The Sadie Saga Continues

Sadie is on a hunger strike again. She screams when we try to feed her. She jerks her head frantically from side to side in an effort to get away from the torture device that is her formula. When she takes a couple of ounces, it’s such an empty victory because I know she won’t take more. When she drinks a little I really should try to see the bottle as half empty rather than half full – but stress has a way of taking over your emotions and completely blocking optimism.

I know there are bigger problems to have but I don’t think my body can tell the difference between “losing my house” stress and “baby won’t eat much” stress. It feels the same. Heart palpitations, panic, depression, obsession, tears, playing Annie Lennox sad songs over and over, eating rice…

I’m waiting for her GI to call me back and tell me what he thinks – in his professional $300 opinion. I just don’t want to end up going the feeding tube route. Please. I. just. don’t. It’s so weird because she did great for almost a week and now we’re back to fighting over every feeding and then waking her two times a night to eat just to make up for the calories she won’t take during the day.

The doctor had prescribed that appetite stimulant which I broke down and filled yesterday. The problem is, it’s a hormone and although there are no immediate problems being seen with the drug, how do I know she won’t get her period when she’s 8 and I’ll be kicking myself? And then of course, when I call the doctor and tell him she has boobs that totally fill out her tube top at 7, he’ll blame the chicken we eat. “It contains a lot of hormones, that chicken. Much more than the hormones she took as a baby. Please don’t sue me.”

Matilda on the other end of the spectrum eats like she just finished a season competing on Survivor at every meal. I swear in a few days she’ll be going to the fridge and pouring herself a tumbler of formula on her own. She’s huge. So there’s that.

Posted by Stefanie Wilder Taylor on April 14, 2008 6:44 pmUncategorized36 comments  


  1. loriedunn said,

    I’m new to your blog – but I feel I owe you some comfort since I just finished reading your “Sippy Cup” book. Loved it – especially the chapter on feeling like your THE parent and your husband was just around to lend a hand. Hang in there with Miss Sadie! I’m hardly a professional and I’m sure you’re getting good advice so I won’t AlphaMom and add my own! But as you mentioned in vaious ways throughout your book – it’s not forever. One day you’ll be fighting to keep her out of the refridgerator!

    | April 14, 2008 @ 8:24 pm

  2. MsPrufrock said,

    My daughter had feeding issues – in her case, reflux, and I was driven absolutely mad in the first 6 months of her life. She was small and not gaining weight quickly, and every time it seemed I was confident that she would finally gain some damn weight and be ok, some idiot would smile and say, “OHMIGOD, she’s so dinky!!” Yeah, cheers for that.

    I’m sorry your’re going through this. The unpredictability of it all is infuriating, isn’t it? I hope your GI is helpful and the path doesn’t lead to a feeding tube. Good luck!

    | April 14, 2008 @ 8:33 pm

  3. Becky said,

    Dude, when Sadie gets teeth, I’m so taking her to McDonalds. Everyone likes McDonalds, right?

    I’m sorry, Stef. Seriously, this must be so discouraging.

    | April 14, 2008 @ 8:44 pm

  4. Stefanie said,

    Lorie and anyone else who has advice and is reluctant to share…SHARE AWAY. It can’t hurt! Sure, in my head I may think, “I’ve tried that, asshole.” But I will still love you for trying to help. The more advice I get the less xanax I need to take.

    | April 14, 2008 @ 8:45 pm

  5. lilfootsmommy said,

    Awww..hang in there…take a deep breath and think positive. I’ll be praying for all of you!!! Chin up!

    | April 14, 2008 @ 8:45 pm

  6. Lindy R said,

    Stef, my son is a little chow-hound. And then suddenly he wasn’t eating — he was doing the fight the bottle thing just like you described with Sadie. Turned out he had a mouth full of canker sores that were irritated every time he ate. (We have no idea where he got them — think it may have been an auntie who was kissing on him). I hope that’s not the case with Sadie, but have you checked? And NOT that you need ONE MORE THING TO DO, but do you think that the formula is the problem? Have you switched brands, or considered making your own?

    | April 14, 2008 @ 9:00 pm

  7. Kathy said,

    I’ve always been under the impression that kids don’t starve. They eat when they’re hungry…maybe I’m retarded, but why is it so important to be pushing the bottle so hard. She’ll eat if she’s hungry…right?? I don’t know. I’ve never been in your shoes. A baby won’t actually starve itself…right?? Are they worried about dehydration?? Hopefully all the formula she was drinking last week will offset what she’s not drinking this week. I hope things get better!

