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Thread: Newborn weight loss concerns

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jul 2008
    Posts
    10

    Question Newborn weight loss concerns

    Sorry in advance for the long post... I'm a new mom and have always planned on breastfeeding my baby. My son was born on 7/16 via c-section (footling breech) at 39 weeks. I started breastfeeding as soon as I could in the hospital. We had trouble at first with latching on, but eventually he got the hang of it and was feeding regularly. The problem is, he hasn't yet started to gain weight, and I'm really concerned! His birthweight was 8 lbs 7 oz. I had been on an IV, so I think he was quite bloated from that. His discharge weight on 7/19 was 7 lbs 8 oz, which is much closer to what the doctor had estimated based on his final ultrasound. 2 days after discharge he had dropped to 7 lbs 4.4 oz, and 4 days after that he was down to 7 lbs 3 oz.

    I've been reading everything I can get my hands on about whether he's getting enough milk, etc. He didn't get rid of the rest of his meconium until the night of discharge (when we were home), but after that he pooped regularly. He has a bowel movement basically every time he is nursed, and sometimes more. His poop is a mustard color. I have worked with two different lactation consultants. The first said he appears very healthy and it looks like I am doing everything correctly. She suspected his birthweight was inflated. The second LC was less supportive and heavily suggested supplementation. His pediatrician has seen him twice and says that he is a very healthy boy. The pediatrician said that I should not consider supplementation yet, and that I simply need to feed him whenever he is hungry. He thinks my son is leveling off now and will begin to gain soon. My baby is extremely strong for a newborn (lifts up his head, can almost roll over, and pushes himself up with his arms) and is very alert when awake, so he seems quite healthy. He is jaundiced, but the bilirubin level peaked at 14 and has started to go down...it doesn't seem to have affected his energy level or anything.

    Everyone says I should feed my baby every 2 hours and no more than 4 hours at night. At first I was very faithful about scheduling his feedings, and waking him up if needed. The problem is, if his sleep is interrupted he becomes extremely grumpy - he has screaming fits, and getting him to latch on and stay there is a real challenge! He also has trouble settling back to sleep afterwards. The constant screaming took such a toll on me emotionally that I was worried I had post-partum depression, and I decided to try letting my baby set the schedule instead of "forcing" him to eat. That approach works much better for both of us. If I let him wake up on his own, he is in a good mood for his feedings, and nurses well. I am much more relaxed and able to cope. He typically sleeps for about 5 hours at night, and during the day it varies...sometimes he wants to eat 1 1/2 hours apart, sometimes 3 1/2. We've had a couple marathon cluster feeding sessions as well (which aren't fun, but I can handle them if he isn't screaming bloody murder the whole time! ) He definitely ends up with his 8+ feedings per day. He typically nurses for 20 to 30 minutes per breast, and has each breast at every feeding. If he is satisfied he will cuddle up against my chest and fall asleep. If he's still hungry he roots around for more and will not sleep. My instinct tells me to stick with what works, but I am concerned about whether or not he will gain weight without a regular feeding schedule. As far as I can tell my milk is in just fine - both breasts leak! I am thinking of buying a pump just to make sure he's getting enough.

    People keep telling me "you're doing a great job!", but I don't really feel very successful as long as he isn't gaining. I broke down crying in front of the LC at his last weigh-in because I just felt like all my hard work and lack of sleep was for nothing I just want my beautiful baby boy to be healthy!
    Last edited by @llli*cariadlawn; July 27th, 2008 at 09:54 PM.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Apr 2008
    Posts
    4,047

    Default Re: Newborn weight loss concerns

    you're doing a great job mama! I was told that it can take up to 3 weeks for infants to get back to their birth weights, so don't worry too much. A few questions. How many wet diapers is he having? He should be having 5-6 per 24 hours and lots of poops. If he is getting the right amount of wets (or more) he is getting your milk!

    about the feeding times, personally, I would offer my breast if he went longer than 3 hours during the day, but I would probably feed on demand during the night and let him sleep for as long as he wants/needs to. Now is a critical time for establishing your milk supply, so you want to be nursing frequently.

