First there was a Man. Then a Woman. Then in quick succession, two cats, a confused dog beast, and two kids. I stay at home with them. I'm the Man

Saturday, January 30, 2010

Skinny Peanut 2/My Wife is The Baddest Mofo on Earth

Usually, (usually)  I let my wife handle this subject.  She's better at talking about it than I am.

My daughter is skinny and tiny.  We don't call her the peanut just because she's salty and and goes well with Fluff  Although both are true.  She's always been small.  And to make matters more difficult, she's always had a problem with food.

When she was born, she was on the small side but that was ok.  She lost some weight at first and that was ok too.  My wife breast fed and breast fed newborns tend to do that.

Then we met a lactation specialist.  They had them on the post-natal floor and the day we were supposed to go home, we thought, "why not?  Everyone else on the planet has seen your tits, what's one more person?"

All lactation specialists are hippies.  Some lactation specialists used to be nurses.  Others are just women who have a proclivity for babies and boobs only when they appear together in the same sq foot or so and only when one of them is capable of spraying milk.  I don't know if it matters to them whether it's the baby or the booby doing the spraying, but in our case it was the latter.

We did not get an ex-nurse.  We got a pale, tall, beef-jerky thin woman who we later found out was "having a bad day."

She came in.  My wife was upright in bed, feeding our daughter and looking beatific.  She greeted us quickly, and then said to my wife, who had been feeding our child for almost 3 days at this point, " oh no, you're doing it all wrong, she's not getting anything that way."

Then, as we started to panic, she took my wife's breast in one hand and our baby's head in the other and began trying again and again to force the now screaming newborn to take my crying wife's breast.  I don't know why I didn't put a stop to it.  I just felt out of my element, I guess.  Or out of control.  So damn lame.

After this didn't work, she yelled something about pumping and tube feeding, and formula being "perfectly ok, really."  Gave us a half-assed demo, and ran out of the door.  Leaving my entire little family traumatized and crying.

We had nurses and pediatricians come in and tell us everything was going to be alright.  They gave us a few extra hours at the hospital to pull our shit together.

We went home feigning confidence.

At home, it was a couple of hours before we some how managed to get 10 cc of milk down our little girl's throat.  She should've been having 30 per feeding.  Eventually, we called a wonderful nurse named Lily who had given us her number and told us to call if we needed help.  She asked us if we had any formula in the house.  We said no.  She asked us if anyone had given us a strategy to use if feeding went poorly. We said no.  She told us what to do over the phone.  I raced out to get some formula.  We did have the necessary equipment to feed her.

After that it was a month of trying.  Not including the hospital stay, there must've been at least a dozen people who saw and manipulated my wife's breasts as she continued to work for her chance to breast feed her baby.  I was not one of those people.

I was the person who was bottle feeding our little girl the breast milk that my wife had to pump instead of getting to feed it to her directly.  Not the ideal situation for avoiding post-partum depression.

My wife teaches at a vocational high school.  There is a nursing assistant vocation there.  One of the teachers used to be a Nicu nurse.  She was the one who was able in the end to help my wife and daughter connect.  We'll be grateful forever.  As I am grateful to my wife who fought longer and harder than 99%* of the rest of the world would have because she knew it was the best thing to do for her baby.  The Peanut breast fed quite successfully for one full year.

One note to all the people who tried to help but couldn't.  There really needs to be some sort of sensitivity training for the folks who are going to be dealing with this issue.  The number of times we talked to people who started the conversation with an indulgent eye roll heaven-ward and the statement, "Don't worry.  Even if she doesn't breast feed, it doesn't mean she's going to end up in the psychiatrist's office when she grows up."

No shit.  If she doesn't breast feed, I'm going to end up in the psychiatrist's office.   By the end of the fucking week.  You fucking pee hole.

Don't condescend, don't manage our worries, just be calm, be competent, and give us solutions or fuck off.  Is how we ended up feeling.

Today, almost every meal with the Peanut is a fight.  She is off the weight chart for her age group.  And that was ok.  As long as she was gaining, even slowly.  At her last weigh-in, she lost weight.

