Bottle Battles (#257)

Baby D was born hungry. Maybe because he’d stretched his stomach swallowing amniotic fluid. Maybe it’s that he was overdue and over nine pounds. Maybe it was just genetic, courtesy of parents who love food.

That kid could eat. I’d nurse Baby D for almost an hour in the hospital, and send him back to the nursery to get a little sleep. Within an hour, a nurse would bring him back, saying, “He’s hungry!”

Me, wailing: “But I just fed him!”

Luckily, the hospital had plenty of little formula bottles we could use to as supplements. Andy took a whole bunch with us when we were discharged.

They lasted a day.

On the advice of Judgmental Genius Doctor Sister, I would nurse Baby D and then pump while Andy gave him a bottle, in order to a) make sure I was empty, and b) increase my milk supply.

Once Baby D figured out he could get more milk faster from a bottle, he refused to nurse, wailing until we gave in and gave him a bottle. Between raw nipples, my baby’s rejection, and feeling like an unwanted cow, I was a wreck.

“Maybe I should just give up breast feeding,” I sobbed to Dr. Sister on the phone.

Despite not being able to produce enough milk for her own ginormous babies, Dr. Sis had strong opinions of breast feeding. And she’s definitely not a coddler. She hissed, “If you don’t breast feed, I will fucking kill you.”

“Okay,” I sniffled. The next 24 hours were miserable. Baby D kept demanding the bottle. I kept pumping and crying.

Then Baby D slept for 6 hours. When he woke up, still convinced he was starving, his Mommy Cow’s milk reservoir had built up enough that both supply and speed of discharge were acceptable. Baby D still insisted on a supplemental bottle after some feedings, but within a week of being born, he was sleeping through at least one nighttime feeding. Since I was not, I would get up and pump some supplemental milk in order to cut down on formula.

I thought we were now in a good place.

My pediatrician thought differently. Most babies lose weight after they are born. It’s expected. It takes a while for the mother’s milk to come in, and it takes a while for babies to get the hang of nursing.

Our pediatrician was older, a tiny little Persian dude with a wealth of experience. The only time I ever saw him shocked was when he weighed and measured my child a week after delivery.

“Your baby has gained 8 ounces! You are overfeeding him!” Dr. Y declared.

“But—but he’s also gained an inch in size!” I argued.

Dr. Y dismissed this with a wave of his hand, saying, “The initial measurements are always a little off. Babies curl up and can be hard to measure. Are you giving him a bottle?”

“After I nurse him, yes. But only when he cries! And he ONLY cries when he is hungry.”

“How much in in his bottle?”

“I don’t know. I feed him until he stops eating.” At this point, I was ready to cry myself, convinced of my maternal failures.

“At this age, he should only be eating one ounce!” Dr. Y insisted.

I mumbled some vague sort of agreement, hovering between tears and indignation. I knew I was right, but I needed more data points to prove it. When we got home, I sent Andy off to call his mother and ask about her nursing experience. Since I didn’t have a mom to call and I wasn’t up to being bitched out by a doctor again, I called Big Brother’s Wife instead of Dr. Sis.

Big Brother’s Wife is very organized. Not surprisingly, she kept excellent records of her two oldest children. She reported that First Niece and Third Nephew had, like Baby D, gained inches and ounces during their first weeks.

Andy’s mother reported that Andy had been so hangry and awful to breastfeed that she’d had to switch to a bottle.

Instead of nursing Baby D that evening, I pumped and measured my milk production: not quite 2 ounces. Andy fed Baby D a bottle and reported that our child sucked down over 4 ounces before falling asleep.

“There’s no way our kid should be limited to just one ounce,” I huffed to Andy. “Clearly our tiny little Persian pediatrician has no experience with the giant Germanic-Chinese baby that’s born growth spurting!”

Baby D, already on the the high end of the baby height and weight charts, literally went off the charts for the next six months.

I was fully prepared to smack down Dr. Y if he came at me again over Baby D’s bottle. So of course he never did.

Maybe because his own measurements showed Baby D gaining height along with weight.