    | April 14, 2008 @ 9:08 pm

  8. De said,

    So I get the feeling that maybe I or other mama’s offended you in regards to a possible feeding tube and for that I greatly apologize. I know it is not the only answer and maybe is not the best possible one for sweet Sadie. I do hope that she jumps on the eating band wagon and fattens her sweet little self up and again I apologize if any offense was taken

    | April 14, 2008 @ 9:33 pm

  9. Stefanie said,

    First off, no, I wasn’t offended about feeding tube talk. I just don’t think it sounds at all pleasant and I’m hoping it will work out without drastic measures. I will do whatever I need to though to see that she grows.

    And Kathy, yes, all babies eat when they’re hungry. But don’t let word get out or all the doctors dedicated to kids and preemies with feeding promlems will be out of a job! Shhh…

    | April 14, 2008 @ 9:40 pm

  10. heidi said,

    Stef, did you try skipping a feeding to see if it would help? Sometimes more time between feedings stirs up the appetite. If they just take a sip or 2 every hour, they will continue to snack instead of eat full meals. Also, i would give up the paci if she’s sucking on one. The tiny babies can get all worn out from sucking before they even take a sip.
    Good luck!

    | April 14, 2008 @ 10:05 pm

  11. Stefanie said,

    Neither baby will take a paci and Sadie goes hours without taking a drop so I don’t think skipping a meal will do it. But keep ’em coming!!

    | April 14, 2008 @ 10:16 pm

  12. Anonymous said,

    God-you poor thing. I’m the type to have a panic attack when my daughter does anything abnormal. I immediately think of all the worst possiblilities, so I completely sympothize. I commented last week about the weird tongue attachment thing I had read about, but it sounds like it’s not that since she was eating for a while. So, what about the starting her on baby food idea. Have you talked to the doc about that? I think that was totally normal back in the day. I remember my grandma telling me she only bottle fed her kids for four months. It almost sounds like something is hurting her if she is totally refusing the bottle. That acid reflux thing is a b**ch! Maybe the formula burns her throat on the way down? Maybe you should try the scientology mixture of barley, milk and sugar-that little suri always has a bottle with her, maybe that’s just what Sadie needs!

    | April 14, 2008 @ 11:11 pm

  13. Angela said,

    Becky sent me, and I’m glad for it. You’re in my reader now ; )

    | April 14, 2008 @ 11:41 pm

  14. Backpacking Dad said,

    You’re not supposed to make me laugh when I’m trying to let you bum me out. Only one emotion at a time, please.

    | April 14, 2008 @ 11:47 pm

  15. CP said,

    OMG a Scientology cure? But, I don’t know, maybe it will work? I can’t imagine the stress you are under right now but I do admire you for being so open to trying whatever works and doing whatever Sadie needs. Hang in there!

    | April 15, 2008 @ 12:31 am

  16. Anonymous said,

    I was kidding about the scientology cure!!

    | April 15, 2008 @ 1:10 am

  17. Julia said,

    Having gone through a whole crap-load (pun totally intended) of GI problems with my youngest, I feel for you. It’s very, very scary when you can seem to get your kid to do the one thing they’re supposed to be pros at.

    Throwing out another suggestions I’m sure they’ve already looked into: “silent” reflux? It’s where they are refluxing acid but not spitting up. It comes up and goes right back down. If she had this, there would be screaming and lots of discomfort though. Not to mention what Sadie would do… (Ba-dum-bump ching!)

    I hope she turns the corner before the feeding tube even becomes an option.

    | April 15, 2008 @ 1:29 am

  18. ro2b51 said,

    OK Have you tried adding a t of Karo syrup to the formula? No kidding….

    | April 15, 2008 @ 2:33 am

  19. CP said,

    Anon- I figured you were kidding. No offense meant by my comment. Who knows? Maybe it will help?

    | April 15, 2008 @ 4:25 am

  20. Jenée said,

    Maybe Sadie’s a Zone girl and just needs a pound of bacon.

    | April 15, 2008 @ 5:56 am

  21. MereCat said,

    I’m so sorry this has been such a struggle. It’s not supposed to be this hard. I’m thinking of you and praying for Sadie’s appetite to return tout de suite!

    | April 15, 2008 @ 12:11 pm

  22. iheartchocolate said,

    Oh girl, I am so sorry you are having a hard time with this. Poor lil Sadie, poor mama too. You WILL get through this. You are on the right track. You are being proactive and not ignoring it, that is a great thing! I pray things get better for you soon, and He takes care of lil Sadie. And mom.

    | April 15, 2008 @ 12:52 pm

  23. loriedunn said,

    So okay, here’s something that might help…When my daughter had colic, my pediatrician had a healthfood place mixup a concoction of catnip, ginger and fennel. I later found a place that had it already packaged. It was a miracle worker. She would not normally take a passy either, but a little on the tip and she would go to town. Medically, ginger settles the stomach (ever craved gingerale after a hangover?) and it is also a natural appetite stimulant.

