This is Not a Test...
Today, I heard news that made me feel like a failure...
|imagine from 123rp.com|
If you know me, you know that I am a huge advocate for breastfeeding. I have taken breastfeeding education courses and have had my share of difficulties in my own breastfeeding journey: low milk supply, lip tie, tongue tie, thrush, mastitis...I always have trouble getting my kids to gain weight the first few weeks as my body catches up to their needs. But we always get there and they do better once my milk is established. I have spent over 7 1/2 years of my life breastfeeding.
My first baby was my fastest growing baby. She was always in the 95th percentile for her weight and height. I always wondered if it was because I supplemented with 2-4 ounces of formula a day until she started eating solids.
My second I only supplemented with goat milk, and only for the first month or two. She was always in the 20th percentile range. I would worry that this was my fault because my milk wasn't good enough for her (though she was a happy, growing baby). My third had no supplementation and he was always around the 50th percentile. Then came my fourth, who was 10 lbs at birth and yet never doubled his birthweight until after he was a year old. He was exclusively breastfed and hung out in the 15th percentile range.
My current baby, like the last one, was born weighing almost 10 lbs and yet has stayed in the 15th percentile. Until his last checkup. And that is what made me cry...
At his 6 month appointment I found out that he's down to the 5th percentile for his weight (20th for his height). I took this news hard. I feel like I work so hard to get him nourished, and yet I I have failed because he is lower than I hoped he would be...
But I'm not a failure! My husband told me this. My friend told me this. And now I am telling myself, because I know I would say it to any other nursing mama.
My baby is healthy. He is growing and learning all the time. He has a nice little layer of chub on him, as all babies should. And I am giving him the best possible start by breastfeeding him.
And guess what? This percentile thing, it is not a test. It’s not like I passed with flying colors with one baby, did ok with another, and failed with three because they were in the lower range. Because anywhere from 1-100 is NORMAL.
This realization was peace-releasing for me, and that's why I wanted to share it with you mamas.
Maybe it’s not weight gain that is the worry for your child. Maybe he is taking a long time to read or develop gross motor skills like crawling. I just want to encourage you that each child is different, each one grows and learns at their own pace. The standards are created to help us see if there is a problem, but sometimes they don't meet the standards and there still is no problem. Not every flower blooms at the same rate.
Maybe God knew I needed a smaller baby because I was having this surgery and would be in a lot more pain carrying a big baby. Who knows?
Lots of love,