What are you doing wrong? You’re letting your breastfed baby STARVE!

Malnutrition text with marker, concept background

I wish this situation were rare, but it’s not.

I wish this were a joke, but it deadly serious.

I wish were about mom’s intuition, but it’s really about her ego.

The baby is suffering to bolster his mother’s ego.

Does anyone have experience with slow-gainers or failure to thrive? I’m desperate for any advice/ information you have. What is “normal” weight gain by 3 months of age? My son is 3 months old today and is only 8oz over his birth weight. His pediatrician is now getting concerned. He “highly suggested” that I supplement with formula. I don’t believe that is the solution since we don’t even know what’s wrong. I told him I would not be supplementing and that he needs more time to grow. Now that I’m calm …. My mother’s intuition is saying we are missing something.

CDE12ADF-B85A-45EC-BA9C-9D839B490DA4

The baby was apparently 9lb 8oz at birth and has only gained 8oz in the three months since. This baby is STARVING.

He’s not meeting his milestones.

Why? Because he’s being STARVED.

It is difficult to comprehend the full depth of this child’s suffering. Imagine constantly being fed small amounts, never enough to satisfy. Imagine cannibalizing your body so you can feed (underfeed?) your growing brain.

It’s definitely a pride issue for me for sure. I had the natural birth. I gave him the best, healthiest welcome, Despite having so many negative feelings toward breastfeeding I still wanted that for him no matter the discomfort I would be in (past trauma). I feel like I did everything “right” just to come to this point of I think I missed something.

Yes, you missed something. You are letting your baby STARVE!

He is not a settled baby. He cries a very good portion of the day unless he is being fed…

Infants experience hunger as painful and profoundly distressing. Imagine the pain this baby experiences on a daily basis.

The mother insists that she has a plentiful supply that is moderate to extremely fatty. She gives no indication of what she thinks is “plentiful.” She says that he takes bottles of pumped milk from her mother while she is at work.

What would be the harm of supplementing with formula? The mother’s ego would take a hit. How do I know it’s about her ego? She writes:

100% natural 7 hour water birth, no vaccines for either of us, he never left my sight, uncomplicated delivery.

She’s absolutely sure of one thing: her baby’s profound and potentially deadly failure to thrive it can’t be her “fault.”

I’m aware that gaining 8 oz in 3 months is definitely room for serious concern. That’s why I feel like we’re missing something.

Yes, you’re missing the fact that you are STARVING your baby.

What needs to happen?

1. This baby needs to be hospitalized for a comprehensive evaluation and work up because he is suffering from profound malnutrition and his brain function and health are at risk.

2. The baby needs formula supplementation to get calories into him ASAP.

3. He needs weighted feeds to determine if he is receiving “plentiful” breastmilk as the mother claims.

4. If he is taking adequate volumes of fluid he may need special formula in order to digest what he is taking in.

5. If he is taking adequate volumes of fluid he needs metabolic and genetic testing to determine if he has an inborn error of metabolism that it is making him ill on breastmilk.

6. He needs evaluation for chromosomal syndromes that can impede both growth and development and might account for his constant crying.

The bottom line is that something is VERY wrong and this baby needs to be evaluated TODAY!

If the mother reads this, I have a message:

I BEG you to take your baby to the emergency room of the the closest university hospital you can reach as soon as you can! Forget about your ego. His brain and his life are at stake and you need to put YOUR BABY first!

  • Desiree Scorcia

    I bet they didn’t do the newborn screen either. This poor baby.

  • Mel

    I think the “freaked out” mom was probably closer to the right answer than the “calm” mom.

    With babies, the proof is in the pudding.

    If the kid simply needs more calories due to insufficient calories in the breast milk, a bottle of formula will change the unsettled, hysterically screaming baby into a much calmer child since they’ll have the fat and sugar reserves to sleep for a while.

    If it’s an inborn error of metabolism or something more complicated, the weight gain will lag even on the formula – but the medical team would be giving the kiddo formula as a starter anyways while running the other tests since waiting a day or two more won’t do any more damage than has been done by 90(ish) days of breast milk if the kid has galactosemia or PKU or any of the hundreds of other options.

