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Dropping centiles and number of feeds

(10 Posts)
Loika Wed 19-Oct-11 13:13:37

The last time HV weighted my DD she had dropped to the 50th centile from about midway between the 75th and 50th lines on the chart. The HV asked me how many feeds she was getting a day and then told me 7 was not enough and she should be having 8. I explained that if I try to feed more often, she only takes a short time, fusses and pauses to scream. This means she gets more foremilk, less hindmilk and more explosive green poo/tummy ache, which we had just cured and I get more stressed!
The HV stuck to her message and made me feel like I was staving my DD! I was so upset, I felt like giving up EBF and moving to formula ASAP, I felt bad enough that I bought a mars bar on the way home!

I have been doing 7feeds/day for weeks and DD weight has gone up and down, so that is not to blame. In fact reguardless of frequency, she has been feeding the same total minutes for weeks!
HV told me that I needed to do 8 feeds to maintain my milk supply, which since I suffer from oversupply didn't seem like an issue(to me) also I am fairly sure supply&demand doesn't have a cut off or does it?

My DH said to ignore her and lie next time she asks as DD looks fine and had just had her first vaccinations so was a bit out of sorts gennerally, so to put it down to that. I spoke to a friend with older girls who said that some of the other mothers at the school gates had also been told off for not doing 8 feeds aday and were also upset by this. Is this the latest thing or something because its not helpful as it is confusing and I feel awful.

ragged Wed 19-Oct-11 13:22:44

Your DH is wise.
If your HV couldn't plot numbers on a chart would she have any grounds for concern?

All mine fell from higher to middle or lower centiles about the same age, they were fine (age 3-12 now).

At least it gave you an excellent excuse to scoff a Mars Bar, though, right? wink

dippywhentired Wed 19-Oct-11 13:27:51

Didn't know there was a correct number of feeds to do a day! For what it's worth, both my DDs started off around the 75th centile at birth, and both dropped down to about the 9th, so a small drop in your case doesn't look like much to me. (Both were still putting on weight, just more slowly). Both are now good eaters and healthy weights at 4 years and 18 months. As long as your DD is happy, alert, having wet and dirty nappies, she is fine. Ignore the sodding charts and don't bother getting her weighed all the time, just gives you stress you can do without!

Loika Wed 19-Oct-11 13:28:36

I think I should have bought a bigger one, maybe even two! smile

Thank you, I just worry like any first time mum especially since I am the worsed liar, but we shall see how that goes!!

MotherPanda Wed 19-Oct-11 13:33:11

you are meant to feed on demand - if you start telling your baby when to feed, you're bound to run into trouble. listen to your DH.

My DD is 12 weeks old and i've decided to stop going to the hv, she drops centiles each time i go - and i leave wanting to scoff a van load of mars bars.

But, she's a very alert, healthy baby who sleeps the night through but is awake all day and is super long - I bf on demand all day long, and know i've got tons of milk. so what else can i do?

The hv didn't have anything to reccomend other than weekly weigh ins (because i don't want to use formula unless there's a reason to).

would you be worried about your dd otherwise?

MummyGemx Thu 20-Oct-11 09:04:11

I hate these centile charts they caused me to give up BF after 6/8 for both my sons. I am determined to keep going this time but I can feel myself wavering as I stupidly got my 5 week old weighed the other day only to see she at dropped to the 25th from the 50th. She looks health and is clearly not hungry as she is very content and i am trying to just get her to feed a bit longer each time as she is a bit lazy and falls asleep! My Hv did nit even mention the chart to me as I she did not have any worries so I am trying my best to ignore them and carry on EBF as my baby seems happy. I am getting used to expressing too. Shame to spoil my hard work.

I read some article the other day that these centile charts are really inaccurate and rely on a very small sample of mostly bottle fed babies!

tiktok Thu 20-Oct-11 09:19:35

The charts are accurate - the data comes from several thousands of breastfed babies. But they are not a diagnostic, or predicting, tool for individual babies, and any good HV knows how to interpret them.

It is within normal for babies to drop (or rise to) two centile spaces over time, and with a healthy thriving baby, this should be no cause for concern at all.

Loika, your HV seems very, very rigid. Most babies have more than 7 feeds in a day, but there is no rule about this, and babies can thrive on 7 feeds - just as some babies need far more than the 8 feeds a day she says is compulsory! It's unusual to be counting feeds anyway, and most bf babies don't have exactly the same no. of feeds each day, and I wonder if the HV was picking up on this - the counting of feeds.

However, if she thinks your baby would benefit from more milk, it's usually easy enough to give this, without the fussing and screaming you describe (prob nothing to do with foremilk/hindmilk, by the way - prob just because she did not want to feed!). If you need to give more milk, just offer it at a time you think she might take it, and always offer the second side, and even a third and fourth. Healthy babies take what they need, so if she does not take more when it is on offer like this, then she prob does not need it smile

MummyGemx Thu 20-Oct-11 09:33:55

Thanks Tiktok - not sure exactly what I was reading then - might not have been overly accurate itself but then thats can be a danger on the internet. Like you say the HV should be the expert in reading them to pick up any problems. my HV clearly is not worried about my baby. I understand statistics as I am a mathematician but I dont know much about these charts really so cant make any judgements myself. I find rather than reassuring me they tend to do the opposite so I will leave HV to interpret it.

Loika - Sounds like you are doing a fab job. smile Thanks for your thread as the advice as reassured me too. x

tiktok Thu 20-Oct-11 10:17:14

MummyGemX - charts in use a few years ago were different, and while they were not based on bottle fed babies solely, the way babies were fed was not differentiated.

As a stats boff, you might be interested in read about the charts in current use: All they are is a number-crunched record of how babies grow - they are not a statement of how any individual baby ought to grow. I think charts are really useful as part of a health assessment, and used properly, they can help spot babies whose growth is slow or fast. Most of these babies are fine, even so. An anomalous chart can be part of a discussion between an HCP and a parent, to ensure the baby is not being seriously under-fed, or is ill, or is somehow not managing to 'use' the food he's getting because of some disorder. With an older baby, who seems to be growing hugely fast, the discussion can be around whether this is just how this baby happens to be now, or is he getting pureed Gregg's sausage rolls in his bottle smile smile

tiktok Thu 20-Oct-11 10:18:16

PS: if you read about charts you might have read info that referred to US charts, and not UK ones. They use different ones in the US.

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