Hi all. This is my first time posting on the board and am hoping I can find some encouragement and advice. I apologize right off the bat for this being long! Trying to be concise but include as much helpful info as possible.
My 4 mo (he'll be 4 mo this Sat) has been exclusively breastfed with no problems since he was born. He has never been one to stay on the breast for long periods of time (except when I nurse him at night) but in the past few weeks he's really shortened his nursing times to 4 mins on the dot. Sometimes I can get him to go back on and he may eat for a couple more mins and sometimes he'll eat for a couple more mins on the other side, but he hasn't taken any good feedings in weeks. He just gets so distracted and wants to smile and talk and chew on his hand, etc.
His "schedule" was feeding about every 3 to 3.5 hours or if he ever acted hungry before then, but he rarely did. He's a very happy baby - only fusses when he's tired, smiles all the time, is about a month or two ahead developmentally. He sleeps well during the day (usually two one-hour+ naps and a catnap) and only wakes up once at night after I give him a dreamfeed around 11. His output is great - at least 6 soaked and 1-2 dirty diapers a day.
So I just assumed that maybe he eats so efficiently that he fills his tummy in 5 mins but wanted to get him weighed to be sure so 2 weeks ago I weighed him at our pediatrician's office and he only weighed in at 12lb 14oz (and he weighed 12lb even at his 2 mo appt). Over the course of the last two weeks he's only gained 4 oz.
Here are his weights:
Birth - 8lb 9oz
1 week - 8lb 12oz
1 mo - 10lb 4oz
2 mo - 12lb
3 mo 2 wk - 12lb 14oz
3 mo 4 wk - 13lb 2oz
Here's what I've tried:
I tried shortening the times between feedings to squeeze in an extra nursing session but then he only eats for a couple minutes. I've tried lengthening them to close to 4 hours apart and maybe helped a bit but that's what I did last week and obviously it didn't show on the scales. I nurse him without tv/radio/computer and have tried it in total darkness and that helps sometimes but most of the time he just simply won't eat anymore. Oh and I'm very confident that it's not a problem with my supply because my breasts still feel full after he eats (and I know how they should fill as drained). (Although just in the past day I've noticed my supply dropping since he isn't demanding as much so now i'm working to get it back up).
I haven't tried pumping and offering him the bottle yet for a couple reasons. One is that he hates the bottle. We tried getting him to take it from 3 weeks to when I was going back to work when he was 12 weeks old and he finally took it at 11 weeks when we discovered he has to have the nipple warm too (and rewarmed several times during the feeding!). Even when he did take it, though, he wouldn't take more than 3-4 oz while I was at work for 7 days (I'm at home now full time). Another reason is I'm afraid that maybe he prefers a faster flow (like the first 4 mins of my initial letdown) and then doesn't want to work to get more so stops eating, so I don't want to reinforce that preference with a bottle. I also haven't tried it because I think my milk has too much lipase- as it smells sour shortly after pumping (even if I freeze it immediately, when I warm it back up it smells sour). If I scald it so that it isn't sour anymore well then the taste is different so he doesn't like it that way, either.
So, where should we go from here? Try to fit in more feedings (even though he hasn't responded well to that already and just eats less at each feeding)? Supplement with a few ounces of formula after each feeding? Rice cereal? As I'm sure many of you can understand, the thought of supplementing with formula terrifies and devastates me - what if he prefers it and then doesn't want the breast anymore? But of course if that's what it takes to get him the calories he needs.
Btw, his dr. is not much help - she's referring him on to a clinic specializing in growth issues but we won't be able to get in until late next week. Also, our lactation consultant said she hasn't seen this case before so she didn't have any recommendations either. So I greatly appreciate any help you all can give!!
Not sure if I captured all of the pertinent info just ask if I'm missing anything.