    I’ll never forget a post from a mom who was pumping breast milk while she was in the NICU to give to other NICU babies because her daughter had an inborn error of metabolism that meant breast milk was a no-go. An enthusiastic, if un-informed, human breast milk cheerleader replied that our breasts always produce milk that’s perfect for our babies. Within minutes – literal minutes – about 5 people had pointed out that human breasts are not capable of filtering out certain sugars or hydrolyzing proteins so no, our breasts are not nearly as good at making the perfect food for babies as a targeted formula.

  • The ped is only getting concerned after 3 months? Ugh. Poor baby, my heart breaks for him.

    • Mel

      Might be the first time the pediatrician saw him if the mom is crunchy and anti-vaxx.

    • Sarah

      She probably had him at the naturopath, the LC and the postnatal doula before going anywhere near an actual clinician.

      • AnnaPDE

        Unfortunately there are enough people with actual medical qualifications who will happily push breast-only despite FTT.

        • Sarah

          No doubt, but if I were a betting woman I’d say she didn’t go to any of them until the usual list of people without actual medical qualifications had been worked through.

          • rational thinker

            I would agree with that theory.

        • alongpursuit

          Oh yes! I only encountered these types at the BFHI hospital where I had my baby. When we were at home with baby and getting really worried that she wasn’t getting enough to eat, I pulled out the business card of the lactation consultant I saw at the hospital. I called her and she told me it was highly unlikely that baby wasn’t getting enough to eat and that I should just keep her on the breast and work on the latch and (this still enrages me to this day) it would be better to take the baby to emergency rather than give her any formula. Sure, she covered her a**, but taking a 4/5 day old baby to the emergency department has its own risks. We ended up taking her to the children’s hospital where the doctor was like “WTF are you doing? Feed your baby!”. Thank goodness.

  • alongpursuit

    I understand this. I had this compulsion to EBF at any cost in the week after my first was born. I could not see the forest (real and immediate risk of serious illness or death) for the trees (potential future benefits of exclusive breastfeeding). Thankfully my boyfriend talked some sense into me, but I shudder to think of what might have happened. I had my first at a “baby friendly” hospital but I was very unprepared for the realities of breastfeeding and had no idea that insufficient breast milk was even a thing. As soon as baby exited my body it was all about the breastfeeding. I no longer felt like a patient of the hospital — just a milk machine. “Keep her on the breast” and “Don’t give up, if it hurts you’re doing it wrong” and “WHO says exclusive breastfeeding for 6 months” and “Nothing other than breastmilk unless medically indicated” over and over again. I had next to no sleep in the hospital and was shaken up after I fell asleep doing skin-to-skin there (nurse gave me a sleeping pill since it was in my regular prescriptions and I took it without thinking that I’d need to be up all night with baby with “second night syndrome”). When I’d fall asleep I’d wake up in a panic because I thought my baby was in the bed. When my nipples were raw and bleeding I was sent home with instructions to triple feed and an rx for APNO cream and slowly increase the time I breastfed as my nipples healed. My boyfriend was on his own emotional rollercoaster and not watching me descend into madness. I had a paper about counting diapers, but I didn’t know how much urine should be there and was counting a very small amount as a diaper. I had this serious compulsion to protect my baby at all costs and somehow in my head this would happen with breastmilk. Of course, I collapsed after about a week and my health visitor noticed that my baby wasn’t getting enough to eat… but she told me just to pump more! Well, there wasn’t more. I never made more than 60 mL in a day. So my boyfriend gave our baby formula on day 4 or 5 after she lost more than 10% of her weight and wasn’t having any substantial diapers and it’s been over 2 years now and I still can’t believe how things could have gone so wrong. Talk about breastfeeding derangement syndrome. So I understand what the mother in the article is doing. It’s absolutely horrible but she is not the only one to blame. This obsession with exclusive breastfeeding has got to go. It’s simply not possible with some moms and babies.

