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Thread: 3.5 week old weight gain concern

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Feb 2015
    Posts
    68

    Default 3.5 week old weight gain concern

    Hi all,

    I have a 3.5 MONTH (Not week as in the title) old girl who is exclusively breastfed. Her birth weight was exactly 8 lbs. Since birth she has gained on average a little over 5 ounces/week, so on the lower side of normal, but still keeping up. She is growing in length and very appropriate for development, so no concerns there.

    My main concern is that I weighed her today on the same scale as 1 week ago exactly and she had only gained 1.5 ounces, from 12 lbs 6 oz last week to 12 lbs 7.5 oz today. That really surprised me. She seems happy and we are changing wet and dirty diapers, though I'm not counting how many a day.

    The only things I can think that may be happening are:

    1. I went to work over the weekend (first full days back at work) and she fed EBM from a bottle both days from my husband and her grandmother. I pumped while at work and got 3-5 ounces per session. Could returning to work have affected her interest in nursing? She seems a little disinterested in nursing during the day; I have to put her on the breast every 2-3 hours and then she nurses for a pretty short period of time, gets frustrated when the flow slows (starts pulling like taffy and grunting, crying) and so I take her off, switch breasts, then just stop. If I let her sit there longer, she shows frustrated behavior and pulls off repeatedly, doesn't really suckle.

    2. We have come to rely on the pacifier a lot to soothe her. I still nurse her every 2-3 hours or more (nighttime is 3-4 feeds/night) but when she fusses, both my husband and I definitely use the pacifier to calm her down (only if I know we have recently nursed and so I assume she's not fussing out of hunger). Should we wean the pacifier?

    Sorry for the long entry. This most recent weight freaked me out, particularly since her weight gain overall has been just barely meeting the minimum of 5 oz/week. Thank you for reading!!

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Oct 2012
    Posts
    2,578

    Default Re: 3.5 week old weight gain concern

    Is this your regular home scale that you use to weigh yourself? If so, it may not be that accurate (although the fact that it's reading ounces makes me think it's more than that). It's possible the transition to work is playing into it; after all, it's a big transition for her, too. Which does not mean that she won't adjust and continue to gain normally. Some babies do develop a bottle preference when mom goes back to work, though. Is your caregiver doing paced feeding? If you're worried, it definitely does not hurt to offer more often (say, every 1.5 to 2 hours) and to cut back or stop the pacifier use when you are at home, especially if there is a concern for bottle preference. Use the breast to soothe instead. I mean, it's hard to know why she is fussing, she will not overfeed at the breast, so there is no downside to offering to nurse. And it helps you both reconnect when you get home from a day of work! (Even my 3 yo wants to nurse and nurse when I get home from work!) When you are apart from her, on the other hand, if the pacifier helps prevent overfeeding with the bottle, that can be helpful.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Feb 2015
    Posts
    68

    Default Re: 3.5 week old weight gain concern

    Sorry I should have clarified. I go to a mom-baby group at the local Birthing Center and they have an infant scale there. I weigh her mostly for fun, though today it was not so fun to see that number!

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jun 2009
    Posts
    10,754

    Default Re: 3.5 week old weight gain concern

    I agree with bfwmomof3. Here are a few idea I have picked up from The Womanly Art of Breastfeeding and My Child Won't Eat.

    1) After three months, babies typically start gaining measurably more slowly than previously. Also about this age, 3 or 4 months, many babies appear less interested in nursing, fussy when nursing, or in some other way change their nursing or other behavior. (Some want to nurse MORE often.) At the same time, moms often feel as if they are more "empty" than previously. This is all usually entirely normal and basically a normal stage. This is described brilliantly in My Child Won't Eat as the 'Crisis at 3 months." The reason it is a crisis is these changes may cause mom to think she is unable to provide for her baby and in many cases, starts supplementing when it is not necessary. I cannot replicate all what the author says here, so I can only suggest the book.

    Of course this is also the age that many moms return to work and yes, bottle feedings can change the way baby responds to the breast. This is why being sure baby is fed in a breastfeeding supportive way when away from you, as well as encouraged to nurse when with you, can be very important for breastfeeding longevity.

    2) Because babies gain in fits and starts and not totally steadily, the gain that occurs in one week is not necessarily an accurate reflection of overall average gain. You might also ask if the scale has been changed out or recalibrated between the weight checks.

    3) Pacifier overuse is definitely linked to poor gain and/or poor milk production in some cases. So I think it is a good idea to lessen the pacifier use at least somewhat. Nursing longevity is improved if baby is encouraged to not only feed but to comfort at the breast.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Feb 2015
    Posts
    68

    Default Re: 3.5 week old weight gain concern

    Thanks to both of you for the excellent input. Husband and I had a talk this evening about more judicious pacifier use (when I am around, we put to breast first, pacifier maybe second and only if she's been offered breast) and agreed to watch it much more closely. The book you mention maddieb sounds really interesting. She is acting just like that--just seems like she could care less about nursing, popping on and off, very distractable...like she'd rather be doing something else! I appreciate your input and will have to look into that book myself. Thanks again!

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jun 2009
    Posts
    10,754

    Default Re: 3.5 week old weight gain concern

    I cannot recommend Dr. Gonzalez's books enough- both My Child Won't Eat and Kiss Me! How to Raise Your Children With Love. Gonzalez approaches his subjects with lots of passion and compassion for children and their parents, backed up by lots of science and substance. Plus he is an excellent writer.

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