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Thread: Low Weight Percentile

  1. #1

    Default Low Weight Percentile

    My baby is almost 5 months and was weighed last week at 14lbs. He is now in the 12th percentile for weight and at his 2 month check up he was in the 22nd percentile. Is that bad? The doctor said I should give him an extra ounce of formula with each feeding and see how he does. I really don't want to give him formula. I would prefer him to just be on breastmilk. Should I give him the formula? Or is there a way for me to increase my breastmilk? He doesn't seem malnourished or anything. He super happy, alert, and strong. Maybe he's just small. Any advice?

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Sep 2011

    Default Re: Low Weight Percentile

    There are much smarter ladies in here than me but I will let you know that at 6 months my daughter is in the 9th percentile for weight, maybe 15% for height and 20% for head size and my pediatrician said "she is perfect. You are doing a great job." If baby is healthy and happy and gaining (doesn't have to gain much) forget about the numbers. I went crazy with my first worrying about numbers and he is 2 and just fine. Enjoy your LO!

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jun 2009

    Default Re: Low Weight Percentile

    It is really difficult when your child's pediatrician has told you to do something you do not think is needed or are concerned might be harmful. Of course no one here can counteract that medical advice, so you might want to either discuss the situation again with your pediatrician and/or seek a second opinion.

    It can be normal and fine for a baby to "drop" or "go up" percentiles in weight between appointments. And as pp suggests, a child being in a “lower” percentile overall is not an indicator that baby is not growing normally. Also, weight gain is one indicator of healthy normal growth, it is not the only indicator.

    Here are some things you might want to consider/think about and/or discuss with your pediatrician-not on any particular order.

    1) how are baby's other growth indicators (height, head circ, developmental milestones?
    2) have all weight checks (or at least this one and the previous one) been done on the same scale with baby naked or in dry diaper only? Was the weight check done carefully and weights written down accurately?
    3) does baby seem generally calm and contented after nursing ,or more typically fussy and unhappy?
    4) what was the exact weight gain in ounces between this appt and the last appointment and how many days was that over?
    5) what was gain like up until the 2 month appt (or whenever the previous appt/weight check was.)

    Other factors:
    1) has baby been ill ever, since the last weight check?
    2) could baby have an underlying condition causing weight gain issues?
    3) has baby been introduced to solids, water, or anything else besides breastmilk?

    More milk into baby as an option instead of formula:

    There is nothing about formula that is better than breastmilk or will make a baby gain better than breastmilk. Calorie and fat content of formula is designed to be as close to that of breastmilk as manufacturers can manage. If you think your baby really is not getting enough to eat, or that this is a possibility, think about:
    1) How often baby nurses. Could you nurse baby more often overall?
    2) Have you ever felt baby could nurse longer?
    3) try breast compressions or switch nursing to increase milk into baby
    4) talk to or (preferably) visit a lactation consultant so she can help you assess milk production/latch and sucking ability of baby.
    5) without reducing nursing sessions at all, what about pumping or hand expressing and giving what you express to baby instead of formula.
    6) If you think you may have low milk production, looking into ways to increase it such as herbs or foods that promote milk production. (Galactagogues)

    Breastfeeding expert Dr. Jack Newman recommends that, rather than formula, solids be introduced when a breastfed baby over 3 months of age is not gaining well on breastmilk alone. (After breastmilk consumption be upped as much as possible and baby is still not gaining well.) This is slightly controversial as some other breastfeeding experts believe that early solid introduction is harmful to breastfeeding due to it reducing baby’s appetite for nutritionally superior breastmilk. But you might want to read what he has to say on that subject.
    Last edited by @llli*lllmeg; October 7th, 2013 at 06:31 PM.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    May 2006

    Default Re: Low Weight Percentile

    How often does baby nurse- meaning how many times in a 24 hour period?

    In general, there's absolutely nothing wrong with being on the small end of the growth charts. Healthy babies come in all shapes and sizes, and statistically speaking there are just as many healthy babies in the 1 %ile as in the 99 %ile, and just as many in the 25 %ile as the 75 %ile, etc. As you said, your baby may just be small! Are you and your baby's dad smaller, lighter people?

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jun 2013

    Default Re: Low Weight Percentile

    Momma with a light weight for a child pipping in.

    My son was 7 pounds when born (25%) and then slowly dropped lower and lower on the weight chart each visit until his 6 month appointment when he bottomed out at 3% and still hadn't doubled his birth weight. My doctor expressed some mild concern but didn't suggest supplementing. At the 9 month appointment he was still 3% to which the doctor cheerfully said "he's consistent!"

    My son's length and head circumference experienced a less drastic drop - he started around 20% to 25% and ended at about 15%. I think this helped alleviate some of the concern. He was also hitting his developmental milestones. It's important to remember that weight isn't the only growth indicator.

    My mom said that all her babies (myself and three brothers) were like that, my nieces and nephews were very similar as well. We all started out "average" and then dropped off the growth charts.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Aug 2013

    Default Re: Low Weight Percentile

    Not an expert by any means, but I have a low weight percentile baby (3-7th percentile... yikes) despite being 7lb4oz at birth. My doctor looked at his head circumference and length and saw that those are both still wonderful and maintaining a good curve (70th and 50th respectively)... he mentioned that I could add formula but the head circ and length growth are more than reassuring and that he feels like my baby is just fine as he is. Not to mention my husband has a wicked metabolism that I think my DS has inherited.

    I found this website which I really appreciated telling you to look at the baby not at the scale. http://drjaygordon.com/pediatricks/newborns/scales.html . It has a checklist of things to look for in baby to really tell if he's thriving on what he is currently getting. It made me feel a lot better because my baby hits all of the signs. Here they are:

    Is your baby eager to nurse?
    Is your baby peeing and pooping well?
    Is your baby’s urine either clear or very pale yellow?
    Are your baby’s eyes bright and alert?
    Is your baby’s skin a healthy color and texture?
    Is your baby moving its arms and legs vigorously?
    Are baby’s nails growing?
    Is your baby meeting developmental milestones?
    Is your baby’s overall disposition happy and playful?
    Yes, your baby sleeps a lot, but when your baby is awake does he have periods of being very alert?

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jun 2009

    Default Re: Low Weight Percentile

    I agree with previous post. Why in the world do we need pediatricians if an infant's health can be assessed accurately by how much a child weighs at any given moment? This is one piece of information. Not all of it.

    IN the book My Child Won't Eat, pediatrician Carlos Gonzalez explains charting in a way I can almost understand. I strongly suggest this book for any parent who is concerend about thier child's weight gain. It costs about $10 us on amazon and I recently convinced my local library system to order several copies. The pages on charts and breastfed infants are 31-40 and 130-134. ( I am talking about the 2012 edition)

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