Sunday, April 13, 2008

What Happens When Politics Meets Biological Necessity aka It Takes a Village

So Simon is a tiny little peanut, 6 pounds 2 ounces at birth, and it's been hot. The result is that as of yesterday, he'd lost about 12% of his body weight, (down to 5 pounds, 6 ounces) and both the pediatrician and our midwife wanted us to supplement and give him some water with a dropper.
We met with our pediatrician first (she whizzes in for a 5 minute meeting when she comes), and she suggested formula to help get him through until Laura's milk came in. It would just be for about 24 hours and only 1/2 an ounce after he feeds, she said, and added, "I know you think I'm Satan, but it's just a little bit, it won't hurt him and he'll be totally on breastmilk in a day or so". I laughed because I do, for the most part, think formula is evil, but I also knew that biology was dictating that we do something, quickly and our doctor was telling us she really wanted us to do this!

We had some friends bring some organic formula and, with some caution, fed him a bit after he was on the breast. He did okay, but we both felt a little funny about it. A few hours later, we talked to our midwife and she was such a great voice of reason. She came over and spent 2 hours with us, weighing him on the scale he was weighed on when he was born, reassuring us that he was not steps away from death and coming up with a plan to feed him 7 minutes on the breast (he was burning too many calories with the 45 minutes spent getting skinny colostrum) with a supplement chaser every 2 hours. She suggested what at the time felt like the most radical, brilliant ideas I think I've ever heard. Using breastmilk from one of her clients or one of our friends to supplement instead of formula. DUH! Of course!

We called a lesbian family we know who consists of 2 breastfeeding moms and 2 babies, 3 months apart. They were out of town so we called one of Laura's friends from college who has a 1 year old. We did a feeding with formula, with the blessing of our midwife and then the friend brought milk over later that night. Tonight she brought over frozen milk from her downstairs neighbor who had even more than she had.

The whole concept makes me tear up...this is what women have been doing for centuries. We, especially Laura, I think, were feeling we weren't doing something right, that this wasn't natural, etc and then I thought...babies losing too much weight just after birth is NOT a new issue. What must women have done 300 years ago? Use a wet nurse to tide them over, of course. We just happen to have a phenominal community of wet nurses. We're thinking of working the college friend story into Laura's submission to her alumni quarterly :-)

It helps me remember that the most obvious solution to a problem is rarely the only solution...

p.s he looks a lot less like a starved little chicken and more like a cute little boy, as you can see

Yesteday with Auntie Jen

Today, looking very laid back and 4 ounces heavier

1 comment:

Fresh Ground Knits said...

aw, he is a little peanut! how cute. I'm glad y'all got some mamamilk to supplement :D