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Thread: One months old, low weight gain

  1. #1

    Default One months old, low weight gain


    I have 5 weeks old baby. Since the beginning we struggle with the weight gain. I wanted to breast-feed exclusively, but I feel very discouraged by now.
    Klara was born with 3.450kg, at 5 days she had 3.360kg, and continued to loose the weight, and at 2 weeks she had 3.300kg. The health visitor told me to begin with top-ups, twice a day. I did one top-up of 120ml during two days and she put on weight 100g. But than I stopped with top-ups, encouraged by reading different breast-feeding stories... One week later, she gained only 20g more and I re-introduced one top-up of 120g per day. Since she put on weight only around 150g-170g per week.
    She was 4 weeks and 4 days yesterday and had 3.735g which means that she put barely 300g since she was born.

    This all, with a lot of struggle for feeding. I am using nipple shields, as my nipples were cracked and bleeding. So far, I am decided to breast-feed with shields.

    At the beginning, I was sitting with Klara on my breast 24/24. After reading some more about how can I manage my breast-feeding differently, I began to pay more attention on her swallowing the milk and do more active feeding sessions. She eventually detach herself from my breast, looking satisfied and half-asleep. But if I put her down, she would immediately cry for some more food. There were few moments when she was happy after feeding, but it all seems very irregular, and I don't know what to think about all this, what is wrong, and how to continue from there.

    If I try feeding on demand, than it means that I feed 24/24, which is physically and mentally not possible for me. And I saw during first weeks, it did not work either.If I try to regulate her hunger, ignore she cries, and instead put her a dummy, get her to the sling than she falls asleep, to wake up 3 hours latter for bigger feed, than I feel like I let her hungry, and because she does not put on weight, than this is not to do, right??? Well... I am just lost.

    When I feed her, I switch my breast after a while, when she detached herself twice from the same breast, I switch to the other... so in these 2 hours she would have twice one breast, than twice the other.
    In the night, she wakes up every 2- 3 hours, I feed laying down so I can rest, and she detach herself and sleeps till the next feed.

    So basically, if I only breast-feed, she does not put on weight, I have to go for top-ups. And this gives me impression that all the breast-feeding is over complicated, that I make myself the life hard and stressful for nothing, my baby does not get anything from it, and can only get it from artificial milk. It makes me feel low and discouraged.
    I would appreciate any comment, as I would really like to find a solution to my problem and save the breast-feeding.

    Thank you

  2. #2
    Join Date
    May 2006

    Default Re: One months old, low weight gain

    Welcome to the forum and congratulations on the new baby! I'm sorry breastfeeding has been so difficult for both of you. I think it's wonderful that you are continuing to nurse your baby. Most breastfeeding problems are solvable. By continuing to nurse you are giving your baby as much breastmilk as possible, and you are also making sure your baby remains able to latch and suck, so that you'll be able to nurse her in the future.

    Cracked, bleeding nipples and low weight gain often indicate latch problems. Often this causes moms to resort to using shields, which unfortunately can make the weight gain issues worse, because shields can slow down or reduce milk transfer. Ideally, they should be used with guidance from a lactation consultant, preferably an IBCLC. Do you have access to a LC? When you have a latch issues and a new baby, hands-on help is the best!

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Mar 2008

    Default Re: One months old, low weight gain

    Hi and I am so sorry things have been so hard on you guys, I too had a very discouraging start to breast feeding although I did not have the physical pain and discomfort you are feeling I did battle with formula supplements and top offs for weight gain issues from the very first post hospital visit.

    I too second the suggest for in person support and assistance, for me it was a combination of finding a supportive and helpful Lactation consultant as well as finding support via my local LLL group meeting. I cried at my very first meeting multiple times but those ladies helped me more than anyone else because they had all done what it was I was trying to do and they supported me when I was sooo very discouraged. they also helped me find local LC that were extremely helpful along my bumpy breast feeding journey.
    Moma to *Silas* 10-30-07

  4. #4

    Default Re: One months old, low weight gain

    Thank you for your replies.

