Thursday, November 19, 2015

And then my head exploded at the pediatrician's

Ben likes to eat a lot, which is no surprise given that he's my child. Unlike me, though, he isn't obsessed with sushi and he spits up frequently and voluminously. This is unnerving because I'm nursing him, so I've had no idea if he's retaining enough. Plus he always seems to want to eat—he nibbles on the washcloth in the bath tub, burp cloths or anything located near his mouth—which has made me further wonder whether he's satisfied. 

I was pretty sure that he was gaining decent weight, especially in his chins.

But the poor little guy generally has stomach distress; he gets fussy after he eats, and lets out burps for up to an hour or so afterward. Sometimes he gets these hiccup-burps that make his entire body shake. I've fed him sitting upright, burp him frequently during feedings and keep him upright after, too, but nothing has helped. 

Dave has been serving as the resident baby worrywart in our house (as you may have noted), but I wanted to make sure Ben's stomach issues weren't serious. When I called the nurse at the pediatrician's office, she decided to make an appointment for him to see the doc. I noted all my concerns about his eating on my iPhone, because I didn't trust my sleep-starved brain.

At the pediatrician's office, I gently placed Ben on the scale. The nurse did a double take. In three weeks he'd gone from six pounds, 11 ounces to nine pounds.

The doctor came in. "Wow, that is a lot of weight he gained!" she noted. "Are you nursing?" I nodded.

So then I read her my list of concerns, including "Spit-up sometimes flows out of his mouth like lava from a volcano."

And the doctor listened. And she gave him a good look over. And she basically said that he was probably ingesting a little too much milk at one sitting and suggested that I try to feed him more often, but maybe only give him one boob at once. That seemed reasonable.

And then, suddenly, worries came pouring out of me like lava.

What was that dry patch on his forehead?

How about the little bumps on his nose—would they go away?

His legs seem a little stiff when I change him, are they OK? 

His eyes kind of tracks my face when I move it but then he loses interest, is that OK? 

He's not so interested in staring at the mobile, is that OK?

I hadn't planned to ask any of that stuff. It was like because she hadn't found anything wrong with Ben, I needed to make absolutely, positively sure. Twelve years after going through NICU hell with Max, I still couldn't believe I had a healthy baby.

She answered my questions patiently. Everything was normal.

We came home. Ben was hungry. I nursed him, burped him, dabbed the spit up. I strolled around the house, with him on my shoulder. He was fine. I just had to believe it.


  1. You are just a concerned caring mother. And that's not a bad thing to be. I'm glad the doctor was patient with you, some aren't. And Ben is absolutely adorable

  2. I love this. I'm so happy for you and way to go with the mega feeding! 😊

  3. He's an eating champ. I think your concerns are normal even without your prior experience. Hang in and enjoy. So loving the Facebook pictures. And so happy for you.

  4. Glad he is healthy - two funny stories of my own - i also did not know how much weight teddy was gaining and was literally stuffing him (like a sausage) into infant clothing because I thought how much can he gain from nursing - he too tipped the scale at 11lbs at a month

    I called a pediatrician friend in a panic because when I picked teddy up from a nap there was a huge sweat stain and he was drenched - after a series of medical questions, she said, "it is confirmed, you have a sweaty baby!"

  5. 21 years ago I experienced the same thing with my son
    A trip to the pediatrician revealed he had gained an ounce a day since birth
    My sister gave me the Womanly Art of Breastfeeding to read--there is a great quote from one of the authors' husband who was a physician--he said spitting up in a baby who is gaining weight, having bowel movements and wetting several diapers a day is a laundry problem not a medical problem

  6. Ben seems healthy, but I'll say this: Your melancholic temperament is probably acting up. It is common for people of the melancholic temperament to worry about small things, especially in the presence of old memories of a prior experience when things went awry.

    1. I am slightly on the spectrum too and so I always appreciate when people tell me I am acting a bit inappropriately. You are obsessing on the temperament stuff a bit too much. I'd suggest you get into learning about psychology, like I did! Then you'll have a wider range of stuff to talk about, while still getting to feed your current "obsession." Most people don't believe in the temperament personality theory because there's not too much science behind it. What has a lot of science, however, is psychology of personality. You are already analytical and insightful, so I think you'd enjoy that :)

  7. Isn't Ben is the most perfect baby ever? Our doctor kept up that patter ("isn't he just the most perfect baby ever?; aren't those feet just the most amazing? aren't those cheeks just the sweetest?) when examining our son, and I still amuse myself over how much I enjoyed it.

    It also surprises me how normal worry is and how much the moment to moment happiness of my children affects my own well-being, even when I don't know it. When I first had mine, I kept thinking there was something wrong with me (and I am not a natural worrier) because of my worries. I imagined that there was another, better adjusted mother out there who did not have my foolish worries (example: I started worrying about schools when my baby was a new born, after encountering a school enrollment form in the public library). I learned that my fellow mothers had already started driving by nearby schools to see what they were like. That is, I was perfectly normal.

    I am glad your doctor did what she should, answered your questions and concerns patiently.

  8. Though I don't know you - if it helps to ease any worry I thought I'd share. My second daughter was a month early and spit up after every.single.feeding. Like projectile vomit spit up. My first was failure to thrive so I was incredibly concerned. Fast forward though many a doctors visits and a visit to the GI - turns out she was over eating. The thought is that nursing babies can't overeat but it turns out that isn't true! Most nursing babies don't overeat - but some can and do! I started feeding every 90 minutes one breast at a time. Worked out much better!

  9. My son had that too, very fussy after he ate and liked to be upright. always gained weight. turns out he had a little bit of acid reflux. There is research to indicate its more common in new babies than we used to think. the theory is that the little flap over the stomach isn't always as big as the hole so some leaks out. Makes sense to me. Some pediatricians believe that, others dont. We were able to give him a little bit of prescription zantac and it worked great. We also got him a fisher price rock and sleep (its like 50 bucks on amzon and folds up like a tray table from 1974). IT was the best. thing. ever. no more fussy baby. Don't believe the reviews about mold, and frankly, if it gets moldy toss it and buy a new one - that thing is AMAZING. Some of my friends have one on every floor of their house.

  10. I love the "laundry problem" comment -- I got the same explanation from my older one's pediatrician. She spat up after every feeding until she learned to walk. She would also nurse so much she would have milk coming out of her nose while she nursed. She was also a fast gainer!

  11. I completely understand and identify with this post Ellen. Of course you need to believe it - it is hard to not fret over every symptom if you have previously spent so much much time trying to get ahead of other very real symptoms. I am so glad to hear that you are embracing this, and enjoying it. Big hugs!

  12. Love all the chins! Ben is adorable!

    When my son Marco came home on a ng-tube (after his 100 day stay as a preemie), the pediatrician gave me a feeding schedule, which we followed to the T. I had pumped and we had a freezer full of breast milk. Well, at the next check-up her eyes were huge and she said omg we have a Buddha Baby! She had not accounted for his low-tone (CP) and lack of burning calories. She just gave us the standard calories/kg of weight. We made a big adjustment!

  13. Gorgeous pic, the chins will go soon enough (sorry if you wanted to keep them ;) ). Sounds like you are doing a fab job, and hopefully he will settle down soon x

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Thanks for sharing!

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