Baby not putting on weight - help

(25 Posts)

Hi, I have a 1 week old DD she was weighed day 3 and day 5 and was found to have lost 9.9% of the recommended 10% weight loss that a baby can have. They recommended switch feeding (which I have been doing) to increase my supply and lots of stimulation of DD - she falls asleep at the breast a lot!

Took her to be weighed today and she has stayed exactly the same sad no increase at all in her weight. Now I have been recommended to carry on with the switch feed and then pump straight after for 20 mins (10 each side) and give it to her in a cup.

I am just so upset that all my efforts have failed and, I don't have time to spend an extra 20 mins pumping then cup feeding as I also have a teen and toddler to look after, DH does help but is back at work soon.

Any advice you can offer would be appreciated as another failed weigh in and I think I will start FF instead (I really don't want to but I want DD to put weight on and stop failing at BFing)

Sorry that was quite long, thanks in advance.

Accentuatethepositive Tue 07-May-13 17:30:30

Hi I'm no expert and sure more knowledgable people will be along in a min but you have my sympathy! DD was also a sleepy newborn and took 3 weeks to regain birthweight. One thing I found helped a bit was breast compressions, google it and see description I think on jack newman site. Seemed to perk her up a bit and get more milk down her.

Good luck and hopefully others will have other ideas.

Surfybridge Tue 07-May-13 17:36:17

I think the main thing is don't panic and in no way have you failed! - 1 week is not very much time at all. My Dd didn't lose much of her birth weight but took 3 weeks to regain it - and that was with formula top ups! My midwife said up to 3 weeks to regain the weight is what they usually hope for.

How often is she wanting to feed? If she's quite sleepy, shorter more frequent feeds might help? Also has she been checked for tongue tie which might also affect how well she is getting food on board?

Maybe you could just pump in the evenings when maybe your teenager or DH could help out with your toddler for a while? I was amazed at how hard breastfeeding is - thought it would be the most natural thing in the world and from what I've heard some babies just take ages to get it - even if you BF older ones no probs. You have not failed at all, the 2 of you just haven't found your rhythm yet!

Good luck, hope things improvesmile

tiktok Tue 07-May-13 17:37:22

It sounds to me that what you did on day 5 has worked smile

She has stopped losing weight - you would not necessarily expect her to have started gaining yet, just 2 days later.

Seems to me a faff to be adding the expressing and cup feeding to the switch nursing, when the switch nursing is working as well as it could be expected to work.

Maybe explain just how anxious the weighing has made you, and ask if it would be ok to continue with the switch nursing for now....and weigh again in a few days?

It's far to soon to think bf is not working for you, honestly smile

ChunkyChicken Tue 07-May-13 17:45:46

On the positive side, she hasn't lost any more, so the switch feeding is helping. It seems quite early at 1wk to be worrying she hasn't gained much back yet, but I'm not an expert...

Have you looked on the Kellymom website? Along with Jack Newman, a great resource.

Could you try some dietary supplements? Eat plenty of oats, take fenugreek, to up supply.

Also, have you tried making her uncomfortable? I mean, make her a bit cold, get her undressed so she wakes up? If she's slowing down feeding, try breast compression and then try changing a nappy to wake her up more.

Also, you might not get much expressed straight after a feed, but the stimulation will help your supply. How often is she feeding? Can you express between feeds too?

There are many threads on here (sadly) that ask for help for breastfed babies to gain weight. Unless you don't want to bf any longer (which is your choice obviously), I am sure there are things you can try first. She's only a week old - she may pick up very soon anyway. (I had issues with my dd losing weight at 3wo - she suddenly went back to birth weight. It didn't matter how often I said she had started being really sick one night, and never really stopped until she was weaned, the HV kept going on about needing her to gain without giving useful advice on bfing, just suggesting ff. I persevered, she gained and is now happily on the 50th centile at 3yo.)

