July 29, 2009

Because putting a seven week old baby on a diet is SUCH a good idea.

Yesterday we took Charlie for his second well check-up. He weighed in at a whopping 15 lbs 4 oz. He has almost doubled his birthweight! I was so proud...

But the pediatrician told us that he is overweight (greater than the 95th percentile for weight) and that we need to try to get him down to eating three ounces every three hours. (He currently eats an average of four ounces a feeding - sometimes more, sometimes less. Feedings during the day tend to be around two hours apart. At night they tend to be three or four hours apart.)

Edited to add: Charlie is in the 75th percentile for height and 80th percentile for his head.

I was very taken aback by this because it's not like we're forcing food down his throat - he's just a big eater. He doesn't spit up a lot, so we thought all was okay. The pediatrician recommended that we try to get him to take a pacifier more often, but Charlie doesn't really care for pacifiers. He will sometimes take one, but it's not a sure thing like it is with some babies. To me, it's great that he's not totally dependent on a pacifier: less weaning we have to do later.

My first instinct to the doctor's suggestion was a WTF one. I was just shocked at the thought of putting Charlie on a diet. I even asked the doctor about just feeding him when he's hungry, which is what we've always done. To me, it does not make any kind of sense to try to schedule a seven week old's feedings. Charlie has always let us know exactly what it is he needs.

But after we left, I began to feel really bad, like I had somehow failed as a mother because I'd let my kid eat too much. Roy and I spent some time discussing it and realized that we felt that the rules had somehow changed all of a sudden - after all, the other pediatrician (who did Charlie's circumcision and saw him for his first well check-up) said that we should just feed him when he's hungry and that you can't really put a baby on a diet. That pediatrician is in the same practice as ours, by the way. Talk about mixed messages!

But we decided we'd try out our doctor's recommendation. So I spent yesterday trying to distract Charlie from eating as much as often. It was okay at first, because he took a nice long nap. But after that it was truly a disaster. I ended up with a much-too-fussy baby for entirely too long. And then I ended up breaking down and feeding him more because I knew that's what he wanted. Sure enough, he went right to sleep afterwards.

By the end of the day, we pretty much threw the pediatrician's recommendation out the window and went back to feeding on demand. So he's a big baby! I have always felt that in time his weight gain will stabilize as he becomes more mobile. I find it hard to believe that we are damning him to a life of obesity just based on how much formula he consumes. If he is anything like Roy or me, he will actually be skinnier-than-skinny through his childhood and into younger adulthood, when he will eventually settle into his body (and hopefully won't become overweight).

I don't think that this pediatrician is evil, but it seems to me that he is a member of the "scheduling" movement, and we really aren't - at least not right now. I think Charlie is still too young to be on a rigid schedule. This is a fundamental difference that we didn't pick up on when we interviewed him. So we're in the market for a second opinion and probably a new pediatrician as well.

Anyone want to weigh in on this? Anyone out there with similar experiences?

12 comments:

Anonymous said...

What was his height percentile? I have a big baby (who is 9 months now) and she has always been very high for weight but also height...our ped. says if she is well proportioned it is not a problem. Really, you have to do what works for you, I just always try to be careful that I don't use food for my baby as a solution for everything. I try to make sure I am not feeding her everytime she is fussy, just assuming she is hungry. I try to make sure I have tried "is she wet, bored, tired, etc.?" first and then go for the food to be sure she is actually hungry. I don't want her to fall into the habit early of thinking food solves all these problems. And, if she still seems hungry - then I feed her. If it is what she wants, she's got it. (She could have a pony if it would just get her to stop crying sometimes!)

Leslie said...

Anonymous: Thanks so much for your comment; I edited my post with Charlie's height percentile (which is 75%).

Angie Eats Peace said...

Sorry I have no experience to share, but I think it is just basic intuitive eating that someone should eat when they are hungry.

Bex said...

Hmm, tough one. Did his percentiles change significantly since his last visit? If he was 75th before and 75th now then he's just a big baby. From what I've read, there is only cause for concern if it changes, say from 25th percentile to 75th.
This may or may not be the case, but he might be fussy and want to eat for comfort rather than truly being hungry. That being said, I would probably be doing what you're doing. You're his mom (and dad!) and you know him best.

Anamika said...

First let me tell you we get mixed messages from different doctors in our group as well. So I mostly schedule appointments with the same doctor every time. If I can't, then there is only one other doctor I will see. The third doctor, I do not like and will ONLY see him if I absolutely have to.

That said, I agree with what Bex said. Also, Lil Man has always been small and there was *some* concern because he had slowed on growing for a while. Then our doc just said he must be a small kid. The same goes for Lil Miss. He's not big on the percentile thing and he's definitely big on mother's intuition. I dig him a lot :)

Myra said...

fwend, since I happen to be dating a pediatrician, I asked him to opine on this matter. Here's what he said (with some minor edits by me): It depends on what wieght percentile the baby was in at birth. If the baby is just big, that's one thing, but if (for example) the baby went from being in the 50th wieght percentile at birth to the 95th percentile by 7 weeks, then he is probably eating too much. It's not like being overweight when you are self-feeding (as an adult), though: this can be easily corrected. Not a big deal.

Just another opinion. Hope it helps.

Crazy Daisy said...

Wow. this is crazy stuff. I have no experience to share, however I would say as long as he is healthy, and is active, he will be just fine!

phairhead said...

yr baby doctor is jumping the gun a bit! as long as Charlie isn't spitting up, he's fine

Anonymous said...

Aunt Mandy and Uncle Lua think you guys are great parents and that doctor is just reading from a different book than you are right now. We know that when Charlie's done eating, he pinches his little yips together and won't take the bottle. He eats when he's hungry and stops when he's done. I think that throwing the recommendation out was a good call.

Melinda said...

I don't think there is any reason to limit his food. That makes no sense to me really. If you were stuffing liquid twinkies down him that would be a different story. For now just focus on meeting his needs. If the Ped keeps up on the diet thing, I'd look for a new doc. IMO ;)

Brenda said...

I agree 100% with Melinda's post.

Growing Up Cameron said...

I would trust your instinct.

Our old pedi told me I was under feeding Cameron. I'm not going to lie, the moment I left his office I cried. It's hard not to feel like a horrible mother/person when a Dr. tells you you're doing something wrong.

We changed pedis. Our new one is very interactive w/Cameron & says he's in picture perfect health.

Some drs are A-Holes. Babies will not eat if they're not hungry.