Maybe he finally realized Baby D’s parents were looming over him by a foot and he took genetics into account.

Or maybe it was because recognized the battle-ready glint in my eye.

Overfeeding, my ass.

Published by

Autumn Ashbough

WF writing about the humorous perils of life with Chinese-American significant other.

12 thoughts on “Bottle Battles (#257)”

  1. Oh my. First boyfriend was tall (6’5″) and filled out. Not fat and not quite stocky but very football playerish (although he was terrified to play contact sports). He weighted 12 lbs. at birth and 30 lbs at 2 years old. Never “fat” but off the charts in both height and weight. Fortunately back then (in the dark ages of the late 1940s) it didn’t raise any alarms. There weren’t neurotic statistics and visits to the doc weren’t as frequent unless there was an issue. I’m assuming baby D turned out just fine!

    1. 12 pounds! His poor, poor mother.

      So far Baby D is doing fine. He’s not going to be 6’5″ though! After about 1 year he settled in at 50% for height and 25-40% for weight. Just born growth spurting, probably because there was some evolutionary advantage at some point. Babies from my maternal side tend to be big and late.

  2. Sounds like Baby D likes drink and food. Try having a kid that refuses to ingest milk or formula very early on. Each kid is different and sometimes a doctors opinion is just that.

    1. I have some nieces and nephews like that–one with terrible acid reflux, another allergic to everything except soy formula. We were fortunate indeed to have such a healthy eater. Even if the pediatrician didn’t believe me.

  3. If you disregarded this Persian pediatrician’s opinion then why haven’t you switched to another pediatrician already? Also, are you the only couple with a hapa kid in town? Check with other hapa parents in regards to measurements to establish a standard. Even with puppies there are different feeding guidelines available for small, medium and large breeds.

    1. I am fairly certain that the only standard for nursing puppies is fat=good.

      I’ve also learned that no doctor–or veterinarian–is right every time. It’s foolish to try and find a “perfect” provider. Instead, it’s wise to do your own research and get another opinion if you have concerns. If a doctor is wrong or an asshole ALL the time, yeah, move on. But Dr. Y was nearby, I could always get in to see him quickly, and Baby D never had a virus or bacterial infection that Dr. Y hadn’t seen before. And D caught some really bizarre stuff I’d never seen or even heard of. So that pediatrician worked out well for us until he retired.

      As for hapa kids, yes, I was part of a moms group that had a bunch of them. I never found one that matched D’s growth pattern. Genetics are a roulette wheel–it’s rare that you can make a solid generalization about who inherits what trait from which race.

      1. When I was young and foolish, I overfed the puppy and it vomited. Then, I found out that at the back of the food packaging, there were feeding instruction and guidelines for small, medium and large breeds. I adhered to the guidelines and my pet dog is still living way pass the supposed expiry date and without joint problems. When a dog is overweight, it can be very burdening on it’s joints. For myself, if I’m looking for a specialist, I tend to find one with good reviews and I will also consult a friend who is in the industry. For us, locating a specialist is never a hassle. There could be like 2-5 within the same area. My uncle married a Caucasian woman too and had 5 kids. They followed the Caucasian growth pattern since they live in England. It’s not like his late mom was informed enough to chart out growth patterns of every kid. Still, all her kids grew up healthy and well. By the way, people only had at most primary school education then.

  4. I like your description: He was born growth-spurting. Baby D is definitely a big eater. They’re all different. What can you do.

    My kids were born in the time of Dr. Spock. He has a reputation among some people for being too prescriptive, but what I got out of his book was that I could use my own common sense and let the baby tell me what she needed. It worked for me. Fortunately I had enough milk for all of them.

    1. I think it’s a great gift to be able to use your own sense/ intuition. But especially when sleep deprived, as new parents are, sometimes it does help to have more of a road map. With the internet, there are so many maps, though–and a lot of them are terrible. (Looking at you, measle-enabling anti-vaxxers!)

  5. If you were in China, the paediatrician would have congratulated you for your big fat baby xD Here many doctors believe growth charts are like a test result, and Chinese style: if you get less than 90, you’re a failure.

If you liked this, let the white girl know!