the peace of mind from not trying to combine the two would help my stress level. And I really hope that my gut feeling that Little Dude will be happier if I give him more calories during the day is right. Because that would mean peace of mind for both of us.