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Thread: Baby not gaining adequate weight

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Nov 2006
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    Unhappy Baby not gaining adequate weight

    Greetings,

    I have just returned from my son’s 1 month doctor’s appointment with disheartening news : My baby has only gained 8 ounces in the past three weeks. Besides his insufficient weight gain, my son seems to be thriving (He has excellent length and head-circumference growth, has a good amount of “awake” time, and adequate urine and bowel output.)

    I’m perplexed on why his weight gain would be so poor, as I seem to have plenty of milk and my baby eats for approx. 30-40 minutes every three hours.

    Does anyone know of ways to increase the amount of calories in my milk? I am undoubtedly guilty of not taking proper care of myself over the past few weeks (not eating properly, getting enough fluids, or getting enough rest). Could that affect the quality of my milk?

    The Pediatrician has instructed me to now only feed the baby for 10 minutes on each breast, and then offer formula. I’m afraid that once I start supplementing, I will never be able, or allowed by the doctor, to stop.

    I’m so discouraged and disheartened! I feel like I have been starving my baby for the past few weeks. Can anyone offer any advice?

    Thanks!

  2. #2
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    Default Re: Baby not gaining adequate weight

    First of all, you have not and are not starving your baby. The fact that your son has gained weight, increased in length, and has proper bowel/urine output is proof right then and there of a JOB WELL DONE!!!

    Some babies are just much slower to gain weight. Based on the fact that your LO is having proper output, is growing in other areas (head/length), I would STRONGLY discourage you from supplementing with formula. If you do that, your milk supply will undoubtedly decrease...causing you to to need to supplement more, and thus the end of your milk supply and BFing. And for what??? a few extra ounces?

    What was his birth weight, lowest weight, and highest? Babies don't always gain according to a set formula/textbook case. Give your baby a chance to adjust and don't doubt your milk supply.

    Also remember, the doctor isn't a god, isn't someone who's advice you always have to follow word for word. You know your baby better than the doc, who only sees your baby once every few months. You are allowed to not follow your pedi's advice. Its ok. Why not give the baby a few more weeks to see how he gains?
    All over the world there exists in every society a small group of women who feel themselves strongly attracted to giving care to other women during pregnancy and childbirth. Failure to make use of this group of highly motivated people is regrettable and a sin against the principle of subsidiary. ~ Dr. Kloosterman, Chief of OB/GYN, Univ. of Amsterdam, Holland


    **Leslie**

    Mama to:
    Shiloh (5/6/06) Nursed for 13 months and Josephine (7/26/08) Nursed for 23.5 mos Currently nursing my new little firecracker, Finley Catherine, born on the 4th of July!!

  3. #3
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    Default Re: Baby not gaining adequate weight

    Hi there, I hear that your doctor gave you sort of disapointing news ...
    I can imagine your worry about the weight, but suppliment!! Sheesh. Do these dr.s even know how common economics work? Supply and demand. Its not to hard to understand!!
    I can totally relate.
    Is there any way you can get a second opinion?
    I had a docter tell me something similar but I am guilty of having ignored the advice, choosing instead to use my innate senses as a mother...
    but that was just me.

  4. #4
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    Default Re: Baby not gaining adequate weight

    Forgot to add that everyones bm is pretty much the same and that I saw a post from a lll moderator that stated you couldn't increase the fat content of your milk.

  5. #5
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    Default Re: Baby not gaining adequate weight

    I agree with previous posts about supply and demand and that your LO seems to be doing pretty good. His growth, other than weight seem to indicate this. And one more thing, shhhhheeeeesh to these dr's out there. It makes you wonder why they would say such things. My Dr offered me formula sample cans too. I told him "No thank you!!!!" and that he can keep the formula for his own newborn and switched dr!

  6. #6
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    marie1965 is offline Shares Widely And Frequently
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    Default Re: Baby not gaining adequate weight

    My dd's weight gain was slow the first few weeks... she didn't gain her birth weight back til past the 3 week mark... Luckily my pedi didn't even mention formula--she just said to up her nursings and to not let more than 3 hours pass between feedings.... We had to wake her up at night even. The more often she ate, the more milk I made, so the cycle does work!!