ChunkyChicken Tue 07-May-13 17:50:04

First search I did americanpregnancy.org/firstyearoflife/newbornweightgain.htm suggests 10% is average for bf baby & will take 10-14days to gain.

tiktok Tue 07-May-13 17:58:58

Chunky, probably UK consensus is even more relaxed - many perfectly healthy babies will take longer than 10-14 days to regain birthweight, and in any case, birthweight is not necessarily the 'magic' figure it is held up to be smile

The key to assessing well-being is to assess the 'whole' baby and the 'whole' feeding - you would not want a baby to be still losing weight at a week, but plateauing between day 5 and 7 is fine, as long as everything else seems to be going ok.

OP - you need a second opinion, I think smile

Hi, sorry I went, had tea to sort, trying to post this while feeding DD. I will try to answer some of the questions.

I am stimulating while feeding, having her stripped, blowing her face, winding between changing breasts, anything we can really.

I do want to BF, I really want it to succeed but if it is not going to help her thrive I will FF if it will help her.

She is feeding regularly at 2-3 hours, the mw has conceded that clinically she is ok, alert and good nappies, just no weight gain, I have been massaging my breast during feeds to try and encourage more milk into her.

I think I was just hoping that even couple of oz gain would have been good and yes I think the switching has worked and pumping would be a real faff, but I need to get weight on this baby, I think I'm losing my confidence a lot bit when it comes to BFing.

ChunkyChicken Tue 07-May-13 19:34:21

I think take a deep breath and think does she seem ok? Is she alert, is her soft spot ok, is she feeding well other than "not gaining weight"? She is still very young and although if she was still losing, there might be a cause for concern, but if she's otherwise ok, well, why not do as tiktok (& others) says. Relax, seek a second opinion and just do what you have been doing for a few days more. If you can, have a 'duvet day' with your DD (get your toddler babysat of you can) - take her to bed, read, snooze, lots of skin to skin & forget about everything else.

MummyLeg Tue 07-May-13 20:52:20

I know what you're going through and it's really tough, and worrying. My ds2 (13 weeks) lost 8% birthweight and didn't really gain for 3 weeks. I found each weigh in so stressful I literally couldn't undress him as I was shaking so much. He looked so thin I didn't want people to see him. It took him 5 weeks to regain birthweight.
Things that helped were everything you're doing already really. Breast compressions, switch feeding, skin to skin, etc. he suddenly woke up at about 3 weeks and is a real chunk now smile
I was expressing for a while too and found it v difficult with a toddler too. Once I could just demand feed again everything got better and I felt more like his mummy than a worker.
I agree 2 days is too short a time to reweigh and is so stressful for you. Also, at this early stage, an oz really is the difference between a wee and a poo or a feed (I got HV to reweigh after a 10 min feed once and he had gained an oz).
Sorry for long post but I know what you're going through and it does get better. I would try and hang on in there as you've said you'd prefer to carry on bf.

tiktok Tue 07-May-13 20:59:42

Thanks for further info, OP.

Honestly, 2nd opinion and tell them you are anxious.

I don't understand what is wrong with this apparently healthy baby plateauing - it is ok to plateau for a couple of days, and the important thing is she has stopped losing. They need to explain what the panic is.

Thanks, I am not seeing them tomorrow, I'm back in on Thursday to see them, and it will be a different mw so I will speak to her about it. I will keep plugging on with her, we will do much more skin to skin tonight/tomorrow too.

I will also make sure I feed her just before I take her, she hadn't been fed today, I fed after the weight was done.

I thought it was good that she hadn't lost any more, but the mw was really concerned about no increase and didn't explain why, she just started with the plan to increase supply (even though when I did feed her the mw saw that my milk was literally leaking out and plentiful) she seems such a content baby, surely if she was hungry she would be letting me know hmm

I'm feeling a bit better for your advice and tips thank you, I will keep on and let you know how we do.

DinoSnores Tue 07-May-13 21:31:35

I think you've done really well. Yes, she hasn't put on weight but she's not LOST any further weight. I can see why they'd want to weigh on Day 5 just to check for no further weight loss, but hopefully things will now begin to pick up.

If she is well, passing urine, bowels open etc, you are doing a great job. It sounds like it is just the chasing of the numbers that is the MW's problem.

