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Feel like a failure

(40 Posts)
IShallCallYouSquishy Fri 02-Nov-12 10:29:34

My 23 week old DD was weighed today (is on weekly weight checks due to slow gain) and has lost 2.5oz.
I've been trying to feed her more often, offering both sides each feed to try and get her gaining more weight, so nearly cried when I saw the figures on the scales this morning. I just feel like I'm failing my daughter and not able to give her everything she needs. The health nurse who has been monitoring her has said I need to start weaning her to get the calories into her.
I feel completely crap and wanted so much to EBF until 6 months. I know my DD's health is more important but I just think I've failed her.
Sorry, more of a feeling sorry for myself post then anything.

Purplelooby Fri 02-Nov-12 11:42:51

Hey squishy I can only offer you a big hug and some sympathy - I had to stop BF at 2 weeks (DS ended up in hospital twice in that time and had become very ill) and I can totally understand the guilt and feeling of failure, but I promise that it will totally pass when you see your DD piling on the pounds xx Please don't beat yourself - do what is right for your daughter and don't bow in to the EBF pressure.

monkeypuzzeltree Fri 02-Nov-12 12:09:32

Second what purple says. You are in no way a failure, you've been doing your very best. Ebf is all well and good but your dd is only a few weeks off weaning anyway, you can always use express milk to make up the porridge or whatever you feed. A bit of porridge might just do the trick and take the worry away for you.
I've had lots of bf struggles and while I've persisted like you because I want to do the best, I'm really angry at the pressure it can put on people, giving your baby a bit of porridge does not undo all the good you've clearly done. Don't be so hard on yourself. smile

worldgonecrazy Fri 02-Nov-12 12:13:59

You are definitely not a failure. Is your daughter ready for weaning - sitting up, putting food in her mouth, etc? She is about the right age for some of the signs to be showing.

Avocado and banana are really good high calorie weaning foods. You can cut chunks for her to munch if you wanted to do BLW. Has the HV given you any advice on weaning? Usual early foods such as mushed carrots have very few calories in, especially compared to breastmilk, so her advice sounds a bit strange.

It might also be worth remembering that scales can be wrong, or numbers can be written down incorrectly, so don't let one set of numbers upset you so much.

Welovecouscous Fri 02-Nov-12 12:21:09

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Welovecouscous Fri 02-Nov-12 12:22:05

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Welovecouscous Fri 02-Nov-12 12:22:20

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HorridHeffalumpsWickedWoozles Fri 02-Nov-12 12:23:25

Hi squishy you are definitely not a failure, you have fed your daughter for 23 weeks and given her the best start you possibly can. She's not far off 6 months now and many babies do end up ready for their first tastes earlier than the 6 month mark.

You can still continue to bf, she still needs plenty of milk in addition to first solids, and if you are able to express then you can use your milk in her baby rice/porridge/purées as they will all need milk added anyway.

I second what has already been said, mashed avocados and bananas with milk are much better for calories than carrots which have a high water content.

Please don't beat yourself up, you're doing a brilliant job smile

Welovecouscous Fri 02-Nov-12 12:25:35

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

IShallCallYouSquishy Fri 02-Nov-12 14:58:25

Thank you all for being so nice. I just felt so low this morning.

I'm going to carry on BF as her source of milk and won't be reducing my feeds until she starts wanting less iyswim? The nurse said to offer a purée at breakfast about an hour after her BF as as much as I want to BLW she won't get the calories she needs with that just yet.

I will definitely use breast milk to help smooth out the purée for her and avocado and banana sound like great suggestions, thank you.

Had a good cry earlier and feel a bit more positive. She's showing signs of being ready, can sit unaided for a bit, brilliant head control, everything goes in her mouth (like most babies this age!) and watches every bite of food I eat.

Thank you all again

monsterchild Fri 02-Nov-12 19:42:36

Hi squishy! Don't feel like a failure, you're baby is going to be just fine. In a few years it honestly won't matter how you fed her, but that you did what is best for her!

ElphabaTheGreen Fri 02-Nov-12 20:02:07

1. You're definitely not a failure for having EBFed for so long


2. I think you can carry on EBFing until 6 months as you intended. That actually sounds like really bad advice from your HV (which seems to be a frustratingly recurring theme in this forum!) If your baby needs to put on weight, she needs milk, not solids. Even banana and avocado are not going to match milk for calorie content, and if you fill her up with those, she'll be taking in even less milk, and therefore even fewer calories. I'd say follow the advice that a PP has put up about increasing breastfeeds (esp. skin to skin) and ignore the HV.

Out of curiosity, why were you getting her weighed at 23 weeks? Has she had any other problems at all? We're having a collective moan/head shake about HV's and their nonsensical obsession with weights here. There's quite a few experienced mums, and a BfN counsellor on there who have some interesting things to say about weight and how important it isn't.

