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Am I going to be a controlling mum? - Help me understand myself please!

(43 Posts)
whosthis Mon 21-Jan-13 21:06:30

Hi everyone, I know it makes no sense to get angry with a 3 months old just because he doesn't want to "enough" milk as I deem he should. My brain understand 100% why it's a joke and why it is extremely unnecessary. I love him and I wouldn't really be angry with him. But at that moment, I just couldn't control myself and almost jumped over the roof. confused

DS is a relatively little boy since he was breastfed. I attributed that to my low-quality milk and was eventually obliged to stop bf and use formula only. Comparing with other babies in the clinic or in post-natal group, his size just couldn't compare with anyone else. His weight falls into 9th percentile. Therefore, I have been always concerned if he could catch up and worried otherwise he might be bullied in the school and ect.

He didn't have a lot yesterday, about 810ml. Fair enough, as he didn't burp well and the gas in his system made him uncomfortable to have enough. But today, each time after I prepared the bottle with full hope that he could finish it (about 190-200), he would lose his interest after having finished less than a half and then the rest just became frustrating and tiring. In the end, I just had to give up. It happened at the 2nd, and the 3rd time of feeding of the day already. I was hoping the 4th time it could get better as his hunger might be built up and therefore have a bit more. But not really... I constantly tried this and that, all the tricks I could think about and burp him till my both arms so sore that I could barely raise them up. Nothing worked. He didn't seem to be upset by the wind this time and just didn't want! I know, I swear that I understand that baby's appetite can differ one day to the other. But after he happened to brush the bottle on to the floor using his arm in an intention to get away from the bottle, I became really angry. I couldn't help myself and I picked the bottle up and knocked it on the table hard, very hard. Once, twice, again and again. I know, I know I shouldn't feel like that, it really isn't necessary and I was over-reacting. But I just couldn't stop feeling the frustration, the worry and the anger.

I put him on the sofa and stepped back sitting in the chair on the other side of the room and felt hopeless to calm down myself or put my emotion aligned with the rational part of my brain. I knew it's dangerous to put him alone on the sofa, but I just couldn't face him. I could only manage to look at him from a distance otherwise I would feel suffocated...

As I said, I love him and I am perfectly aware that child's appetite would wary everyday and as my husband said DS wouldn't eat normally all the time until he's an adult someday. I can't understand if it is because I am (going to be) a controlling mum or it's just because I am simply overworried.

Did any of you experience the same or similar feeling? Or maybe anyone could help me understand what's wrong with me? I am a bit afraid that when he's older, I would make him and myself really unhappy just because of silly little things for which he wouldn't follow the way I want him to follow...

whosthis Mon 28-Jan-13 15:31:33

Just weighed DS this morning - on track, still on the 9th percentile.

I was quite anxious until this morning as he's still having nowhere close to 900ml per day at 15 weeks.

But, yes, in the end, as you all said, his body knows how much he needs.

Thanks to you all. dayshiftdoris your post is so touching. Thank you for the support you've extended!

thixotropic Tue 22-Jan-13 19:57:26

What everyone else said. You're doing fine.

And it especially Fucks me right off when hcp's don't. Understand basic statistics. Count (!) me in on the mission.

SushiPaws Tue 22-Jan-13 19:44:11

I remember this like it was yesterday. Dd wouldn't eat, from milk then to solids, I thought this was making her sleep so bad. She was a terrible sleeper, still not great.

I carried on and bottled up the rage, I began to hate her. At 9 months I had to stop myself from being violent. I went to the doctor, got help, she's now 5, eats anything I put in front of her. She's skinny and long, but healthy and happy.

You've had a difficult time. You've stopped bf because your lo wasn't gaining, so moved to formula and that's not worked. My hv said to me, it's not just about the weight, it's about the way they look. Does this baby look healthy? Maybe they're just little or big.

Please go see you're hv, if that's no good then go see a doctor you trust.

You're not alone and it's good to talk about it.

fixarupa Tue 22-Jan-13 19:26:37

I really don't think that the way you behaved today will be any future indicator of what sort of mother you are going to be.

However, it does sound like you are a little overwhelmed and stressed with your present situation, and correct me if I am wrong, this was a bit of an overreaction.

Is there any reason to think your baby is underweight? He could just be a small baby. Someone has to be at the bottom of the chart, and this is perfectly normal. My healthy ds1 was born on the 90th and zoomed all the way down to the 0.9th percentile so you can imagine my worry. Referred to paeds, all was well and still is. My answer second time around was to not have my Ds2 weighed at the clinic very often to avoid all the stress as I knew he was gaining well and healthy.