    Have you ever given her Kefir? Supossedly in Russia they are legally required to give it to babies. (Not that I claim Russia is the hotbed of good medical advice – but if they can survive there….) It’s rich in probiotics which are great for stomach problems. Maybe by dropper she’d like the taste?

    Also try Ellyn Satter (www.ellynsatter.com) She’s some kind of infant/children’s eating expert and might have some ideas?

    Good luck and hang in there!

    | April 15, 2008 @ 2:38 pm

  24. Becky said,

    Okay, I’m back because I had a new idea. Could you take a pin and open the nipple–OF THE BOTTLE, YOU PERVO? That way, the sucking she does to on it will give her more milk.

    Or, add some sugar or a bit of chocolate syrup? That’s probably a bad thing, isn’t it.


    | April 15, 2008 @ 2:38 pm

  25. loriedunn said,

    I found the name of the catnip/fennel combo. It’s made by Nature’s Sunshine which is a fairly common brand. Surely in California it would be easy to find. There was a website theherbsplace dot com that had a lot of info.

    Eat Sadie Eat!

    | April 15, 2008 @ 4:49 pm

  26. Mrs. T said,

    HATE the hunger strike! My younger daughter refused a bottle (she was breast-fed) from anyone when I went back to work. She did make up for it at night (yawn!) , but those first couple of weeks were hell. She finally would begrudgingly take a bottle, but every so often would just look at it and refuse to have anything to do with it. How can such little people have such strong wills???
    The appetite stimulant won’t be forever- just to get her weight up.

    | April 15, 2008 @ 9:55 pm

  27. Kian/Kim said,

    Please don’t kill/hate me for this completely ignorant question, but…could she be ‘allergic’ to the formula she’s on?

    | April 16, 2008 @ 12:42 am

  28. de said,

    I wanted agree with some of the previous commentors regarding some sort of possible reflux, like the silent reflux. When my daughter was under six months old she was the worst eater ever. She hated the breast, hated the bottle, would take three or four sucks and then cry, three or four more and more crying. It was so hard and stressful for me. Maybe you should try a little cereal or something. My daughter was a totally different child once we put her on food. She was on table food by nine months, taking only bottles at her five am wake up and totally off the bottle by ten months. I am not way implying that I did it the right way but I did do what worked for us. Anyway I am thinking of you and wishing good eating vibes

    | April 16, 2008 @ 2:41 am

  29. RhoRho said,

    I’m sure you’ve tried other formulas(like Kian/Kim mentioned) – all of the Nutrimigen, Lactose free, hypoallergenic – all that? :)Yeah probably a dumb question; I’m sure your Drs. are bright enough to have considered that… Or have you not tried the cheeseburgers yet? 🙂 Well I have no other advice, just sending good thoughts yours and Sadie’s way. Keep hangin’ in.

    | April 16, 2008 @ 3:18 am

  30. anna said,

    I feel for you. My older daughter was always a great eater, but not my younger one. She never did take a bottle, and between her 6 month and 1 year checkups basically gained no weight. But she was always active and otherwise developing fine so her doctor didn’t worry much. And then one day at about 12 and a half months, it was like a switch got flipped and she turned into an eating machine! Now she bangs on the cupboard and shrieks for food. So hang in there! They eat when they’re ready. One thing that really helped for me was Yo Baby yogurt. Can you give Sadie any solids yet? If you can, try the baby yogurts – my daughter devoured them. Also, we gave her a little sugar water at one point (i know, not doctor recommended) and it really did seem to up her appetite.

    | April 16, 2008 @ 5:17 pm

  31. Heza Hekele said,

    Hey, chin up. As I was saying to my cousin recently, who’s daughter was born a full three months early and spent four months in NICU: “…of all the things that can go wrong with preemies, thank god it’s only a feeding issue! At least it is an issue that can be worked on and fixed. There aint much fixing of blindness/cerebral paulsy/deafness/brain damage/death/etc.

