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Thread: 5-month old not gaining weight..

  1. #1

    Default 5-month old not gaining weight..

    My baby boy is 5 months old and is exclusively fed breast milk (either fed by me or fed expressed milk at daycare). He recently has been extremely fussy and acting as if he is not satisfied by what he is eating. I took him to his pediatrician and found out that he has not gained one single ounce since his 4 month appointment (exactly 1 month ago). I have been feeding him around the clock every 3 hours. At daycare, he has been eating 5 ounce bottles (3 per day). After the doctror's appt, I upped his bottles to 3 6-ounce bottles. The daycare said that he still cries for more. He is also waking up about every 2 hours now at night, instead of 3. I would think this was a growth spurt and wait it out, but am extremely concerned since he isn't gaining weight. Since the doctor's appt, we have also started giving him 2 tablespoons of solid food a day (sweet potatoes as of now). As of today, I upped his daycare bottles to 3 7-ounce bottles and sent 2 tablespoons of sweet potatoes. I'm really not sure what to do. For one, I can't pump 21 ounces a day. I'm only pumping about 18 ounces on a good day. So I'm blowing through my freezer supply. And I know that 7 ounces bottles is extremely high for a breastfed baby. I also can't go on like this with him eating every 2 hours at night. And most importantly, he HAS to start gaining weight. Should I up the solid food? I know that the food is only supposed to supplement the breastmilk and that he is really supposed to get almost everything that he needs from milk. But I'm so confused. I REALLY don't want to supplement with formula but am at a complete loss. No sleep. Unhappy baby. Feeling guilty because I feel as if I'm starving him. And having to listen to everyone tell me that I need to give him formula. I also want to add that I have an appointment with an internationally certified lactation consultant (who is an M.D.) next Tuesday. But in the meantime, please help me!

  2. #2
    Join Date
    May 2006
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    21,370

    Default Re: 5-month old not gaining weight..

    Welcome! Before we get into what may be going on, can you post a growth history on your baby? Birth weight, weight at each checkup? Let us know if he is continuing to grow in length and head circumference. And also let us know if he has always been weighed naked, on the same scale. The answers to those questions can really help us determine whether or not you're looking at a problem or not.
    Coolest thing my big girl said recently: "How can you tell the world is moving when you are standing on it?"
    Coolest thing my little girl sang recently: "I love dat one-two pupples!"

  3. #3

    Default Re: 5-month old not gaining weight..

    Birth weight - 9 lbs 3 ounces, 21 1/4 inches

    1 month - 9 lbs 10 oz. - 22 inches

    1.8 months - 11 lbs 12 ounces - 24 inches

    2.8 months - 12 pounds 14 ounces (no length taken)

    4 months - 13 pounds, 13 ounces - 24 inches; head circumference - average (not sure what it was exactly)

    5 months - 13 pounds, 13 ounces - no length taken

    He was weighted on the same scale at the 4 month (with diaper on) and 5 month appointment (with diaper off).

    So based on the above, he hasn't grown in length since 1.8 months. Now I'm really freaking out...

  4. #4
    Join Date
    May 2006
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    21,370

    Default Re: 5-month old not gaining weight..

    No, don't freak out! Length is the hardest dimension to measure in a baby. They squirm one way and they gain an inch, squirm another way and they lose an inch.

    The fact that your baby was weighed in a diaper at 4 months and in the nude at 5 months could explain a lot. A full diaper can weigh several oz., and at this age that's all it takes to separate normal growth from no growth. If you check out this chart: http://www.kellymom.com/babyconcerns/growth/chart2.html you will see that your baby hasn't dropped all that far. I honestly don't know that I would do anything at this point other than keep the appointment with the LC, because I am not sure that anything I'm seeing in your baby's history is all that scary. I mean, yeah, he seems to have paused in his weight gain, but that can be normal, especially as a baby closes in on 6 months and starts getting more active and putting calories into action rather than packing them on as fat. I'd want to keep an eye on it, but I don't know that this is a "take action now!" situation.

    Regarding the night waking, it sounds entirely normal to me for a baby to be waking every 2 hours. This goes for tiny skinny babies and great big fat ones. Both my girls (chubsters) woke every 2 hours or so at that age. It wasn't because of low milk supply. Babies are designed to feed at night, and I think they are even more likely to do so when mom works. What better way to reconnect than to nurse all night?
    Coolest thing my big girl said recently: "How can you tell the world is moving when you are standing on it?"
    Coolest thing my little girl sang recently: "I love dat one-two pupples!"

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Mar 2006
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    10,440

    Default Re: 5-month old not gaining weight..