    It sounds like you're doing great! keep up the good work mama!
    ~Jenn~


    mother of 2 boys!
    08/14/98~~03/20/08

    Birth: 7lbs 12oz, 1 year: 22lbs 11oz
    until he self-weaned 4 days before his third birthday ... still on occasion ... and happily

    ************************************************** ************************************************** *****************
    People need to understand that when they're deciding between breastmilk and formula, they're not deciding between Coke and Pepsi.... They're choosing between a live, pure substance and a dead substance made with the cheapest oils available. ~Chele Marmet

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Dec 2007
    Posts
    186

    Default Re: Newborn weight loss concerns

    Momma, you ARE doing a great job!

    First, give yourself a pat on the back for having a pedi that is A) Not worried yet and B) Supportive of your nursing effort. To find both those things in a single doctor these days is rare indeed.

    Now, it can take up to three weeks for baby to get back to birth weight, especially if IV fluids were involved and baby is nursing.

    His bili levels are dropping, he's eating well, wetting plenty of diapers, is happy, healthy, and strong. My little guy could hold his head fairly steady at ten days old but couldn't use his arms at all and didn't figure out rolling until he was about six months old. So your little guy is ahead of the curve on a few physical skills already. He WILL gain weight. Nurse him as often as he wishes to and you'll soon see him pack on the pounds.

    ~~ Meri
    Truth never dies but it leads a wretched life.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    Posts
    528

    Default Re: Newborn weight loss concerns

    My lo lost over a pound during the first week, it was a nightmare and we were told to keep waking her up. She had bili problems so that was the cause, she was just too sleepy to eat. I killed myself waking her and like you said, she just didn't want to eat that often. It took 3 weeks to get back to her birth weight of 8 lb 3 oz. In hindsight, I would not have woken her that much, she simply didn't want to do it. I would keep in close contact with the ped, maybe going in every few days and watch the output closely. Like pp said, don't let daytime sleep go on for more than 3 hrs, you will pay for it at night. Anyway, fast forward 15 mths and my lo is 97 % for weight and thriving. I wish I hadn't been so scared back then but it is hard with that hormone rush. Just keep nursing and teh only thing I would do if you are worried about establishing supply is maybe pump a few times a day after your lo eats. I found that gave me a great supply. Good luck and feel free to pm me if you have more questions.
    Mom to Abigail, born May 3rd, 2007 (self-weaned at 27 mths) and Charlotte, born Nov. 24th, 2009. Both reflux babies and EBF. Charlotte weighs 31 lbs at 26 mths.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Dec 2007
    Posts
    186

    Default Re: Newborn weight loss concerns

    << My instinct tells me to stick with what works, but I am concerned about whether or not he will gain weight without a regular feeding schedule. As far as I can tell my milk is in just fine - both breasts leak! I am thinking of buying a pump just to make sure he's getting enough. >>

    I wanted to say something about this last night but forgot - foggy momma brain, lol.

    Research shows that babies fed on demand *tend to* gain weight better than babies put on a strict feeding schedule. So stick with what's working - on demand feeding - and I'm SURE you'll start to see weight gain soon!

    ~~ Meri
    Truth never dies but it leads a wretched life.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    May 2008
    Posts
    213

    Default Re: Newborn weight loss concerns

    You're doing a great job, and it sounds like your instinct is good. Feeding on demand is the best way - why force a baby to eat when he's not hungry (unless there are medical reasons why he's not waking up to eat). Stick with what's working for you both!

    And, it's nice to hear that your pediatrician is supportive of the continued bf without supplementation. So often the medical professionals rush to advise formula when the baby is healthy but maybe gaining slower than the average. Just remember that the weight gain charts are based on averages and that not all babies will fall into that range. If the wets and poopies are good, he's eating 8-12 times per day and he's gaining weight, then it sounds like you're doing just fine.
    Fran
    Mom to Anna, March 28, 2008

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jul 2008
    Posts
    10

    Default Re: Newborn weight loss concerns

    Thanks for the support everyone! After several days of cluster feeding that I thought I was not going to survive, my son has settled back into a more regular feeding "schedule" (I'm still letting him call the shots), and it seems to me like he has grown leaps and bounds overnight! It seems like he's really starting to fill out, and his jaundice is rapidly disappearing as well. His two week appointment is on Thursday, so hopefully the doctor's scale will confirm what I think I'm seeing! :-) I had a fabulous day with him today...he was almost angelic - fed easily approx. every 2 1/2 hours, and settled right down for naps afterwards. I'm really starting to feel more positive about breastfeeding!

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