There are two types of people when it comes to diagnosing a medical issue: those who turn to the internet for advice and those who trust and listen to doctors. I am the later. Yet not one medical professional over the course of six months could tell us what was wrong with Wyatt. Not one. “Why won’t he eat. What is wrong with Wyatt”, were phrases my husband and I repeated almost daily.
On one particular bad evening when Wyatt had barely eaten at all day, I found myself at 3am doing an Internet search for “why will my baby not eat” and one page led to another and I stumbled upon an article Rowena Bennett wrote about feeding aversions and I found her book (we read it in two days) and then found Lindsay via the Nourish Consultancy.
And then I started reading the client stories....and I couldn’t stop the tears from rolling down my face. Each family’s story was so similar to ours and the way they described how they got to a low place was unfortunately our story as well. If you are reading this you may be at this dark place too. And I want you to remember this moment because you finally found the answer and your baby will get better. Ours did - almost immediately, which has made the guilt and pain I feel we put Wyatt through the last six months to be unbearable at times. But - in hindsight we did what we thought was best. And that was trying everything we could to get Wyatt to eat and listened and followed to every thing the doctors told us to do.
And that is why I am sharing this story. Because the medical community is not educated about feeding aversions and they are overlooked and misdiagnosed. Had someone told us like Lindsay did “your baby is very tall and he may not need to eat as much; these percentile curves don’t necessarily fit for every baby; your baby is thriving otherwise and may be small, but he’s not sick” - we would have saved hundreds of dollars in medical bills, I would have kept breastfeeding, we wouldn’t have pressured him to eat more than his body wanted to, we wouldn’t have given him medicine he didn’t need to take, or hypoallergenic formula he hated, we would have slept more, cried and stressed less. We would have actually enjoyed our first few months with our little newborn....and this is time we will never get back.
Since working with Lindsay and after reading Rowena’s book, Wyatt went from a baby who hated eating and barely ate, to a baby who enjoys eating and consumes 28-30 oz a day. We are now working on solids and will use the same techniques we learned and apply them.
I am hopeful we can look back on the first six months of Wyatt’s life and remember the good times, but we desperately want to close this painful chapter. I know the sting of what we experienced will be there for awhile but sharing this story to help others feels like the first step in the healing process.
This will hit home for those who are experiencing it, but when your baby doesn’t eat and no one can tell you why because he or she isn’t getting better from the “let’s try this and see if it works”, approach the doctors have, it feels impossible to see a way out of this deep, cloudy hole.
The good news you found this website and Lindsay and you didn’t give up. You will see a brighter day and I can tell you it looks amazing.
Here are our “stats”:
-baby born 8 lbs 9 oz - 75 percentile
-nursing but baby likes to cluster feed and falls asleep after taking a small amount
-1 month appointment baby drops to 50 percentile
-2 month appointment baby drops to 35 percentile
-freak out begins....weekly weight checks, hospital visits every other week, see specialists, enlist the help of feeding therapists
-no more nursing so we can meticulously track baby’s intake via a bottle, pumping exclusively and adding in formula to boost calories for baby
-see multiple lactation consultants and dr who say baby has a tongue and lie tie and a weak suck
-tongue and lip tie procedure done at 7 weeks
-baby doesn’t want to eat and cries when fed, arches his back and then vomits
-see drs who diagnose baby with acid reflux, pump him with meds
-drs say baby is failure to thrive, has infantile anorexia. Baby doesn’t want to eat much. Lots of crying and sleepless nights. Stress level is extremely high.
-3 month appointment baby drops to 12 percentile and we are really worried and see a GI specialist. Prescribed heavy meds and baby vomits when we give them to him.
-4 month appointment baby doesn’t pass two physical milestones (head lag and baring weight on legs) and we are sent to neuromuscular dr. Thinks baby may have a genetic disease. So worried and stressed something is seriously wrong.
-5 month appointment baby drops to 4 percent. Hard to sleep at night, every feed is this terrible, stressful battle. Baby cries and cries and we have to swaddle him to keep him from squirming away. Spend a lot of time emailing and on the phone with baby’s team of doctors.
-6 months baby only eats when a video is on in front of his face and he looks comatose and checked out. Is very tiny but also very tall.
Words by Sarah, Washington, DC, USA