    • Grey Sweater

      That is insane. Of course you collapsed! I cannot understand why people have so little empathy for brand new birthing moms.

      I had no problem breastfeeding, but I am still shocked at the brainwashing done at the hospital. I had a very traumatic delivery and surgery immediately after. My husband begged the nurses to leave me alone for a chunk of time so I could sleep while he cared for baby. They came in every two hours day and night and forced me to nurse for three days and warned me over and over again about the dangers of supplementing. They also had me pumping in between feedings even though I never had an issue producing. I was in so much pain and so exhausted that I’m shocked I never dropped our baby onto the floor!

      I was so terrified because of this brainwashing that I didn’t leave the house for weeks, nursing and pumping constantly. I developed mastitis because I began over producing from all the stimulation. This obsession with avoiding formula seems borderline sadistic. I’m so sorry that you went through this.

      • PeggySue

        I’m so sorry YOU went through this too. I so hate the pressure about avoiding formula. Why does it have to be so hard?

        • Grey Sweater

          Seriously. Present both options! Let women choose! I actually WANTED to breastfeed and did successfully and still do at sixteen months. I didn’t need the guilt and brain washing.

    • PeggySue

      OMG how awful for you. I am so sorry this happened to you… What a terrible time.

  • rational thinker

    “His pediatrician is now getting concerned. He “highly suggested” that I
    supplement with formula. I don’t believe that is the solution since we
    don’t even know what’s wrong. I told him I would not be supplementing
    and that he needs more time to grow.”

    If this lady is not reported to CPS soon he IS going to die. It could be a digestive disorder but I highly doubt it. Her EGO is just too far gone she needs to be reported NOW before its too late.

    Her beliefs are probably being re enforced through lactivism echo chambers too. I just hope someone who knows her makes the call to CPS in time because either she has a big ego or she has Maunchausen by proxy.

    • AnnaPDE

      It’s not necessarily ego. Read what alongpursuit wrote: I can confirm first hand that she’s spot on how it feels to be in the midst of what she aptly terms breastfeeding derangement syndrome.

      • rational thinker

        Yes those feelings are pushed on a lot of new moms and it is not right but when a doctor or their own spouse intervenes and says “that’s it this kid needs formula” mostly the mom is just grateful she got permission to stop and give formula. I really don’t think that is the case with this mother who also wrote this comment -“100% natural 7 hour water birth, no vaccines for either of us, he never left my sight, uncomplicated delivery.” A comment like that is just a narcissist looking for attention. She is bragging about all the stuff that SHE did. She is looking for approval not help and she knows where to go to get it. This has been going on for 3 months and she has been told to give the baby formula but she outright refused.

  • The Bofa on the Sofa

    I’ve mentioned this before, when my kids were born, my wife was in a “mom’s group” led by the local LC. It was all about breastfeeding, for sure.

    But you know what else it was about? Growing, healthy babies. The group was obsessed with monitoring growth, and they kept a chart of the babies’ weights for the regulars, and if went too long without getting their 2 – 3 oz/week weight gain, they got concerned. At the 1 week checkup, the hospital did a before and after nursing weight to ensure that the breastfed babies were getting milk.

    But that is what you do when it is about the baby and not about mom’s ego.

  • Zornorph

    I just can’t imagine what goes through people’s heads sometimes…

  • Cartman36

    I do not understand this at all. Even is breastmilk had ALL of the benefits that have been speculated, those benefits would not outweigh the acute current risk of malnutrition / starvation. When my brother was in recovery he learned to focus on the things that will kill you first. In this case, malnutrition or starvation will kill that baby long before any of the “risks” of formula could ever materialize.

    Also, where are the other adults in this child’s life? Someone needs to take control that is not pot committed to EBF before that poor baby is permanently harmed.

    • FormerPhysicist

      Even if breastmilk had ALL of the benefits, this baby could be in the tiny percentage that can’t thrive on it. As Dr. Tuteur pointed out with her list of possible medical issues.