Fat babies are so cute. I’ve never had one myself. But my niece has rolls to spare. Heck, I have rolls to spare. But my exclusively breast fed babies, while healthy, never get fat.
I got a little alarmed last month as I kept weighing my five month old and she was not gaining weight. At that magical 6 months old they are supposed to double their birth weight. Rainbow Baby was fast approaching that number and was a pound and a half behind. She showed no signs of being unhappy. Other than that she was waking at night for an extra feeding. She has this frustrating habit of popping off the breast and yelling when the milk does not pour out. She is a little distractable and tends to lose interest when the initial letdown is over. We had become stuck in this rut. And knowing I was not a great milk producer – as every pumping session I ever attempted demonstrated to me – I got scared. Thank the Lord for a wonderful midwife/friend/doctor of Chinese medicine/homeopath. She identified right away that my Rainbow Baby was not getting the hindmilk letdown. The foremilk letdown was satisfying her, so she was not waiting for the more fattening hindmilk. She instructed me to feed baby the foremilk and then pump the hindmilk when baby decided she was done. I also tried having baby nurse on the same side every time she was ready to eat, within a two hour period.
Every time she ate and stopped before the fattening hindmilk, I faithfully pumped. I really hate pumping, but I really wanted some chubs on this baby. Fortunately, we started this over Christmas break, so there was not a lot of extra must-dos on my schedule. The first few days it was pump after every meal, except at night (Hey, I can barely get the baby to the breast in the middle of the night, pumping was out of the question). The pumping did a great job of increasing the milk supply. I added healthy fats to my diet: more cashews, avocados, tahini on wheat crackers. Every day I needed to pump less. As she got used to more milk she yelled less and stayed on more often for hindmilk. Sometimes she goes back for the seconds a little while later, but I am down to pumping once a day. I add the milk to dilute her foods or let Daddy feed it back to her in a bottle just before bed.
Next we changed Rainbow Baby’s diet up a bit. I always make my own baby food. I follow the diet recommended in a terrific book I used with my older girls Super Baby Food by Ruth Yaron. Baby was so insistent EVERY time she saw us eating that, though we waited to start our older two on any solids until six months, this one clearly needed to try solids sooner. We had moved from fruit, like bananas. to some grains. Amazing midwife instructed us to hold off on grains and concentrate on avocados and fruit for baby. To her daily avocado-papaya-breastmilk blend I added a few drops of a Vitamin D and DHA formulation for babies or strawberry flavored cod liver oil. Healthy fats are crucial for brain development. If my milk is skim, I want to be sure the fats are getting in there. I also add a 1/4 teaspoon of infant probiotics to keep the food flowing out the other end nicely.
So what is the result of three weeks worth of this work? Over a pound of growth! We are just 3 ounces short of our goal and on pace to meet it before she turns 7 months! She is getting heavy – and my arm hurts from holding her.