Don't worry about how your actions today might have affected your baby. As long as you have kept him safe, it is perfectly ok to walk away and take a breather. Most mothers will have done that at some point.

What you need to work out is what is stressing you out so much and can anything be done to alleviate it? If necessary get a referral to a paediatrician to rule out any problems then you can have peace of mind.

mixedpeel Tue 22-Jan-13 19:11:47

I am about to make it my personal mission to make sodding HVs understand the growth chart and what percentiles actually mean
CommanderShepard I will join you in that mission. I'm a way off HVs now, but this thread is bringing back memories of their obsession with the chart.

Being on the 9th centile doesn't mean "ooh dear, this baby is too small", it means most babies will be bigger than him/her.

It reminds me of when we were referred to a paediatrician when DS1 was 'late' walking. I think he was about 16mo at the time. She said "Well, if the book says babies start walking anywhere between 9m and 18m, someone has to be the 18 month old."

Stats are a bit weird, and it is unhelpful when professionals like HV don't fully understand them themselves.

salopia Tue 22-Jan-13 17:43:56

I remember feeling exactly the same way with my first, but its just the way he is , hes always been a grazer never clears a plate even now and hes a 19 yr old gym fanatic ! My second had the opposite issue guzzled so much he was sick ! still a bottomless pit now, just try to relax around food your baby is lucky to hava a mum who loves him so much.

CommanderShepard Tue 22-Jan-13 17:26:54

I am about to make it my personal mission to make sodding HVs understand the growth chart and what percentiles actually mean.

hellsbellsmelons Tue 22-Jan-13 15:42:10

Agree with a couple of the others about the teat size.
I had this issue when my DD was a baby.
I also got very frustrated at times.
Once she would not stop crying and I had to put her in her cot and lay myself in the bath (downstairs) which is the only place I couldn't hear her and just cry a bit and get myself together.
It happens and you dealt with it just fine.
Mine is so old now that I have forgotten most other things but listen to the other newer mums on here, they have given some great advice.

Bakingtins Tue 22-Jan-13 15:19:07

There seem to be two issues here.
Firstly that you are concerned or have been made to feel concerned and anxious about your son's weight and milk intake. It sounds like you've had very poor advice and that whoever is advising you doesn't understand the wretched charts. They describe normal growth patterns, the 50% line is not a target. Of every hundred perfectly well, thriving, normal appetite babies, 9% will be under the 9th centile. There is NOTHING wrong with that as long as they are approximately following that line, putting on some weight and otherwise well. I've had two BF babies, one a chunker on the 50% centile, one dribbling along 2nd and sometimes falling off the chart. I was put under so much pressure 2nd time round with the little one, and I am so pleased he wasn't my first baby, I was secure enough to follow my instincts that said he knows how much food he needs.
Secondly, that you are finding the whole thing a bit overwhelming. You did the right thing to put baby down and take it out on something inanimate. Next time choose a safer place, but everyone will have had moments like that. Are you getting some support and some time out for yourself? If you are struggling more generally with similar feelings, rather than it being an isolated moment of frustration, talk to HV or GP.
You don't inevitably have to be a controlling mum, even if that's your default position. You are obviously self-aware enough to know your response today wasn't particularly rational, you can choose to behave differently another time. Like every mum you need to find your own balance between having total control and letting your child be his own person. You can't control everything because he is an individual with his own ideas about things, you can control some things because you care about him and in some things you know best. I find it helpful to give my kids choices between options all of which I'm happy with, and I choose to let some things go so that we're not arguing all the time (pick your battles). There shouldn't be any battles with a new baby though, plenty of time for that when they are two and defiant!

PignutSalamander Tue 22-Jan-13 14:54:31

I had to laugh ( in an affectionate way) at honey teas description of being self conscious of being out with a 5 week old at 6kg. My dd was nearly 7 mo before she weighed 6 kg! People used to think she 3 mo. All these things are within the enormous range that is normal.

She wasn't even on the bloody centiles ever. She is weenie. After they started weighing her ever day (telling me that she neede to have put on 2oz over night!) I stopped letting them weigh her. She is a year now, still eats like a horse and doesn't really gain. She is still wearing 6-9 mo clothes.

As long as they aren't pale and listless and are gaining something. They are fine. It makes me so bloody angry the amount of upset new mums are put through by the people who are supposed to help and support them.

