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Thread: Baby lacking appetite!

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Feb 2006
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    15

    Default Baby lacking appetite!

    Help!!! My baby is 7 wks old, and has yet to attain and maintain his birth weight! He was born 10 days pat due, and was 8 lbs 12 oz, now only 8 lbs 10 oz. I have been working with a lactation consultant to make sure the problem isn't with me, or him. I have good volume, thick and rich looking milk. We're using a nipple shield, which seems to help keep him latched quieter, but his latch is good, he has a strong suck, and a good swallow. The issue is that in 30-40 minutes of feeding, both sides, he takes only 2.5 to 3 oz of milk. He only nurses 5-6 times a day, or 15-18 oz per day. I tried offering expressed milk in a bottle, no breast, and he only took amounts in the same range.
    He's pathetically thin, and I have no idea about what to check, or more to the point, have the doctors check, to see why he has a less than satisfactory appetite. They're talking force-feeding him super high calorie formula, so he gets more bang for his buck, but there has to be something causing this!
    Has anyone ever run into this? Does anyone have any suggestions? I want to nurse my baby, but it's really hard to defend breastmilk to doctors when it seems to be the first and primary thing they blame. I've looked at dietary issues for me, and like I said, my LC said my milk looked great, plenty fatty and rich. Please help, I need ideas about what might cause an infant to have an insufficient appetite!
    Last edited by Indigo gal; June 23rd, 2006 at 08:48 PM.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jun 2006
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    181

    Default Re: Baby lacking appetite!

    How much is he sleeping? Are you waking him for feedings? I suppose if it were me, I'd be waking him every 2 hours for a feeding-even if he only eats a little, it'll be more often, so he'll be getting more. Me, I never had this problem-both my kids were round the clock nursers!! My only other advice is to make sure there's no medical issues with him, since it sounds like you've excluded any problems with you.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jan 2006
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    18,063

    Default Re: Baby lacking appetite!

    how about renting a good baby scale and weighting him after each feed at home and writing everything down.
    Did you have an iv for a long time at birth? Some babies can get water logged if mom gets lots of iv. That causes their birth weight to be more than it would have been.
    Encourage the baby to nurse more. Maybe some kangaroo care would help.
    http://www.breastfeeding.com/all_abo..._kangaroo.html

    breastcompressions could help too
    http://www.kellymom.com/newman/15bre...mpression.html

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jan 2006
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    18,063

    Default Re: Baby lacking appetite!

    http://www.lalecheleague.org/NB/NBNovDec99p196.html

    heres a link about working with your doctor..
    that might help too..
    you might want to call your local lll leader they could help you figure out what you want to say to your doctor.
    good luck

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Feb 2006
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    1,168

    Default Re: Baby lacking appetite!

    Are you still working with an IBCLC? This sounds to me like a pretty serious case, still not back to birth weight at 7 weeks. This is not something that you should rely on a messageboard for solutions -- although we will certainly provide whatever support and encouragement we can.

    One possible explanation for your baby's apparent lack of appetite is that when a young baby is not getting enough to eat, he may sleep very soundly for long stretches and be hard to wake. And, of course, it's hard to get a very sleepy baby to eat -- so it becomes a vicious cycle.

    Does your IBCLC know that the baby is nursing only 5 or 6 times a day? To me, that's a huge red flag. He needs to eat more frequently. If you can get him awake and nursing every two hours (from the start of one feeding to the start of the next), right around the clock, then that should help. But, at this point, I wouldn't reject the doctor's advice about the special high-calorie formula, either. It's critical that your baby start growing. Work with your doctor and IBCLC to figure out the best approach, and good luck to you.

    --Rebecca

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Apr 2006
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    1,064

    Default Re: Baby lacking appetite!

    I'm so sorry your having such a hard time. You mentioned you are using a nipple shield and that is helps the baby latch "quieter". I'm assuming this means that you were having difficulty with the latch without the shield? Sometimes a nipple shield can interfere with the transfer of milk. However, if baby took similar amounts from the bottle, then that is probably not the problem. It sounds like baby needs to feed more frequently, as pp's have suggested. Are you able to nurse laying down? If so, you can try taking baby to bed and allowing free access to your breasts around the clock for awhile. Try to encourage him to nurse as frequently as possible. Or, if going to bed isn't an option, you could trying wearing baby in a sling and doing some kangaroo care--again encouraging nursing as frequently as possible. I'd strongly recommend continuuing to work with the IBCLC. Also, if you need to supplement with the high calorie formula, it doesn't mean that you need to give up on breastfeeding. It could be that for one reason or another baby wasn't getting enough milk and therefore became more sleepy and nursed less and less and so on. If the high calorie formula helps to put on some weight, he may become more alert and stronger and therefore able to nurse more vigorously for longer periods of time. You could try giving the formula through a nursing supplementer. Also, if baby is only taking 20 oz a day, your supply may begin to dwindle. So, you may want to start doing some pumping until he is nursing more in order to help maintain it. I really hope things start going better for you! Let us know how its going.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Feb 2006
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    15

    Default Re: Baby lacking appetite!

    Thank you all for answering! I know that this issue is too serious to just be answered on a message board... I am working with my pediatrician, and several nurses, as well as my IBCLC, and have been to see a specialist CNP in gastroenterology dept at Children's Hosp, soon to see the doctor. I just am out of ideas about why he may be so lacking in appetite! My baby won't wake up to nurse when he's really sleeping, or not hungry. He will either not close his mouth, or he will then fall right back to sleep. If I annoy him too much (playing with his feet, face, blowing air at him, cool cloth, etc.) he spits me out and won't start up again. I do pump some, to make sure I have volume, and enjoy mother's milk tea daily.
    No, I didn't have any fluids during labor, only after. He arrived quickly!
    I do wear my baby a lot, though I haven't tried wearing him for nursing yet.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Feb 2006
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    1,168

    Default Re: Baby lacking appetite!

    I'm glad you're working with a good team that includes an IBCLC and a specialist. No doubt you are worried about this whole situation. Hopefully once he gets more calories, by whatever means, and starts growing, he will stop being so sleepy and will be better able to nurse enough to meet his needs. Good for you for pumping -- try to keep that up on whatever schedule your IBCLC advises -- many moms here have BTDT for the long haul and know how much work it involves -- but it will be wonderful to still have a good milk supply available when he does finally show more interest in nursing.

    I will keep you in my thoughts; let us know how things are going and how we can support and encourage you.

    --Rebecca

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Mar 2006
    Posts
    190

    Default Re: Baby lacking appetite!

    I had similar problems, though not as serious. We had to supplement, and when we did she got her energy back, and she was MUCH more efficient at the breast, and much more eager to eat all the time. It seemed like it happened over night.

    Your baby sounds lethargic and weak to me. I would deffinitly use the higher calorie formula. We got the Enfamil Enfacare Lipil. It is 22 calories instead of the regular 20. Once she perked up with that we went back to the regular 20 calorie stuff, and now, at 15 weeks, we're formula free.

    If you don't want to use a bottle, you can try an SNS. We did but it made her latch terrible and it hurt me, so we used bottles. We were lucky, she never showed signs of nipple confusion.

    I'd be willing to bed with the extra calories that your babe will perk up and show more interest in nursing. I can totally relate to what you're going through.

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