We went to see a nutritionist.  She gave us some guidelines and some tricks.  The ol' canola oil in the yogurt trick, for one.  She also gave us a number.  1200.  1200 calories a day.   I see that number in my brain.  It's giant and carved out of stone like Life of Brian.   Only the number is also outlined in buzzing red neon.


One more bite, Peanut.  C'mon, it's ice cream.  With secret deposits of canola oil.  And melted butter.  And cheese.  And lard.  And bacon.  Your favorite!

Jewish Motheringly (eat, eat, you're wasting away . . .),

Homemaker Man


As for the lactation consultant, we heard that after she left our room, she started crying.  She said something to someone like,"I don't know what happened, I never get this emotional, I'm having a bad day."

Awwww, are ya?  Please, let me be the first to offer a go fuck yourself.

I complained to everyone I could about her on our way out.  If I remembered her name, I'd post it here.  Grudges, I holds'em.

*99% is not an official statistic.



  1. Yeah, we've come to realize over the years that in every single profession there are the good, the bad, and the ugly. The good help, the bad don't help but they will get out of the way, and the ugly insist on f-ing you over because they are so f-ed up themselves.

    We've been dealing with that a lot lately on other issues, and it has been no picnic. But at least it doesn't involve a newborn.

  2. Is she extra fussy about which food she eats? Or is she just not that hungry and doesn't care no matter what it is?

    Also, is she reveling in the extra attention? (Gah, I hate that question - people kept suggesting to us during Rachel's reign of terror that she was jealous of the baby and needed more attention. Um, no, she was simply possessed, thank you. We needed an exorcist, not amateur psychologists, thanks.)

  3. I know that this might sound crazy, but...have they done a blood panel to check for allergies? My oldest daughter is crazy allergic to milk, and for the first three years of her life, we didn't know. She drank regular formula, had a decent weight gain, then as a toddler, she lost a bunch of weight. We saw zillions of medical folk, the people from WIC, then, presto...someone said, "hey maybe we should see what she is allergic to?" Changed our lives.

  4. I feel like I just read a story about my eldest Morella. At 2 years and 2 months she too lost weight and is now a scrappy 22.2 pounds. Thankfully our doctor hasn't suggested anything like sending us to a nutrionist. Maybe because we went through that when we did the barium swallow studies.

    But, really 1200 god. I can't tell you how many days that I know Morella only takes about 600 calories. Everything is drenched in butter, she gets whole everything, as much sugar and fat and whatever eles she wants.

    Thank goodness that they only visit the doctor once a year after 2. So she has a year to gain some more weight --as slow as they seem to go. Also, consider this...they are getting taller which is evidence that they are growing. They are hitting milestones. Lastly, did you check Peanut's stats against the WHO growth charts? Morella has been off the american charts ever since she was 4 months old, but is 15% on the WHO chart. Also for the record she was last recorded as 35 inches tall. So, do your own comparison there. 22.2 lbs and 35-36 inches tall.

    One more thing. You have to just do what you can do. Children at this age will not purposely starve themselves. They have energy. They are funny. They are interactive and they DO eat. Just not that much.

  5. Sending us to the nutritionist was far from the worst thing that's been suggested. That award would go to "tube feeding," where a tube is inserted down the child's throat and into her stomach while she is sleeping and her belly is filled up that way. From what I understand, it is somewhat similar to the way you prepare a goose to make pate. Horrible!

  6. BTW, a very small percentage of children/toddlers will actually starve themselves. They eat, but they starve themselves slowly -- which is why tube feeding exists. Scary.

    As for doctor visits, we have to go in for weigh-ins every couple of months, so we don't get a year-long break. About the charts: she isn't really on the WHO chart either, but she is on the BMI chart at 3% and some other weight/height ratio chart the nutritionist used.

  7. OH great. Now I am going to worry that Morella is going to starve herself to death. :( Also the tube doesn't have to go down the throat. They can install a g-button which is through the belly button. Of course none of these options are preferable.

    So I take it she weighs less than Morella?

  8. Wow. Thanks for the uh, pep talk. She's older than Morella. She'll be three in April. Her last weigh in was at 2 yrs 8 months and 2 weeks. 23lb 3. something oz.

  9. Looking at it again, they might be pretty close in percentile. I may have read it wrong the first time.

  10. Yeah, no. She's about 3rd percentile, give or take.


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