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Thread: Please help an anxious mom be okay with slow weight gain?

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Nov 2012
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    Default Please help an anxious mom be okay with slow weight gain?

    Let me start by saying I'm a FTM, have a history of anxiety and had a breast reduction 10 years ago so was always concerned about my ability to BF.

    DS was born on Sept. 25 and has has slow weight gain since. We last saw our pedi at 2.5 weeks and he was happy with his weight gain, but told us to keep weighing at the BF clinic to ensure good weight gain.

    Here are the numbers:

    Birth weight: 8 lbs. 14
    Day 3: 8 lbs. 0.5
    2 weeks: 8 lbs. 11
    3 weeks: 8 lbs. 15
    4 weeks: 9 lbs. 4
    5 weeks: 9 lbs. 7

    Weeks 3-5 were all on the same scale, naked.

    DS is now 6 weeks (we will weigh again tomorrow), smiling, having awake periods and generally a good baby. He has 6-9 wet and 2-5 dirty diapers a day. We nurse on demand 6-7 times a day for ~1 hr. He has been sleeping more and more at night recently.

    Should I be concerned? Or is my FTM anxiety just getting to me?

    I am taking fenugreek, blessed thistle, oatmeal, and lactation cookies.

    Thank you for reading!

  2. #2
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    Dec 2009
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    Default Re: Please help an anxious mom be okay with slow weight gain

    Looks okay to me, though I would suggest trying to nurse at least 8x/day. Is there something specific that is concerning you about the weights you listed?
    Little SW, Aug '09
    Miss MW, Jan '11
    Sir RW, Oct '12
    3 kids in 38 mos

  3. #3
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    Nov 2012
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    Default Re: Please help an anxious mom be okay with slow weight gain

    Thank you so much for your reply!

    Sorry I guess I should clarify. After taking 3 weeks to gain back his birth weight, he is only gaining 3-5 oz. per week which is low from what I have read (5-8 oz. per week normal). Is this something I should be worried about? Based on diapers, I don't have low supply, but his slow weight gain makes me think that I might. I have some nurses trying to push supplementation.

    Also, I wake him to eat every 3 hours during the day, but let him sleep at night. That still only gets us 6-7 feeds per day. Should I be waking him more often?

  4. #4
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    Feb 2012
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    Default Re: Please help an anxious mom be okay with slow weight gain

    I agree with the PP's suggestion to increase the nursing frequency. Aim for AT LEAST 8 sessions per 24 hours. Many babies his age would be nursing 10-12x per 24 hours so even 8 times is on the lower end. If he's not cueing you to nurse, then yes, I would wake him every 2 hours during the day. His weight gain isn't alarming but I agree it's on the low side--it looks like the average has been about 4 oz/week over the last few weeks, when you'd like to see 5-7 oz/week. The best way to fix this is to nurse more often. If baby doesn't seem to cue you that he wants to nurse, offer anyway. When a baby isn't getting enough, they often sleep more to conserve energy, and then it can become a self-perpetuating cycle where he doesn't cue you to nurse, so you don't feed him, so he doesn't eat enough, so he gets more sleepy, and the problem gets worse from there. If he is falling asleep while feeding, we can give you tricks for keeping a sleepy baby awake at the breast (short answer: undress him, tickle his feet, run a wet washcloth over his legs, change his diaper when he falls asleep, etc.). My guess is that if you're getting ALMOST enough weight gain with 6-7 feedings per day, you'll be able to get good weight gain if you increase your nursing frequency, breast reduction or not. It sounds like you have enough milk, the issue is frequency because their tummies are so small. Also feeding more frequently will help encourage a good milk supply which you want to be doing anyway at this point.
    First-time mama to Joshua, 10/29/11. 29 months and going strong! for 14 months; now finished with pump weaning!

  5. #5
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    Default Re: Please help an anxious mom be okay with slow weight gain

    Definitely increase the feeding frequency. Three hours is the max baby should go without feeding. Are you doing anything like swaddling or giving a pacifier at night? How long exactly is he sleeping at night?