    Little Miss Mae still has her feeding tube, but has responded fantastically to solid food…and thus will likely grow out of her aversion to having anything in her mouth. Just aint a bottle girl, as inconvenient as that is. AND, after puking for eight months strait, they switched her to soy based formula and she is miracuously keeping her feedings down all of a sudden.

    I’m not implying that your daughters issues are identical, just saying, at least there is fantastic help available in this area and light at the end of the tunnel!

    Hugs to you. You will make it through!

    | April 16, 2008 @ 5:56 pm

  32. giggleblue said,

    my brother refused to eat at age 5 months.

    the pedi suggested nesquik powder. we used the strawberry.

    he looked like a fool crawling around with a pink bottle of formula, but it did the trick.

    he’s 35 pounds now.

    i’m wishing you the best!

    | April 16, 2008 @ 8:38 pm

  33. Lynsey said,

    Man I really hope they figure it out soon. Poor gal (both of you!) And way to go Matilda–keep up the good work!


    | April 16, 2008 @ 8:39 pm

  34. Heather said,

    Thanks for the comment, Stefanie…I think I’ll have to email you about my little one. She was weighed again yesterday and gained a whopping two ounces!!!

    I try to look at the bright side…at least they are getting more use out of those newborn clothes, right?

    | April 16, 2008 @ 11:04 pm

  35. ilana (Helen) Pengelly said,

    First Sadie will be fine. My son is now 13 but he was a premie with failure to thrive. I was desperate to breastfeed but he’d have preferred death to my boob. So we went with the bottle. He was often screaming so loudly that his head was purple (bald as cue ball so it looked like cabbage)and trying to get the bottle into his mouth was like aiming as a moving target. We were told his suck was no good — but he could skin your little finger in flash. We stopped warming the bottles — he preferred it cold. Go figure. That gave him gas. So we gave him warm fennel tea by spoonfuls after each bottle. We used those bottles with the plastic bags so we could squeeze formula into his mouth whenever we got close. We tried the nuc nipples but he hated them. In the end only the platex nipple would do. We did allow a soother because he wanted to suck and we figured if we let him suck as much as he wanted then once in a while we’d be able to sneak in a bottle. We paid more attention to output than input. ie were there plenty of wet diapers. He lost 10 oz his first day and took almost 3 weeks to gain them back. It took him four months! to get to 10 pounds. He didn’t really eat until he was 2. Actually he still seems to live on air…………but he’s in the middle of his class for weight and height. You can’t tell now that there was a time when he didn’t even make it onto the percentile charts. Sadie will be fine! You will too.

    | April 17, 2008 @ 3:29 am

  36. Anonymous said,

    I’m a Scientologist, and the barley formula is not a “Scientology cure” – it’s an ancient method of feeding babies that goes back at least to ancient Rome. Up until the advent of canned milk, actually.

    Remember how the little boy in Mary Poppins sings that he wants a nanny who “doesn’t smell like barley water”? That’s because barley water has been used for thousands of years as an additive to milk in baby formula, and in the sickroom. It breaks down the milk protein, making it easier to digest.

    I picked up a book for the layman written by a doctor once from a used bookstore. It dates back to about 1920. The doctor describes how to prepare the barley for the barley water.

    I have also personally seen references to it in court documents from the 1300’s and 1400’s in Medieval England. (I’m interested in history, obviously.) Adelle Davis, the nutritionist, recommends using barley formula for people who cannot tolerate regular milk. She wrote the book, ‘Let’s Have Healthy Children.’

    Hubbard used it for his own child, and recommended it to other parents, but he did not in any way invent it. It was THE standard baby formula for non-breastfed babies for a couple of centuries, from what I’ve seen. The only reason it dropped out of use was advertising by the canned milk companies. (Which was a very unhealthy option, actually.)

    At any rate, I breastfed my 7 children, although I did supplement after a few months with the barley formula.

    I once consulted with Dr. Fleiss – you know, pediatrician to the stars (he’s the reason Madonna moved to Los Angeles before her last baby was born – so he could be the baby’s doctor) – about this barley forumula in particular. He has had many parents who use it and he told me that it was fine.

    My kids are all healthy, and as babies they rarely got sick. We will typically go a year without anyone even getting a cold, let alone anything more serious.

    If you try the barley formula, use regular cow’s milk (I prefer organic, or at least milk made without rSBT), and don’t use the honey if the baby is young.

    Of course, you should speak with your doctor first.

    | May 31, 2008 @ 11:08 pm

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