    Following your suggestions, I wanted to get in touch with an LC. I called my health visitors service, and I hoped that they can get me in touch with one. But after explaining my "problem" to her, she was not concerned and told me that 90g per week of the weight gain is normal and not worrying. I cannot tell that I consider this as a satisfying answer And at the same time, this route to get in touch with a LC is definitely blocked.
    Do you have an idea how to get in touch with an NHS LC otherwise than through the health visitor?
    Do you consider as well that 90g per week of weight gain is satisfying and I should be happy, not concerned mum? And for a 5 week old breast-fed (plus top-uped once a day) baby a 300g weight gain since birth is not alarming and everything is perfectly fine?

    Thank you for your thoughts.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    May 2006

    Default Re: One months old, low weight gain

    90 g is only about 3 oz, and according to this reference: http://kellymom.com/bf/normal/weight-gain/ normal weight gain in the 0-4 month range is 5-7 oz (around 141-198 g) per week. So I would not consider a 300 g (around 10 oz) weight gain sufficient in a 5 week old baby.

    Since we're talking about such small amounts of weight, I think you want to be extra careful about how the baby is weighed. Each weight should be on the same scale and in the nude.

    I wish I could help you with navigating the ins and outs of the NHS, but we don't have one in the US.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jun 2009

    Default Re: One months old, low weight gain

    Have you tried contacting your local LLL? By local I guess I mean anyone in your country which I assume is Great Britain? Meanwhile who if anyone are you able to complain to over the sorry service you've been getting from your national health service? Meanwhile you can try nursing more often again -scheduling and pacifiers is not a good way to help a baby gain weight. Try the various techniques you can find on this website and elsewhere for positioning and assisting baby with latch so it doesn't hurt you so much to nurse your baby that should not hurt. Can you ask your baby's pediatrician to examine your baby for Tounge tie or to be referred to a specialist? My understanding -and I certainly can be wrong - but I have heard that is that in Great Britain lactation consultants can diagnose and treat tongue-tie. I have no idea if that is the problem but that is one physical barrier to a comfortable latch and effective milk removal and should be rule out .

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Aug 2012

    Default Re: One months old, low weight gain

    Hi there

    I'm in the UK too and had a very similar rough start to BF, and little support from the hospital even after being readmitted on day 5 for a 10% weight loss. My son had latching problems from the start and did not BF well. At 2.5 weeks after finding a local (private) LC I discovered he had a tongue tie. You can find one via http://www.lcgb.org/. We are getting along much better now with BF but just figuring out how to best wean off formula supplements, as my son (now 6.5 weeks) is not gaining weight as quickly as he should. Nobody told me how supplementing with formula could affect my milk supply or even gave me correct advice about BF so I have ended up doing a LOT of reading to educate myself and try to get things back on track. This forum has been so useful. Good luck!

  8. #8

    Default Re: One months old, low weight gain

    Thank you all for your messages. Dylan James, I hope since the time you have written your empathic message things got well for you and your baby.

    I just wanted to write a little update about how things were going for us since. Someone with a similar problem can read it later and it can help her/them to, at least, stress less or feel less alone...
    My daughter is now 10 weeks and she is gaining 250g per week. I found my/ our "balance" by giving once bottle (formula milk)/ once breast through the day. She eats 6-7x per day, 3 formula, 3 breast approx. She sleeps through the night and feeds more often during the day. She is doing beautifully and I am happy mother.

    I am very happy that despite many discouraging elements going against easy breast-feeding during the first weeks (soared nipples, weight gain zero, very frequent feeding and not satisfied baby...), I was strong enough and I did not abandon totally. Doing both permits me to feel reassured that my baby gets enough fat (from formula), AND to have this unique moment of bonding with my baby via BF... I was ready to stop the BF completely, but it was worth of struggling through and being a bit stubborn about it

    I had a check up and my baby did not have a tongue tie. I am still using nipple shields, as my nipples are flat and get very soared quickly if I don't use the shield. But by now, I got used to it and it works well for me, and baby is fine about it as well. I nurse 10 minutes on each side, and sometimes plus one breast. But my supply seams to correspond to my baby needs. It's such a good feeling!

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