Your going to be a great mum, you care enough to worry.

diddl Tue 22-Jan-13 07:49:27


Sounds as if you´ve had bad advice to me!

Why do you think he is small due to breastfeeding?

How big are you & his father?

My husband & I were both small babies-but I´m 5ft & he´s just over 6!

JingleUpTheHighway Tue 22-Jan-13 07:44:57

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

ivanapoo Tue 22-Jan-13 07:41:32

honeytea I have seriously considered getting some kind of armpit decoration, DS stares so intently at it.

I got really frustrated with then 3 week old DS - he was hungry but had got really worked up and just would not latch. Luckily DH was there and I could ask him to take the baby away for a minute while I calmed down (and then felt incredibly guilty). I think the only Eason we get frustrated is because for one reason or another we are worried something is wrong - or we're doing something wrong, more accurately. I don't know a mother who said they never felt like that at some point.

honeytea Tue 22-Jan-13 02:38:30

I have the opposite problem with feeding but the same problem with feeling annoyed with the situation.

My breastfed ds feeds all the time, if he is with me he wants to be feeding, I worry that he isn't getting enough stimulation because he spends all his time looking at my armpit (he doesn't give eye contact when feeding he likes to concentrate on eating, he gives lovely eye contact when he isn't feeding)

Ds is 6 kg and only 5 weeks old, when I take him to baby groups people assume he is a much older baby but he behaves like a 5 week old feeding and sleeping most of the time.

I feed ds and then give ds to dp as when dp has him he isn't so obsessed with eating. Dp often sits ds on his knee and continues to watch tv/read e-mails/read ds gets bored after a couple of mins and starts shouting, I then get really annoyed with dp for putting no effort into entertaining ds and I end up feeding ds to calm him down. There have been tines I have sat and cried because I felt like ds just wanted me for my milk, he didn't want to chat to me just suck all day long.

thetrackisback Tue 22-Jan-13 00:26:05

Also baby might be teething so try a bit of teething gel before feeding.

thetrackisback Tue 22-Jan-13 00:24:42

He just needs to follow the line rather than go up a centile. As long as he is gaining weight then try and relax. In a few weeks you could start weaning and he might prefer this. Also as another poster said height need a faster flowing teat. Also give him a bit of aired water as he might be thirsty. If he's had breast milk the formula might be filling up more quickly so might not need as much.

I promise you we have all been there. I was obsessed with my first baby my 2nd and third (twins) have hardly been weighed. It's not as important as you think as long as he is healthy and alert and has wet nappies. Good luck! X

swanthingafteranother Tue 22-Jan-13 00:10:02

Just a thought... could bottle be too "slow"? Are you using a newborn teat perhaps when he is ready to move onto faster flow bottle. That can mean baby has to work quite hard to suck, and gets bored.

If you feel frustrated, just imagine how you would feel if someone was trying to feed you cake (delicious cake it is true) and you had had enough, although they kept insisting you have another slice. I think if he is batting it away, he doesn't want anymore and you have to respect how he feels. He has opinions, and babies do regulate how much they eat/drink if they are allowed to. They are not just vessels to be filled.

fwiw I was feeding my nephew on Sat who is a bonny 3 months old, usually very greedy, and he kept angrily spitting out the bottle his mother had assured me he would want all of ( I was babysitting) I felt most anxious (it was the bedtime feed) that I was not giving him enough, yet he just didn't want any more. HELP! In the end I just had a break, walked around for a bit with him, burped him so more, tried him again, and he felt a bit hungrier and drank the rest. But actually I didn't need to try the rest...he probably would have done perfectly well without it, that was just me being anxious babysitter trying to do right thing. I remember when bfng that there really was no big feeds, except first thing in morning it was just a series of top-ups and bottle feeding that echo that in first months - it may be more to a baby's natural rhythm to have little and often.


Yfronts Tue 22-Jan-13 00:05:59

Just keep in mind that your boy is just perfect the way he is!

dayshiftdoris Mon 21-Jan-13 23:58:12

If your baby was born on the 9th centile and is still around the 9th centile then that sounds just fab to me...

Mine was born on the 98th and fell to the 50th after urine and chest infections... when I raised it a pediatrician asked me what my problem was - 'Do you not want your baby to be average?'...
Anyway - 8yrs on and passed that awful time he is on the 98th centile for height and weight grin

I remember the despair... putting him down and walking away was exactly the right thing to do tho next time I too would go with the cot, bouncy chair or his mat...
As for banging his bottle - I threw a parenting book at a wall once... it deserved it wink

I do wonder about the support you've had from professionals and if it hasnt been more pressure than support?

