Weighty Issues

Two months ago, I was concerned about Inigo and decided to try to find a paediatrician that was sympathetic to, and supportive of breastfeeding. I was worried that his weight gain was a little slow, but I didn’t think that putting him on formula was the answer.

I did some research, and found a woman with a clinic at Westmead called Dr Patricia McVeagh. I had to wait two months for an appointment, and considered cancelling on more than one occasion. The initial consultation was quoted as “up to $300”, so we were obviously a little concerned about spending that much money when we could see the hospital paed for free.

So the 3rd of April comes around, and I hadn’t cancelled the appointment, so we went.

The same morning we also had an appointment with the hospital paediatrician, who said to up the dose of Losec, keep his head elevated for an hour after each feed, and give him rice cereal at his midday feed. I left in tears, mute, unable to express my frustration and powerlessness in the face of his paternalistic manner.

Thank god I had kept the other appointment!

Emily and I had planned to spend the day together, she found me in the waiting room before the second appointment, and she and Josephine were able to mind Inigo while the doctor chatted to me.

She spent ages with me, asked about his entire life story, and said that she doesn’t think he has reflux, that he DOES have a tongue tie, he DOES have a high palate, and she isn’t surprised that I had trouble breastfeeding!

She couldn’t find any obvious reason for his slow weight gain, but since he was the same weight that he had been 4 weeks previously, she is concerned. That one word was both a validation of everything I had been worried about, and an invitation to have all sorts of horrible fears traipse through my head.

The World Health Organisation recommends starting “family foods” (AKA solids) at 6 months, or when your baby shows interest. Starting earlier has long been recommended by doctors concerned about slow weight gain, but it isn’t an answer when you don’t yet know the question. We were sent for a series of blood tests, a urine sample was collected, and I collected a poo sample for pathology the next day.

Josephine was wonderfully supportive and helpful, and Emily was a star – she read the pathology request and interpreted the medical jargon for me. J babysat the boy while Mark and I went out to dinner with Emily and Clare, which was a splendid end to a horribly stressful day. Who better to reassure a paranoid mother than two doctors 🙂

So we have a follow up appointment on thursday, and this time I feel comfortable that I won’t be fobbed off and patronised, and that we WILL get to the bottom of what is happening for my poor skinny little guy.