  6. #6
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    Default Re: Please help an anxious mom be okay with slow weight gain

    Nurse more often. Definitely. It's so simple. Even just one or two more times a day would mean baby gets 2-6 more ounces a day! Nursing more often can't hurt, often helps. I think I am going to get a t-shirt that says 'nurse more often.'

  7. #7
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    Default Re: Please help an anxious mom be okay with slow weight gain

    Thank you everyone for your replies. I really appreciate it!

    I guess I was going along with "don't wake a sleeping baby" to my own baby's detriment. I will definitely start feeding him more often. He often feeds for a hour at a time and it takes 30 minutes to get him down for a nap. Will he get overtired if he is only napping for 30 minutes at a time?

    We do not use a paci, but we do swaddle for naps and for nighttime. He usually has a long 5-6 hour stretch at night, and a shorter 3-4 hours stretch.

  8. #8
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    Default Re: Please help an anxious mom be okay with slow weight gain

    Some babies are cat-nappers. Instead of two or three big naps of at least an hour apiece, the baby will get all his sleep in multiple short naps. There's nothing wrong with or abnormal about this pattern- it's just a little challenging for mom because she isn't going to geta big block of time during which she can get a nap herself or accomplish a task.

    If you're concerned about weight gain, you might want to stop the swaddling. Swaddled babies sleep more soundly, and that can mean less night nursing.
    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!"

  9. #9
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    Default Re: Please help an anxious mom be okay with slow weight gain

    with mommal. this might be a good time to mention that you may find the suggestions at LLL a little different from some of the so called 'conventional wisdom' out there. The difference is we are looking at what is going to work for breastfed babies. Formula fed babies may indeed sleep longer stretches and gain fine, in part because they can be fed much more at once than is biologically normal or even healthy.

    to elaborate-If you had no concerns about weight gain, the sleep pattern might be fine, although still unusually infrequent for this age. But since weight gain is a little on the slow side, it makes sense to encourage baby to nurse more often-when awake or asleep. You might also try stopping swaddling, or cut back-swaddling is a technique for encouraging longer sleep stretches and for some babies it thus appears to negatively impact weight gain and nursing frequency. This correlation between slow weight gain and swaddling has been noted and written about by respected breastfeeding expert Nancy Mohrbacher. http://www.nancymohrbacher.com/blog/...swaddling.html

    As far as actually waking baby-this is often cautioned against and I have yet to understand why. Yes of course a baby needs lots of sleep-normally at this age taken in frequent, short snatches. A young baby will typically sleep pretty easily anywhere, as long as baby feels warm, comfortable, and safe and secure, which usually means, in the arms and near the beating heart of mom or another trusted adult, perhaps held more or less upright-(head over tummy) as a baby would be, snuggled into their parents chest. And a baby who sleeps close to mom may wake by themselves to nurse frequently and go right back to sleep, or may simply nurse right in their sleep, if given the opportunity.

    So I guess I am suggesting, you could stop trying to put baby ‘down’ for a nap. Instead let baby fall asleep in your arms and either keep holding him, perhaps in a sling or wrap carrier, and/or wait until baby is in a more deep sleep before putting baby down.

    An hour is a long time to nurse although not too outside the norm for this age. Baby will typically get more efficient as baby gets older, for now, perhaps upping the frequency of nursing and nursing at early cues will help, and you can try breast compressions.

    feeding cues http://www.llli.org/docs/00000000000...eding_cues.pdf

    breast compressions http://www.nbci.ca/index.php?option=...tion&Itemid=17

  10. #10
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    Nov 2012
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    Default Re: Please help an anxious mom be okay with slow weight gain

    So we just got home from our BF group where we weigh in and he has only gained another 3 oz. this week. The pressure to start supplementing from the nurses is getting stronger, but I really feel like if I start to supplement it is such a slippery slope to the end of BF for us (decrease in supply, more supplement, etc.).

    How long is it safe for me to resist supplementation? I don't want to keep resisting supplementation just because I have the desire to EBF and risk harming my DS.

    The nurses are also very concerned that he often eats for an hour. They say that he is using up all of his energy to eat. Is this true? I have not read anything about the length of nursing sessions being too long. Wouldn't that mean that cluster feeding would be bad for a baby?

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