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Thread: Formula Supplement for Low Weight

  1. #1

    Default Formula Supplement for Low Weight

    3 month is old is 10 lb 9 oz and should be close to 12. I'm finding LO and I are lazy with feeding and she is content without being absolutely full. Our pediatrician wants us to supplement (1 tsp to 1 oz x 3/daily). Clearly my supply isn't given her the calories she needs. So now I'm making sure to offer her the other side, taking fenugreek, mothers milk tea and pumping 3 times a day. My breasts are feeling empty. She falls asleep at the breast all the time. I'm torn. Any advice to increase my supply? Anyone been in this situation? Thank you for the help!

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jun 2009

    Default Re: Formula Supplement for Low Weight

    Hi hblwmom, sorry you are having this concern. I can assure you many, many moms have issues with low milk production and there are many ways to increase milk production. And even more moms think they have a production issue when in fact all is normal. It is hard sometimes to figure out what exactly is going on.

    What is interesting (and a good sign you are getting some pretty breastfeeding supportive advice, in my opinion) is that the supplementing plan your pediatrician has suggested is 1) very specific as far as total amount to supplement (yay! this makes me very happy you would not believe how rare that is) and 2) really is not much at all. And yes even that small an amount of supplement might be the difference between slow gain and baby gaining normally. But if all the pediatrician thinks baby needs is 3 ounces extra a day, that is not much of an increase needed in what baby gets at the breast. 3 ounces is the equivalent of 1-2 feedings, normally. So I wonder if simply increasing how often baby nurses would not do the trick just as well? What do you think?

    You are pumping. How much milk do you get when you pump? Could you/do you supplement with that milk?

    Sometimes moms are told there is a problem when in fact gain is within normal range. So if you would like to post a compete weight check history with weight and day/week of life, noting whenever a different scale was used, then we can comment about that.

    It would also help to know how many times a day baby nurses, about how long nursing sessions are (it probably varies) and if baby typically takes both sides or not. Let us know if anything changed recently. (For example, baby was nursing 12 times in 24 hours before but for the last month that is down to 8, or any changes that may have impacted how much milk baby gets.) Also does baby tend to sleep long stretches and, if so, is baby sleeping in a different room from you, is swaddled for sleep, and is there much pacifier use? All might negatively impact how often a baby nurses.

    Any particular reason that you might have low milk production? Are you on a hormone based birth control, have trouble staying hydrated, using nipple shields- etc.

    I am not sure what exactly the suspected cause of slow gain is. On the one hand you say that you and baby have been lazy about feeding and she is content without being full. But you also say that
    Clearly my supply isn't given her the calories she needs.
    So, I am confused. Do you think baby has been nursing too infrequently or with not enough vigor and energy, or is baby nursing normally but you think you have low milk production? Because a baby not nursing often enough or well enough is one problem, and low milk production is a different problem. While the first may lead to the second, they are not the same problem to start with.

    Also, and this is very important, formula and breastmilk have the same caloric content ounce for ounce. So when a baby is not gaining normally the problem is baby is not getting enough milk overall. (That, or, rarely, there is some health issue and baby cannot gain well despite normal intake.) Just want to be sure you are not thinking there is something actually wrong calorie-wise with your milk itself.

    If your baby is truly not getting enough to eat, and nursing more often or more effectively is not helping, one option is to pump your own milk and supplement with that. The pumping is good for increasing production and baby gets the extra baby needs.

    If you are not able to express enough for baby's supplements, then you can supplement as needed with formula. But again pumping will be very important or the supplements themselves might cause further milk production issues because they will lead to baby taking less milk at the breast.

    Breasts feeling empty is normal for this age. Not saying it might not signify an issue, but in general most moms stop getting that full feeling by around 2-4 months even when they make plenty of milk. Of course that assumes baby is nursing with normal frequency. If you are going a very long time with no milk removal and still not getting full that might indicate an issue.

    A baby being so sleepy they do not want to nurse with normal frequency is normal for a brand newborn, but it would concern me with a 3 month old. If you have removed sleep lengthening techniques, are encouraging baby to nurse more often, and baby is simply not interested, that would sound like there might be some health issue. Of course extreme low intake would cause a baby to be too tired to nurse, but in that case I think your pediatrician would probably be suggesting more intervention I would think.

    What have you tried for keeping baby awake at the breast? Switching sides, breast compressions, stroking/rubbing baby's body, "pumping" a hand or foot, jiggling baby's chin, etc?

    Are you able (or have you already) seen an IBCLC in order to determine if there is any milk transfer issues?

    Here is an excellent article on low milk production: http://kellymom.com/?s=low+milk

  3. #3
    Join Date
    May 2006

    Default Re: Formula Supplement for Low Weight

    with everything in MaddieB's post above!

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Sep 2016

    Default Re: Formula Supplement for Low Weight

    Hi there. I had a sleepy baby who was slow to gain weight. Her problem was an undiagnosed allergy to the dairy in my diet - once I went dairy free we were able to stay EBF and her gain rallied. Have you considered the possibility of an allergy?

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