My boy/girl twins were born 5 weeks early and my daughter outweighed her brother by almost a pound at birth. At 2 hours old, my daughter could down bottles faster than anyone else in the NICU, while my son struggled to eat for the entire 12 days he was there. He was sent home at less than 5 pounds unable to eat a 2-ounce bottle in less than 30 minutes. But they told me he’d catch up, soon pass her in weight, and be eating like a champ in no time.
Three months later he weighed in at a not-so-whopping 8 pounds and he still struggled with eating. He was totally bottle-fed, had bad reflux, was on a mixture of formula and donor breastmilk, and every single feeding was an exhausting struggle. Meanwhile, his sister was outweighing him by almost 3 pounds. I tried not to compare them, and his pediatrician, whom we had loved and trusted with our oldest son, wasn’t concerned. I was told I could bring him in for weekly weight checks if I wanted, so I did.
I was always told he was gaining the minimum amount and some kids are just smaller than others. We just hoped that we would see weight gain when we started solid food in 2 more months. One night, I expressed my concerns to a friend over dinner, and she encouraged me to get a GI referral. I knew in my gut that something wasn’t right and that there had to be something the pediatrician was missing. Our son was so small and he just looked so unhealthy. I called our pediatrician the next day and told him I wanted a GI referral and appointment.
At that appointment, we heard the words “way too small” and “failure to thrive.” We. Were. Right.
There was something very wrong. We learned all about the science behind formula which I didn’t understand and I won’t try to explain. The bottom line is that we had been feeding our son food he couldn’t properly digest for his entire life. We switched formulas immediately, and within a month, he had gained 3 pounds. I knew if I wanted our son to thrive, we needed to find a new pediatrician.
The conversation that followed was awkward, it was a pain to transfer medical records, and our new pediatrician is not conveniently located to us at all. Our son is now 18 months old, and he is still significantly developmentally delayed. Sometimes I wonder if I had listened to my gut sooner if things would be different.
Now, I never recommend pediatricians to anyone. Instead, I say, do your research and find the one that works for you. Our old pediatrician was great for our oldest son and he came highly recommended by family and the community. But he was not the right pediatrician for my twins.
As a parent, you are the one who knows your child best. If you feel like something might even be slightly off, I encourage you to get a second opinion, or three or four. There will never be harm in being the most educated that you can be. Maybe nothing will be wrong! That’s great! I still believe your time gathering opinions was not wasted. But sometimes your gut will be right and will lead to life changing answers for your child, and YOU DID THAT, MAMA!