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Thread: 8 Month Old Not Gaining Weight, Please Advise

  1. #1

    Default 8 Month Old Not Gaining Weight, Please Advise

    Hi all,

    My son is 8 months old and is struggling to gain weight. Here's the story: At his 6 month checkup, he had only gained three ounces since his 4 month visit; weighing in at 14 lbs. The ped told me I needed to really push the solids while continuing to breastfeed, trying to get him to eat 12 oz. of solids a day right off the bat. She said if he didn't gain weight, she would have to order a battery of tests to determine if something was wrong. Through this time, he was growing in head circumference, length, was happy, and was meeting all developmental milestones, so I wasn't really upset about the slow weight gain. However, to avoid subjecting him to invasive tests when I knew nothing was wrong, I pressed the solids so we would pass the weight "test." About two weeks later, I found out I was pregnant, so my son was about 4.5-5 months old when I conceived. I now feel that his lack of gain during this time was due to the new pregnancy.

    We had the weight check at 7 months, he had gained 1.5 lbs., the ped gave the all clear. My son now eats 36 oz. of solids a day, plus is nursing about 5-6 times per day, however in the last month since the weight check, he hasn't gained any weight

    I'm afraid the pregnancy is really affecting my milk and his nursing. He's not as interested anymore, and will often push me away. I know solids can't compensate for breastmilk and are not as fatty or nutritious, but I don't know what to do.

    Does anyone have experience with this, and how can I put some pounds on him?

    Thanks!

  2. #2
    Join Date
    May 2006
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    21,107

    Default Re: 8 Month Old Not Gaining Weight, Please Advise

    Hi Mama! How cool of you to continue to nurse during your pregnancy! Not all mamas are as generous. And even if the amount of milk your baby is getting is fairly small, that small amount still contains calories and you're still providing a terrific immunological benefit.

    It sounds like your little guy may be racing towards self-weaning. Of course that's not the ideal situation with a baby who is still under a year old, but if you're pregnant and your milk supply has really dipped, it might not be something you can prevent.

    Have you ever tried pumping? If your baby isn't nursing well, you might be able to give him breastmilk in a bottle or a sippy cup, or mix it with his solids.

    Regarding your baby's weight gain- once a breastfed baby is over 6 months old, weight gain often slows way down, and many babies drop a few percentiles. It's a normal consequence of the baby becoming more and more mobile, and expending calories on movement instead of packing them on as fat. As long as your child continues to grow in height and head circumference, and continues to make his milestones, there isn't really a reason to worry about a pause in weight gain. And it seems like your baby has more or less stayed around the same percentile since 6 months old (see chart)- that's normal, even though he's on the lower end of the chart. Healthy babies come in all shapes and sizes, and just as there are healthy babies in the 99th percentile, there are healthy babies in the 1st percentile.

    If you are really, really worried about your baby's weight gain (and I don't think you need to be), here are some things you can try:
    - Nurse more often, or (as mentioned above), try pumping and offering breastmilk via bottle, sippy, or mixed in food.
    - If your baby will take a bottle, try giving him "double-cream" bottles. Pump a bottle, allow it to sit in the fridge. When the cream rises to the top, skim it off and add that to a second bottle of pumped milk.
    - Concentrate on high-calorie solids like whole-milk yogurt, avocados, meats, and beans. Don't be afraid to add some olive oil to his food.
    - Formula. I hate to use the "F" word around here, but if you determine that your baby is not taking in enough breastmilk, then formula is not the worst option. It's closer to mama's milk than anything else you can offer. But don't think of it as a magic bullet- again, after 6 months, it's normal for weight gain to slow down or pause.
    Coolest thing my big girl said recently: "How can you tell the world is moving when you are standing on it?"
    Coolest thing my little girl sang recently: "I love dat one-two pupples!"

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Mar 2006
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    Default Re: 8 Month Old Not Gaining Weight, Please Advise



    You are not alone. There have been several mamas who got pregnant when their LO was very young and had problems subsequently with weight gain. Check out the tandem nursing section here, and you'll probaby find some.

    I know for me, having nursed while pregnant a few times now, that pregnancy hammers my supply, hammers it hard and fast. As early as 5 to 8 weeks, I have a significant drop in supply, and well before 20 weeks, I would not be able to provide any milk to significantly feed a younger baby; fortunately, all of my babies were over 12 months of age and eating solids very well by the time I conceived again. My babies increased their nursing trying to drive my supply up, and it didn't work.