I'd carry on doing everything you are doing, but probably wouldn't do any expressing. Just lots of feeds. Can anyone look after toddlyboo & teenboo tomorrow so you can do nothing but feed? You said about having tea to sort. Plan a freezer meal or a takeaway tomorrow so you don't even have that to think about?

Breast compressions as someone has already suggested were really useful for DS. He was a sleepy baby too and they seemed to wake him up a bit.

DinoSnores Tue 07-May-13 21:32:08

crossposted with you Boo

fflonkl Tue 07-May-13 22:49:28

Hi, my dd lost 12% of her birthweight and I went through the same thing as you ie weight plateau-ing around day 7; I was very upset and felt discouraged especially as there had been a couple of nights when it felt like I was bf-ing nonstop. Mw referred me to a lactation specialist who was brilliant, she was so helpful and encouraging. I've also started going to a bf support group which is equally brilliant as I meet other mums and it's such a relief to be able to talk about problems with other people who may be going through the same thing (there is also a specialist and hv present). Maybe you could try one or both, assuming you have them in your area?

Dd only regained her birthweight after 4 weeks by the way (she's 7 weeks now).

Just wanted to add my support. My DD lost over 10% of her birthweight and it took a month for her to regain it. I persevered as I wanted to, using some of the techniques others have mentioned, eg change nappy before feed to wake her up and u used to wobble my boob to stop her falling aSleep! smile
I'm sure you're doing a great job, Boo. Hang in there, chuck x

sleepyhead Tue 07-May-13 22:58:14

Ds lost just over 11% by day 3 which made the midwife a bit twitchy, but not overly so - apparently he was on the borderline of the earliest point where he should have been weighed so was likely to be at the lowest point for weight loss, plus my milk had only started to come in.

By day 5 he was still well below his birth weight, although not so bad percentage wise, but my milk had come in so the midwife was pretty happy to keep an eye on things.

He continued to gain v slowly but was up to his birth weight by just under 3 weeks and everyone was happy.

Sounds like you've got a midwife who's looking at the numbers and not the baby. This isn't good practice as far as I've been told by the various mw & paeds we've seen in our slightly complicated postnatal 4 weeks so far (ds is thriving, it's me who's been letting the side down) - I'd keep on doing what you're doing and hopefully you'll get someone who's a bit more on the ball doing your next weigh-in smile

Dino I have actually just got some freezer food out for tomorrow, toddly boo is at play group so I have lovely plans for a lazy feeding morning then again in the evening. I have been feeding most of the evening too.

fflonkl we have a support group at the mw base, that is on a Thursday so I will have had another weigh before that, there is also a local BF support who can come and see me, but again not until Thursday. Thank you for sharing your story, I feel much less alone and a failure to hear you have been successful and got part the plateau.

Sleepy I missed your post last night, thank you for posting. I hope you feel better soon too. She is a lovely content baby and I do think the mw is number chasing a bit sad

She fed really well last night then spoilt it slept really well so I will be setting an alarm tonight to make sure she feeds often enough.

I'm having a very determined day of feeding at every opportunity, I will get her weight up before tomorrow!!!

MrsMarigold Wed 08-May-13 09:56:22

Hang in there it is really hard and you are adjusting to a new set of circumstances - bf can be bloody difficult and I admit I gave my daughter who ended up exclusively breastfed a few bottles in those early days it didn't lead to nipple confusion and helped her regain her birthweight. Both mine lost 11%

Hi, I can't thank you all enough for your support and reassurance. We have just got back from weigh in and she has put on 2 oz. They still want to keep an eye on her but we are going in the right direction now smile

sleepyhead Thu 09-May-13 14:28:15

smile smile smile

tiktok Thu 09-May-13 14:40:49

yay and totally not a surprise smile

ChunkyChicken Thu 09-May-13 14:44:34

Excellent news boo.

Just a bit of gentle advice - don't get too hung up on the weigh-ins now. If she seems well to you, trust your instinct & give it at least 2wks before the next time she's weighed. If you go too often, it can just add anxiety when her weight fluctuates perfectly normally.

dozily Thu 09-May-13 14:45:05

Hurray smile

Not good that the mw was making you worry so much about a pretty normal pattern though. They should support bf not undermine it.

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