I want to start with a disclaimer that this thread isn't for a second designed to start a BF vs. formula debate. I just want to share my experience with failure to thrive as a mum who was so militant about "breast is best" that she inadvertently starved her son for 10 weeks when trying to do the right thing.
I just received copies of the photos that were taken when I arrived at the Breastfeeding Centre of WA with my son in tow. He was one day off being 5 months old in these photos and weighed 3.862kg. It's very hard for me to even look at them, let alone share them with people and I wasn't even sure where on the Hub to put them. I considered Breastfeeding Support because really, it's people like me who seek all the support they can and find no answers that need to see them. Instead I decided to put them here for anyone who wants to look because I don't want to bring down the tone of that section of the forum.
I am still quite pro-breastfeeding but for anyone who has ever felt an ounce of guilt at giving your child formula, please don't. These pictures are proof positive that while we have "breast is best" drummed into us, that's not always the case.
We saw many, many health professionals in the first five months of my son's life. From the time we first started having trouble at 11 weeks, we had his tongue and upper lip ties lasered, saw a lactation consultant, GP, MCHN and paed. I weighed him weekly with the MCHN and had extra appointments for check ups. I got my own set of baby scales and weighed him before and after nappy changes and feeds. I weighed all nappies on a set of kitchen scales and tracked everything from the weights to feed and sleep times. None of these people suggested formula, though my DH sat me down on the Saturday before I went to the BFC (which was my last ditch effort to keep exclusively breastfeeding) and begged me to buy a tin of formula because of all the stress it was causing.
At the end of the day, you don't know what you don't know and this is my first baby. I knew he wasn't gaining weight but I didn't realise how incredibly unhealthy he looked, he just looked like my son. When I look at these pictures now, I barely recognise the baby in the photos and I wonder how I didn't spot it. The LC I saw that day at the BFC told me at my last appointment that she knew the moment we walked in the door. Her immediate recommendation after taking his extensive medical history (the most thorough she'd seen due to all the notes I'd taken!) was to give him formula and, in fact, she went straight over to the hospital to get some for him right then.
Anyway, without further ado these are the pictures. This is what a baby looks like when they have failure to thrive.