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Thread: 4 month old not gaining

  1. #1
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    Nov 2006
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    Default 4 month old not gaining

    At my daughter's 4 month check up a week ago, we found out she had gained only 2 oz. in a month's time. During the first 3 months she gained a little over a pound each month. She has been exclusively breastfeed, on demand, not on any schedule, sometimes every half hour, sometimes she'll go for 2 hours. Doc said he's not too concerned, said she's probably just snacking all the time. Suggested that I make her wait and nurse her every 2-3 hours, then she would be really hungry and nurse well. I'm not really comfortable with this. I think it might be more of a supply problem. She was a good napper and was sleeping through the night till about 2 weeks ago. Now when I nurse in the day, she falls asleep, but when I put her down she's back up in 5-10 minutes wanting to nurse again. There's also times in the day when she wants to nurse, but the milk just isn't there. Would feeding her more often increase my milk, even if she just snacks? Or would it be better to make her wait? This is my 3rd child, I've had supply problems in the past and ended up using formula. I REALLY don't want to supplement. Any advice?

  2. #2
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    Oct 2006
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    Default Re: 4 month old not gaining

    It sounds like your lo might be going through a growth spurt. I know we say that a lot, but 4 mo is a growth spurt age (my lo just turned 4 mo old too) If she is going through a growth spurt, of which the purpose is to increase your supply by her frequent nursing, wouldn't trying to space her feedings hinder this process of supply and demand??? Three months is also a ideal time for a growth spurt, which might explain why she has been feeding so often. I know my lo ate freq (every 1-2) for about 1 1/2 weeks when she turned 3 mo and is already at it again-about 2 1/2 weeks later. I too thought it was a supply issue and started taking fenugreek. After her spurt was over, she got back to a more normal nursing schedule of about every 2-3 hours- longer at night. Anyway, to make a long story short, I don't think it has anything to do with supply. My supply was up from the fenugreek yet she has started another growth spurt and is frequent nursing again. Does that make any sense? I wouldn't be comfortable with trying to make lo wait to nurse. First, nature is doing what it is supposed to and second, the dr doesn't have to put up with the crying and heartbreak of not comforting your lo. Sorry for such a long post. I would just hang in there. My lo has only gained 1 1/2 lbs in the past 2 mo. - not a great gain- but still a gain. Again, all this is just my personal opinion of my situation. Here is some info on growth spurts. At the bottom is a link under additional resourses called " Should baby be on a schedule?" They should help you out http://www.kellymom.com/bf/normal/growth-spurt.html
    Last edited by @llli*preggoplus3; November 23rd, 2006 at 10:47 AM.

  3. #3
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    Default Re: 4 month old not gaining

    I'm thinking your doctor has never nursed a baby who wanted to eat often. I can't imagine trying to hold off a little one for 2-3 hours. I don't think that's your solution (and it doesn't sound like you do, either.) Feeding more is always going to increase your supply (your supply will increase with lo's demand). Have you tried compressions to increase the amount of milk (especially the hindmilk) your lo is getting? Here's a link that talks about weight gain issues and some possible causes/solutions. http://www.kellymom.com/babyconcerns..._increase.html

  4. #4
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    Sep 2006
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    Default Re: 4 month old not gaining

    Taking part of your post out of order (because that's just the way my brain is working today!):

    Doc said he's not too concerned, said she's probably just snacking all the time. Suggested that I make her wait and nurse her every 2-3 hours, then she would be really hungry and nurse well.
    Human babies are designed to nurse very frequently. If observation of modern-day hunter-gatherers can be taken as evidence of how the human species evolved, our babies were meant to nurse as often as 4 times per hour all day long, and very frequently at night as well. The composition of breast milk bears out this theory, as well -- it is quickly digested and much lower in fat than that of species who "cache" their young (leave them alone for hours at a stretch).

    The idea that because adult people eat three meals a day, babies who eat much more frequently than that are "only snacking" is a cultural idea, not medically sound or evidence-based. This advice is especially backwards if there is any concern that a baby is growing slowly. Eating frequently is always going to be a better way to get more calories into a body than eating less frequently. Making a nursling wait hours at a time for the breast means that baby will be burning calories screaming when she could instead be taking them in by nursing.

    At my daughter's 4 month check up a week ago, we found out she had gained only 2 oz. in a month's time. During the first 3 months she gained a little over a pound each month. She has been exclusively breastfeed, on demand, not on any schedule, sometimes every half hour, sometimes she'll go for 2 hours.
    Nursing on cue (which sounds so much nicer than "on demand," don't you think? ) is the best way to make sure your supply is adequate for your baby's growth needs. A little more than a pound gained each month for the first three months is within the range of normal; the drop-off in month four may be part of your baby's hard-wired growth curve, as breastfed babies often gain more rapidly at first and then more slowly in later months.

    I think it might be more of a supply problem. She was a good napper and was sleeping through the night till about 2 weeks ago. Now when I nurse in the day, she falls asleep, but when I put her down she's back up in 5-10 minutes wanting to nurse again.
    This behavior is consistent with a growth spurt, or with a baby who needs to be held and kept close to momma -- both are normal and healthy, not a sign of a problem. The best way to be sure that your milk supply is okay is to track your daughter's diaper output. By four months, if she is exclusively breastfed, her poops might be less frequent than a newborn's, but she should still be having at least 5 or 6 good wet diapers (if using disposables; more if using cloth) in every 24-hour period. If her urine is plentiful and pale yellow to colorless, then she's getting plenty of milk even if she is growing more slowly than before.

    There's also times in the day when she wants to nurse, but the milk just isn't there.
    Could you say more about this? What is making you think that the milk isn't there when she wants to nurse?

    This is my 3rd child, I've had supply problems in the past and ended up using formula. I REALLY don't want to supplement.
    Barring signs of dehydration in the baby, then based on what you have written above, I see no reason to consider supplementing with formula. If you do have a real milk supply problem, there are ways to increase it before turning to formula. Don't put the cart before the horse, okay? I'll paste some links below that might also help:

    http://www.llli.org/FAQ/spurt.html

    http://www.llli.org/NB/NBJulAug03p126.html

    This non-LLL resource gives a useful checklist of how to rule out a true low milk supply problem:

    http://www.kellymom.com/bf/supply/lo...ly.html#supply

    Please let us know your thoughts, what rings true, what other questions or concerns you might have.

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