    In your case, you are doing what you can. Supply, during pregnancy, is not driven by demand. It's hormonally based. While you can nurse and nurse and nurse, it won't increase your supply like it will normally. Nurse while and when you can, feed your baby solids even though they are not as good a source of nutrition as breastmilk, and you may end up supplementing with formula. Much as you may hate the idea, formula does have its purposes (says a true lactivist!). You can't take fenugreek, an herb to increase supply, while pregnant. You can try oatmeal, but. When you are stuck between a rock and a hard place, feed your baby. Whatever milk you can provide is what you can do.

    The taste also changes, and some babies don't like it. You can't make a baby nurse, KWIM. You can try dream feeding if your baby will push you away while awake.

    A book you may find reassuring is "Adventures in Tandem Nursing." You can buy it or perhaps borrow it from your local LLL group.

    However, the lack of weight gain may not be all supply. If your baby is significantly more mobile, like crawling, it is normal for weight gain to slow down because the child expends more energy moving around. My second child only gained 3 oz between the 6 month and 9 month checkups, fell off the weight chart, and was OK -- and I was nursing FT at that point. It also depends on your baby's body type; a long and lean child may not gain what is thought to be appropriate but is still normal for your child.

    Susan
    Mama to my all-natural boys: Ian, 9-4-04, 11.5 lbs; Colton, 11-7-06, 9 lbs, in the water; Logan, 12-8-08, 9 lbs; Gavin, 1-18-11, 9 lbs; and an angel 1-15-06
    18+ months and for Gavin, born with an incomplete cleft lip and incomplete posterior cleft palate
    Sealed for time and eternity, 7-7-93
    Always babywearing, cosleeping and cloth diapering. Living with oppositional defiant disorder and ADHD. Ask me about cloth diapering and sewing your own diapers!

  4. #4

    Default Re: 8 Month Old Not Gaining Weight, Please Advise

    Thank you mommal and aprilsmagic for your reassurance and encouragement! I am going to try some high fat foods and perhaps fortify his other foods with olive oil, and if it comes to him needing formula, so be it.

    It's good to hear that other people have similar experiences, and that I'm on the right track!

    Thanks ladies!

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jan 2008
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    1,081

    Default Re: 8 Month Old Not Gaining Weight, Please Advise

    Hi mama,

    If I were in your situation, I would continue to nurse as often as your little one would like and offer him formula in a bottle or a sippy cup if he uses one. Breastmilk or formula should be his main source of nutrition until he is a year old so while it's ok for him to eat solids well, it's important to make sure he's getting enough breastmilk or formula.

    For me, my supply had a major drop during pregnancy. My daughter was 18 months when I got pregnant and eating well and drinking plenty of other fluids, so I didn't have to be concerned with how much breastmilk she was getting. But your baby is very young still and needs enough fluids. I would watch his wet diapers and offer some formula each day.
    Mommy to:

    Emmalynn Marie
    Born at 37 weeks on 12/22/06
    5lbs 1oz 19 1/2in

    Owen Charles
    Born at 29 wks 6 days on 01/17/09
    2lbs 14oz 15in
    In NICU for 2 months


  6. #6
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    Sep 2009
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    Default Re: 8 Month Old Not Gaining Weight, Please Advise

    In your case, you are doing what you can. Supply, during pregnancy, is not driven by demand. It's hormonally based. While you can nurse and nurse and nurse, it won't increase your supply like it will normally.


    I am just curious as always....are there mamas out there that can nurse nurse nurse not be pregnat and not increease cause of an imbalance in hormones? which hormones are efffected? sorry major spelling errors...typing leeft hand while laying down to nurse

  7. #7
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    Default Re: 8 Month Old Not Gaining Weight, Please Advise

    Quote Originally Posted by @llli*lovinhim View Post
    I am just curious as always....are there mamas out there that can nurse nurse nurse not be pregnat and not increease cause of an imbalance in hormones? which hormones are efffected?
    Yes. Some moms do have hormonal problems which inhibit the establishment/maintenance of a good milk supply. Problems with the thyroid- both hyperthyroid (too much thyroid hormone) and hypothyroid (too little)- are common postpartum, and can cause issues with supply. Moms with polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS) sometimes have problems with supply, perhaps because of the excess of androgens (so-called male hormones, though women have them too, just in smaller amounts) that is part of PCOS. Moms who are on hormonal birth control sometimes experience issues with milk supply, probably because most (maybe all?) hormonal birth control contains synthetic progesterone (the hormone of pregnancy).
    Coolest thing my big girl said recently: "How can you tell the world is moving when you are standing on it?"
    Coolest thing my little girl sang recently: "I love dat one-two pupples!"

