This is my first post on this forum. What a wonderful resource! I apologize for writing a book. I just wanted to make sure I didn't leave out any details!
My 6th baby was born May 2nd. I've been breastfeeding almost non-stop (there was a 2 month break between baby #3 and baby #4) for 16 years. My babies have all been lean, but healthy. We nurse on-demand, and other than the one 2 oz bottle 5 month old baby #1 got over 15 years ago, we've never used formula.
My newest little guy was 8 lbs 8 oz at birth. He lost a little bit of weight, but was back to birth weight and gaining fairly quickly. He was 10 lbs 4 oz at 6 weeks. And then his weight slowed. Here are his weights.
Birth - 8 lbs 8 oz
6 weeks - 10 lbs 4 oz
3 months - 10 lbs 8 oz
5 months - 11 lbs 9 oz
6 months - 12 lbs 2 oz
His length has been consistently at the 90th percentile (he's *very* long!) and his head circumference is 50th percentile.
My baby is having plenty of wet diapers (have to change at least every 2 hours, and wakes up soaked every morning). He only poops once every week or 10 days, but doesn't seem constipated (it looks almost like pumpkin puree!)
He is healthy, happy, and developmentally on target (can roll over, sit up, interacts well).
We breastfeed *at least* every two hours during the day, and several times at night (we co-sleep). He doesn't take a pacifier, but loves, loves, loves his fingers. He vehemently refuses my right breast unless I feed him in a football hold, then he'll half heartedly eat from it. My supply is definitely less on that side.
At the baby's 5 month check up, our doctor was very concerned about the slow weight gain. He suggested supplementing with formula. I didn't want to because all of my children have food allergies and intolerances, and this baby seems to be no exception. He breaks out in rashes and gets tummy upset when I eat dairy, soy, corn, and wheat (all of which I try to avoid). Of course formula is made from most of these things!
We compromised that we'd watch things for a month while I pumped the right side to try and increase its supply, and fed the baby a bottle of this milk after he's nursed on the left side. So, that is what we did. Unfortunately, I have always had a hard time pumping, and can only get about an ounce per side. I have an Avent Isis pump, and a friend lent me her Medela bag pump - I get the same amount with both pumps. I have been pumping several times a day and saving up those ounces for one bedtime bottle (given after I have nursed on the left, and if he'll take it, right side).
My baby *loves* the bottle and gets excited when he sees it. He usually finishes the 4 oz and falls asleep.
Last week we went back to the doctor, and our baby hasn't even gained a pound this month He's around the 3rd percentile for weight, still 90th for height. The doctor is very concerned, and said the baby needs more calories or he could go into organ failure or suffer developmental and cognitive delays. We agreed to supplement with formula (we got Alimentum), and have given him one 4 oz bottle at bedtime every night since Wednesday. I have been adding a tablespoon of blueberry juice and a serving of baby probiotics to help with the *horrible* constipation and bleeding fissures that have happened since we started the formula.
Today our baby weighed 13 pounds. He gained more in the past three days than he did all of last month! So, it appears he really wasn't getting enough calories from me. I asked the doctor why this would be so when I am nursing on demand, and have successfully nursed 5 other babies, and he said he doesn't know.
So, I guess that is my question: why? It seems strange that my breastmilk would all of a sudden become less calorie dense after 16 years of successful nursing. We've had no latch issues, no reflux issues (as long as I am careful about what I eat). I don't feel like I have supply issues (I get full, and am noticeably deflated after a feeding). So, why won't my baby grow without formula?
Thank you for your thoughts on this matter!