That is the website which contain the guidelines that HVs are supposed to follow when using growth charts... scroll down and there are parents leaflets or just read the professional guidelines.... I think you will find them reassuring.

MorningHasBroken Mon 21-Jan-13 23:53:42

Whosthis, I have a 7 month old who's been off the bottom of the scale, currently tracking the 0.4th. I'm lucky to have a very understanding hv who seems to place as much emphasis on 'he looks healthy and happy' as the weight itself.

It's normal to get angry and stressed - you're tired, you don't get a break, no training and there's no manual to tell you what's right our wrong. If this was a 'normal' job we'd have handed our notices in long ago citing poor work conditions!

Have you got a neighbour or family/friend close by that can relieve you for a few minutes when you're finding it too much?

Yfronts Mon 21-Jan-13 23:44:21

Firstly, stop being so worried about the weight. You are projecting lots of problems onto your child and you will create lots of future eating problems if you continue with this feeding obsession.

Babies do drink more sometimes and sometimes they drink less - it's just the way babies are. I think you need to wire brush all the measurements out on the side of the bottle (so you can't read them!) and just let your baby take the lead about how much he wants to eat.

I have four kids, two of which are on the 0.4 percentile, one of which is on the 9th percentile and the last one is under the very bottom percentile. They were all born a bit heavier and then got lighter. They are the way god intended them to be - just perfect. They are wiry, bright, coordinated verbally and physically, able to stand up for themselves etc. Yes they were so much smaller then other huge babies in baby groups but you will fine that over a number of years most children move percentiles.

wibblyjelly Mon 21-Jan-13 23:34:12

whosthis, I feel exactly the same. DS is gaining weight fine, and is a very happy chappy. However, I have in my head that he should be having a set amount of formula each day. Problem is its my set amount, and not his! He starts the feed well, then halfway through, bats it away in a very 'I don't want this mummy!' manner. I've been in tears quite a few times over the past few weeks.
Its now apparent that ds is teething, which is probably affecting him. Could your DC be teething maybe?

SquinkiesRule Mon 21-Jan-13 23:33:56

First you sound like a lovely Mum and second your milk was as good as anyone elses.
I remember back in the 80's (yes I'm old) there was a study done on quality of breast milk or some such title, they actually tested milk from a well to do woman with a very healthy diet living in a city, a woman who's diet was not as healthy and a woman living in poverty in an African nation with a very restricted diet. All had good quality milk, so I doubt unless you have malnutrition or some strange disease that your milk was of poor quality, give yourself a pat of the back for breastfeeding at all in this day and age.
All babies are different, some thrive on only milk others won't gain or grow no matter what without medical intervention.
What is important is the baby gets fed and happy and you are happy, no matter how it's done.
So stop beating yourself up and be nice to yourself, you sound like you are doing all you can your baby will be fine. Sometimes they sip at the bottle and eat very little and other times they gulp it down like you haven't fed them in a week.

OlivetheotherReindeer Mon 21-Jan-13 23:18:33

Oh gosh, I could have written this. It's so hard when they don't feed well. Please get him checked for reflux and silent reflux. Have a look at the boards around here for info. Silent reflux was the root of our problem, small bottles or bottle refusing. It's so much better now with meds and with weaning. Yes, some babies don't eat to a curve or chart but get a referral to a paed to put your mind at rest. It's so hard but it passes. Promise.

FannyBazaar Mon 21-Jan-13 23:02:56

It is so very hard to be relaxed and calm when your child isn't one of those plump babies that never has trouble gaining weight. You are right though, it is something that can manifest itself in different ways when he's older. Is he otherwise healthy?

Have you checked the amounts you are giving him fit in with the guidelines for his weight? The NHS has a bottle feeding leaflet [] which recommends 150-200ml per kg per day. Around 8 feeds a day would be normal but formula manufacturers instructions suggest 6 or maybe even 5 large feeds for that age rather than 8 small ones.

If he is following his centile line and not dropping, it is fine.

My skinny child has never been one to eat loads but has robust health and great strength. Of course I'd love him to eat more but what he eats is good food so I have to just let him get on with it. It's hard isn't it and we all compare to others with plump babies even though we shouldn't.

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