  8. #8
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    Default Re: 8 Month Old Not Gaining Weight, Please Advise

    to the OP - I am sorry you too are going through this. This happened to me too. I think you need to utilize the "F word" (formula) too. It is certainly not idea, but there are things that babies (the under 12 mo LO) need that they can't really get from food. But BF/nurse for as long as you can (many women can throughout their pregnancy and at least one of the newer graduates on "Pregnant and Breastfeeding" just restarted BF after having her new baby). Nursing is about so much more than just nutrition, the closeness and relationship building are amazing.

    on the nurse-in but not increasing - I am your prime example. I used to nurse every 1.5 hours for 45 minutes and still didn't any kind of supply when my LO was very small. We spent the whole time nekkid and skin to skin. Wore the baby - the whole lot. I did the every kind of drug/herb/food supplement, pumped constantly and nursed all the time and still got nothing - but I still BF (even though I had to supplement the whole time we were doing it). We are still not sure why. But hopefully, things will be different this time around.
    proud but exhausted working mammy to two high needs babies

    • my surprise baby: the one and only D-Man born 3 weeks late (5/5/08) at 9 lbs 14 oz and 21.5 inches, and
    • the shock H-Girl born about a week late (10/7/09) at 8lbs 15oz and 20.75 inches.


    If I am here I am covered in baby (probably two) and fighting for control of the keyboard.

    Family beds are awesome

    Wondering if you have PPD? Take the screening and see your doctor. You deserve to feel better.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Sep 2009
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    Default Re: 8 Month Old Not Gaining Weight, Please Advise

    how do you know then really? and what test can moms take for hormones? i have a noduleon my thyroid and i am hoping to get tested soon...what are the levels i should look for w/ breastfeeding and supply? my baby gainned well in beginning, but by 3 months it really slowed down...wonderiing if it is me....i nurse tons like last post and shev still seems hungry...not supplementing yet,hopefully food soon. baby is 4 1/2 mos kinda like post below w me



    on the nurse-in but not increasing - I am your prime example. I used to nurse every 1.5 hours for 45 minutes and still didn't any kind of supply when my LO was very small. We spent the whole time nekkid and skin to skin. Wore the baby - the whole lot. I did the every kind of drug/herb/food supplement, pumped constantly and nursed all the time and still got nothing - but I still BF (even though I had to supplement the whole time we were doing it). We are still not sure why. But hopefully, things will be different this time around.
    ________

  10. #10
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    Default Re: 8 Month Old Not Gaining Weight, Please Advise

    Quote Originally Posted by @llli*lovinhim View Post
    how do you know then really? and what test can moms take for hormones? i have a noduleon my thyroid and i am hoping to get tested soon...what are the levels i should look for w/ breastfeeding and supply? my baby gainned well in beginning, but by 3 months it really slowed down...wonderiing if it is me....i nurse tons like last post and shev still seems hungry...not supplementing yet,hopefully food soon. baby is 4 1/2 mos kinda like post below w me
    I never had any supply - baby couldn't gain weight on EBM ever. Sounds like your supply was (and possibly is) fine. Getting your thyroid checked is a good start, your health care provider should know all about the levels and BF.

    The reason I say your supply possibly is ok is because your baby is still gaining (a very good sign) and their growth rates vary wildly - no baby really grows in a nice smooth curve - it is all about peaks and spurts. Also, a baby "still seeming hungry" is common at this age - between growth spurts and teething babies between 3 and 6 months constantly seem to want more. How is output (the best way to work out input for a BF baby)? How many wets, how many dirties?
    proud but exhausted working mammy to two high needs babies

    • my surprise baby: the one and only D-Man born 3 weeks late (5/5/08) at 9 lbs 14 oz and 21.5 inches, and
    • the shock H-Girl born about a week late (10/7/09) at 8lbs 15oz and 20.75 inches.


    If I am here I am covered in baby (probably two) and fighting for control of the keyboard.

    Family beds are awesome

    Wondering if you have PPD? Take the screening and see your doctor. You deserve to feel better.

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