12 wo ebf dropped from 98th to below 50th - should I be worried and what can I do? Please help.

(14 Posts)
donttellalfred Thu 26-Dec-13 16:27:33

Hi, I posted about this a couple of weeks ago but got no replies so am trying again.

DS2 weighed 10lb5 at birth and was on 98th centile. We seemed to have no trouble establishing bf but from around 7 weeks on he's been poorly with one thing or another and has has periods of seeming to want to feed less. He is now feeding well and has been for the last few days.

At his check up at 8 weeks his weight had dropped to 75th centile and now at 12 weeks he is around the 50th (13lb). Now that he is well again he seems fine in himself - smiley, alert, wet and dirty nappies etc. But he put on no weight last week and lost 6oz the week before (HV recommends weighing every week at the moment to monitor).

So I guess my question is, should I be worried, and what can I do to help him gain weight if so? I am trying to respond to every cue and feed as much as possible. HV recommended skin to skin but it's hard while also looking after a 3yo!

Thanks for reading and any advice.

damnitchloe Thu 26-Dec-13 16:34:49

In my experience only very few ebf babies keep up with those charts. My ds started about the 75th centile & finished below the 25th (until I started weaning him). I don't have any expertise other than my own experience & that of ebf friends which is that keeping up with those charts ebf is nearly impossible & for me getting ds weighed was never a positive experience. So long as baby is putting on some weight, is meeting milestones, producing nappies & properly awake for parts of day etc I'd try not to worry too much & see if there is a health visitor who is very pro breast feeding to give you some supportive advice. My experience of HVs was sadly that although they say ebf, for me they were too quick to suggest formula when it really wasn't necessary. I hope that helps.

Congrats on your lovely ds and well done on pursuing the bfing. I'm not medically qualified, but have ebf 2 & I now peer support. It's quite normal for some babies to lose weight in the first few weeks and to sometimes perhaps plateau in weight too, and if he's been ill, I suspect it's normal for him to have been off his food. You sound like you're doing the right thing in terms of looking for feeding cues and responding accordingly. As Damn said, as long as you're getting plenty of wet nappies, you're going in the right direction. It is really difficult when you've a toddler too, especially when you feel you should be concentrating on ds feeding. I might be wrong, but I have heard that the charts are based on ff babies. You could try getting a bf expert (HV or otherwise) to check the latch to make sure feeding is as effective as it could be and to just give you peace of mind. Heaps if skin to skin. Sounds like you just need to keep doing what you're doing. And as Damn says, don't be forced into formula supplementing if you don't want to. Your body will respond to your baby and provide what he needs. Good luck.

addictedtosugar Thu 26-Dec-13 16:53:19

Were you induced? That sometimes makes babies keep a little water, and weigh heavy for the first weight.

Are you sure the weights have been recorded properly? Several of mine have been misplotted.

I wouldn't be worrying massive about the dropping centiles, if he is filling nappies and generally happy.

I would be worried if the 6oz weight loss was more than a one off due to illness.

How often is he feeding? if half predictable, what about pre empting a feed? so if he generally feeds every 2.5-3 hrs, try offering after 2 hrs.

How often is he feeding at night? Can you feed just before you go to bed, to get another feed in?

crikeybadger Thu 26-Dec-13 18:42:32

Custard - it's not normal for babies to lose weight after the first few weeks and the charts haven't been based on ff babies for years. If you're peer supporting, this might be good to know.

Personally, I would agree with pp, a 6oz loss in a week would be a concern. But I would also wonder if the scales were correct.

Has the HV given you any suggestions about how to increase milk intake? It's ok to suggest weekly weighing but this needs to be backed up with ways to up the weight if they think this is what is needed.

WaitingForPeterWimsey Thu 26-Dec-13 19:24:39

It sounds like you got the bf established brilliantly, which is great. It also sounds like you have good hcp support, which is also excellent - weight gain patterns like this do close need monitoring by hcp, just to make sure weight gain is not problematic. I'm going to post some hopefully helpful links in a second about increasing bm transfer, which you might like to read.

WaitingForPeterWimsey Thu 26-Dec-13 19:31:23

This Kellymom link is very useful:


The best things to do to increase the amount of milk getting into him are to increase overall feeding frequency - number of feeds in 24 hours - offering even when he's bit asking.

I would always make sure you keep offering the other side when he comes off. Keep doing this until he doesn't want another side. Sometimes he may only take one side, but sometimes it might be 4-5 'sides'.

Breast compressions increase milk transfer and you can google how to do these - easy, perfectly comfortable and can help get more milk into baby!

How many times in 24 hours are you feeding?

Are you using a dummy?

Are you giving any bottles, of ff or ebm?

What is the longest gap between feeds?

WaitingForPeterWimsey Thu 26-Dec-13 19:31:54

Sorry 'not asking' rather than 'bit asking' blush

donttellalfred Thu 26-Dec-13 19:33:03

Thanks everyone for your replies. Birth was fine, and I didn't bother having him weighed in the first few weeks because I didn't have any concerns, but now I think I was maybe complacent because bfing DS1 was fairly easy and he put on weight well. I ebf him to 16 months and I really want to do the same for his brother but I'm worried I've messed it up somehow.

HVs are being supportive and not pressuring us to ff or top up - they are desperately trying to improve their ebf rates. But they don't really have any other advice other than skin to skin and 'really concentrate on feeding', which I am trying to do. I am pretty sure the latch is fine and have been waking him when I go to bed - we cosleep so he often wakes then anyway.

Thanks again everyone, really appreciate your advice.

donttellalfred Thu 26-Dec-13 19:33:54

Waking him to feed then, I mean.

donttellalfred Thu 26-Dec-13 20:16:12

Sorry, xposted with Waiting then - thanks for that, will look at compressions. No dummy or bottles and I reckon I am feeding him around 7 times in 24 hours - but with extra if he shows any interest.

WaitingForPeterWimsey Thu 26-Dec-13 20:35:10

Hi don't, very unlikely you've messed anything up at all - on the contrary you've done a fab job, giving him the optimum start in life. The health benefits will last his whole life.

One easy place you can start to increase the amount of bm getting into him is feeding frequency. I would aim for 12-14 times in 24 hours rather than 7. I think the LLL book suggests a minimum of 8 times, aiming for ten. I would offer to feed at least every two hours during the day, even when he isn't asking.

I would encourage cluster feeding in the evening to try to get him to 'tank up' and wake him at least once at night to feed. I wouldn't let him go more than 4 hours without a feed at any time.

And always keep offering the other side of course with each feed, until he doesn't want the other side any more.

Hope some of that helps.

WaitingForPeterWimsey Thu 26-Dec-13 20:36:51

Great that you aren't using dummies or bottles - they can both reduce weight gain, so not using them will help.

BeansAndCheese Thu 26-Dec-13 21:20:25

My dd dropped off the scale completely by about 1 cm in the red book (was born around the 50th). She looked like a skinned rabbit. But she was happy, hydrated, pooing, and meeting milestones. I read the weight gain is less important as long as they are growing in length and she was growing like a weed in length. By 4.5 months she had only increased by 2.5lb, then suddenly started piling on weight. They are all different, so try not to worry.

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