    Quote Originally Posted by @llli*mommal View Post
    No, don't freak out! Length is the hardest dimension to measure in a baby. They squirm one way and they gain an inch, squirm another way and they lose an inch.

    The fact that your baby was weighed in a diaper at 4 months and in the nude at 5 months could explain a lot. A full diaper can weigh several oz., and at this age that's all it takes to separate normal growth from no growth. If you check out this chart: http://www.kellymom.com/babyconcerns/growth/chart2.html you will see that your baby hasn't dropped all that far. I honestly don't know that I would do anything at this point other than keep the appointment with the LC, because I am not sure that anything I'm seeing in your baby's history is all that scary. I mean, yeah, he seems to have paused in his weight gain, but that can be normal, especially as a baby closes in on 6 months and starts getting more active and putting calories into action rather than packing them on as fat. I'd want to keep an eye on it, but I don't know that this is a "take action now!" situation.

    Regarding the night waking, it sounds entirely normal to me for a baby to be waking every 2 hours. This goes for tiny skinny babies and great big fat ones. Both my girls (chubsters) woke every 2 hours or so at that age. It wasn't because of low milk supply. Babies are designed to feed at night, and I think they are even more likely to do so when mom works. What better way to reconnect than to nurse all night?


    IME all of my babies leveled off around 5-6 months. One even dropped off the chart! We just monitored.

    The issue I see more is that your baby seems hungry and you are blowing through the freezer stash. Normally, solids are meant for a supplement to milk and to play, but I would have no issue suggesting more solids. Nurse first, then offer solids.

    And I would cosleep and nightnurse to help with the waking. That's totally normal. Teeth, the age, the stage, those all play into sudden night wakings.
    Susan
    Mama to my all-natural boys: Ian, 9-4-04, 11.5 lbs; Colton, 11-7-06, 9 lbs, in the water; Logan, 12-8-08, 9 lbs; Gavin, 1-18-11, 9 lbs; and an angel 1-15-06
    18+ months and for Gavin, born with an incomplete cleft lip and incomplete posterior cleft palate
    Sealed for time and eternity, 7-7-93
    Always babywearing, cosleeping and cloth diapering. Living with oppositional defiant disorder and ADHD. Ask me about cloth diapering and sewing your own diapers!

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jun 2011
    Posts
    219

    Default Re: 5-month old not gaining weight..

    I'm sorry you're feeling stressed; it's hard when you're worrying about your baby.

    That being said, the extra details you've provided have really made it seem that you may be alarmed unnecessarily. Yes, you certainly want to pay attention to the eating and the growth, but the fact that the baby was weighed in a diaper at 4 months and naked at 5 months really does explain a lot. Diapers, especially when they're full, can weigh a lot. I know a previous poster pointed this out, but I really do think it bears repeating since you're feeling so anxious. It also matters whether the child had just eaten at four months and had an empty tummy at five months. (Length is super-iffy, and my doctor basically ignores it because he knows it's so impossible to get it measure accurately.)

    It's not going to hurt to see an IBCLC, and I hope she'll reassure you that things are fine. When there is a concern, though, I think it's good to follow through with some observation and investigation.

    My second child had nursing problems at first, and because of that, we rented a very sensitive scale and weighed him before and after each feeding for a couple of months. I don't think you need to do that, but it gave me some interesting information I thought I'd share. By the time my baby had reached about four months, he was regularly eating around 40 oz of breastmilk a day (way more than average, and all from the breast). While he was doing this, he was gaining weight, but he was dropping percentiles (even on the WHO chart for breastfed babies). Thankfully his pediatrician knew that we were on top of his feeding, and recognized that that was his growth pattern, and that was that. He also woke frequently at night to feed, even though I was home with him during the day.

    I say that to let you know that it is possible for babies just to need high amounts of milk because of who they are. The one thing I would want to check about daycare is whether they are trying alternate soothing methods with him. Does he take a pacifier? He might not really be hungry after a 7 ounce bottle, but if he wants to suck or wants to be held and is being put down, he might be expressing those needs instead.

    If solids are going well, I just thought I'd suggest avocado. It was a great first food for my son (who was really interested in starting solids), and it's full of healthy fats those little bodies need.

    I hope you're able to relax a bit this weekend, and I also hope your meeting with the LC is profitable on Tuesday.
    I breast milk fed my Blossom for fifteen months (after exclusively pumping for thirteen). My Bud (nineteen months) is still nursing directly (after a rough start that included a few months of pumping and supplementing with mommy's milk).

    TwoDewdrops: Nursing Dresses and Tops for Discreet Breastfeeding (and Pumping)

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