    The problem with supplementing is that each time you give formula, that's that much less breastmilk your ds is getting, and a signal to your body that it doesn't need to make milk for that feeding. If possible, try and get him some additional nursing sessions and see how his weight gain is. And even if it's still slow, if his diaper output is good and he's happy and alert, he's probably thriving just fine.

    Good luck to you.

  7. #7
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    Default Re: Baby not gaining adequate weight

    About the fat content of your milk. I also worried at the beginning that my milk was not "good enough" because I did not take good care of myself (like sleeping, eating well etc). But one thing I learned on this forum is that the quality of your milk does not change unless you are severily malnourished. And, you probably aren`t. BUT, it is important to take care of yourself as best as you can. Eat to hunger and drink to thirst (drinking a lot of water is really important). Continue taking your prenatal vitamins and get as much rest as you can.
    HTH
    Peace

    Mommy to a busy toddler

    "He is no fool who gives what he cannot keep in order to gain that which he cannot lose."
    Jim Elliot

  8. #8
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    Default Re: Baby not gaining adequate weight

    I would agree that you shouldn't assume supplementing is the way just from your doctor's opinion - get some more advice. There are loads of stages to go through before using formula - like meeting an LC/ LLL leader and getting latching advice. It's also my experience that going by only one bit of weighing information is dangerous. My neighbour began supplementing on advice and then later realised her daughter's weight had been plotted on the 'boy chart'. Mistakes with weighing and recording happen all the time. It would only take one reading or transcription error for you to end ebf.
    The first step if you actually have to supplement with anything should be to supplement from your own supply e.g. extra bottles of expressed milk before using formula. BUt as I said there's stuff to do before that - like looking at latch, feeding more frequently, breast compression.

    I'm also very wary of the '10 minute' advice. Surely the best advice even among doctors advocating formula would be to finish the breast properly not just risk a foremilk feed. This makes me doubt his credibility to be honest.

    You've got options.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Apr 2006
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    Default Re: Baby not gaining adequate weight

    Quote Originally Posted by Estout View Post
    Greetings,
    The Pediatrician has instructed me to now only feed the baby for 10 minutes on each breast, and then offer formula. I’m afraid that once I start supplementing, I will never be able, or allowed by the doctor, to stop.
    This is not sound advice for improving weight gain. I'd recommend getting a second opinion (maybe from a lactation consultant or other doctor more knowledgable about BF). Sometimes, supplementation is necessary. However, even if supplemental feeding is necessary, limiting time at the breast is never a good idea. As you fear, this will likely lead to baby getting less hindmilk, and your supply decreasing. Also, if supplementing is needed even though you have plenty of milk, you can supplement with expressed breastmilk rather than formula.

    First, lets take a closer look at your baby's growth. What baby's birth weight? Lowest weight after birth and date that weight was taken? Current weight and date that weight was taken? It is important to measure weight gain from the lowest weight, not the birth weight.

    How many wet and dirty diapers are you seeing each 24 hours?

    When a baby is gaining weight but the growth is slow (rather than a baby not gaining at all or losing), it is often acceptable to try to address the problem through management of breastfeeding first, before opting for supplementation. You could try talking to your doctor about this option, and schedule another appointment for a weight check soon. You said your baby currently nurses every 3 hours. Can you try to offer the breast more often? How many times does he currently feed in 24 hours? Babies usually need 8-12 feedings per day. With a slow gainer you may want to try for the higher end of that range (at least 10-12 per day or more). Are you seeing active sucking/swallowing at the breast or does baby fall asleep quickly and begin more comfort sucking?

    With some more information, maybe we can help you get your baby's weight gain on track and preserve your breastfeeding relationship!

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Oct 2006
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    Default Re: Baby not gaining adequate weight

    My doctor gave me the same advice (limit the time on the breast and then supplement) the first time dd didn't gain weight. It was the first red flag to me that breastfeeding wasn't as important to the doctor as it is to me. She also gave me the spiel about how my breastmilk must not have enough calories in it. I have not found documentation anywhere that breastmilk can become devoid of calories. Through my research it seems that the two most likely causes of slow weight gain in babies is not enough time at the breast and a poor latch. A low milk supply might be a likely culprit too.

    My suggestion....nurse....often...every time you turn around...till you feel like all you're doing is nursing...then do breast compressions while you nurse....nurse more....talk to a lactation consultant or a LLL leader....check your latch...nurse.

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