Monday, July 28, 2008

Less food, more worry

Something rather weird is happening with Sonny: The young fella's suddenly gone on a diet.

Well, maybe our 14-week-old isn't consciously worrying about how well he's fitting into his rompers. But since he's begun spending his weekdays at the infant care centre, his milk consumption has tailed off dramatically. The staff at the care centre conscientiously record how much expressed breast milk he glugs down, and the statistics tell the story. He's drinking perhaps half as much as he used to, by our estimates.

Admittedly, about six weeks ago, we blogged about how Pa felt Sonny was getting a little too plump ('So round is our baby'). But this sudden reduction in appetite seemed cause for concern rather than even limited celebration. Some obvious potential causes came to mind: He's unfamiliar with the new environment, strange hands are ministering to him and dispensing his feeds, there are alien fellow babies to get used to. Perhaps, too, his milk is tasting odd: Though we'd taken care to introduce him to bottle feeding, in preparation for the switchover to infant care, he had still been primarily breast-fed.

Still, if Sonny does not revert to something approaching his former intake by another week or so, we'll probably look into monitoring his weight and other signs that would indicate possible illness. Already, his temperature is tracked at the care centre as a matter of course. A visit to the doctor might not be ruled out. In the short term, however, if Sonny slims down somewhat, we're not going to hit the panic button. Babies are changeable beings, by all accounts, and we've been warned many times not to expect a smooth ride... as the jagged edge of surprise traced by many of these meandering posts amply confirms.

So it's about rolling with the punches, gleaning whatever good or benefit that can be offered by our current situation. It's occurred to us that many religions teach the spiritual value of voluntary fasts, to encourage compassion for the downtrodden and focus the mind on things beyond material accumulation. Sonny's a little young for such discipline to be applied, but we're vicariously living out his slashed food intake - and are so reminded that there are families and children in the world for whom 'eating less' is a brutal fact forced upon them by economic circumstances.

Our parenting anxieties and neuroses, however valid in our context, are still ever so minor when weighed against the daily crises that our less lucky counterparts must deal with.


Anonymous said...

Lol, just stumbled upon your blog. Great writing. Adding you to my Blogroll.

I have a 3 month old son myself and his appetite has dropped to half his original from a month ago.

Swing by my blog at when you're free.

Cloudsters said...

Good of you to drop by. Goodness, if your son's weight dropped by half, we'd better steel ourselves for some serious Sonny-shrinkage...

Anonymous said...

Are you still seeing a low appetite in your boy?

Tristan's appetitite is a shadow of its former self and has been for almost a month now.

He's not been cranky, and we know he's actively refusing the milk because he chirps up when the milk bottle goes away.

He used to be doing 1litre a day (water and powder mixed total), and now he's only doing between 600 to 700ml a day depending on his mood. My wife and I are practically tearing our hair out. :(

Cloudsters said...

Sonny's appetite is still poor when at the infant care centre (120 ml yesterday for the whole day, a new low). The staff told us it's because the expressed milk smelled terrible (it's stored in the fridge, along with meat and so forth). Could be true, since Sonny drank well when offered the fresh stuff from Mum's 'faucet'.

However, many people have told us that children do go through appetite swings. Just to keep us on our toes.