Welovecouscous Fri 02-Nov-12 20:27:23

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

IShallCallYouSquishy Fri 02-Nov-12 20:43:20

Elphaba I took her to baby clinic 3 weeks ago for a bit of advice about some dry skin/eczema type thing on her face, as she hadn't been weighed for 5 weeks they weighed her and she had only gained 7.5oz so been having to get her weighed weekly to monitor it. She's dropped from 50th to just above 9th centile over past 2 months. Fast forward to today's weight and here we are! She is on weekly weight checks until further notice.

Tonight at her bedtime feed I just fed and fed and fed until she pulled off, shoved her thumb in her mouth and fell asleep. I'm not sure what to do now. Do I do as she said and give her "food" or just keep trying to up the milk and run risk of her dropping/not gaining again next week. Argh! Confusing!

Thank you again for the support ladies.

manitz Fri 02-Nov-12 21:01:07

hi squishy, not a bf expert but had four kids. two girls who didn't gain weight, first also had a dairy allergy, ended up on formula by 3 months. followed by two boys. both boys had similar (lack of weight gain) but now live in a different area. HV just looked at history and said this is what all your kids do. DS2 dropped from 50th to 0.4th centile and it was considered fine, fed both boys for a year.

ds 1 was born 4 weeks early and ds2 was born 5 weeks early. I weaned both at about 5.5months so technically about 4.5 months adjusted. When I had dd1 I was told to do it at 4 months, advice moved around the time I had dd2 but I have just done it when I felt right and when the baby was keen. Basically If you feel ok about weaning then you could just try one puree in the middle of the day or even just add baby rice to milk. I know some people don't like baby rice, i used plum porridge which is 4 diff grains inc quinoa and I preferred it but if the lack of weight gain is upsetting you it can take the pressure off. if the baby rejects the spoon or isn't interested then don't continue. I also used to give them things off my plate so it wasn't all 'baby' food in a sort of baby led weaning way.

Also my xsil waited for 3 hours when feeding my nephew and he put on nearly a pound a week. Because of her I tended to do similar with the boys and they were slightly better than the girls at putting on/not losing weight. The whole weight issue meant i would feed the girls as soon as they cried but at 23 weeks they don't nec cry just when hungry, it just makes you paranoid and nothing seems to be right but sometimes relaxing a bit about it really helps..

ElphabaTheGreen Fri 02-Nov-12 21:20:33

OP - 'not being weighed for 5 weeks' is a really silly excuse for weighing an otherwise healthy baby, as all it does is make mum anxious - as you have discovered! My 5 mo DS hasn't been weighed since he was 5 weeks old, just as an example, because there is no point or need since he is clearly very healthy. Given some of the horror stories on here, I consider myself extremely lucky to have a great HV, who only weighs if there is a clinical indication that it needs to be done e.g. baby is lethargic, not pooing or weeing as they should etc. Since all you mention is eczema, I guess this is not the case with you.

By weighing so frequently your HV is actually going against the advice stipulated in the red book, which is to weigh no more than once a month. Therefore, I would disregard her (daffy) advice and push on with breast feeding as often as DD will take it and forget about weaning for a few more weeks at least.

Please don't add baby rice to milk - apart from baby rice having very few calories and no nutritional value, adding it to milk is a real choking hazard and why the NHS advises quite strongly against it now. It will also really fill your DD up, discouraging her even more from taking in the calories she needs.

Do read the thread I posted the link to earlier and the LLL link a PP posted so you know I'm not just making it up as I go along! smile

ElphabaTheGreen Fri 02-Nov-12 21:26:13

PS I'm also going to go out on a limb and say stop getting her weight checked unless they can actually give you a really good reason for it, as all it's going to do is make you feel like a failure (hence your post) when you actually have a perfectly healthy baby whose weight happens to fluctuate. What did you say she'd lost - 2oz? Are you sure she hadn't just done a poo? Seriously - that's not very much! smile

manitz Fri 02-Nov-12 21:39:15

didn't realise baby rice was considered a choking hazard. Not questioning your advice but is it more of one than other solids?agree that 2 oz is nothing to lose. apart from my massive nephew most bf babies I have come across have been pretty lean.

IShallCallYouSquishy Fri 02-Nov-12 22:25:02

Adding baby rice to milk would mean getting her to actually take a bottle without a minor meltdown grin There have been many attempts to introduce a bottle of EBM!

These weekly weight checks are definitely getting me stressed out and worried which isn't good for me or her. I've always been the type of person that doesn't want to get into trouble iykwim so I'd be scared not to get her weighed after being told I needed too.

Elphaba I'm off to have a read of that thread in a bit, gives me something to do while I'm sat here feeding DD.

She is generally a happy little thing, very alert, hitting her milestones etc so I know there isn't anything wrong with her, she's not hungry demanding food all the time and has got herself into a routine of feeding every 3.5-4 hours (though I never let her go longer then 4 during the day) and naps well and will do a good 8-9 stretch at night which if I am right she wouldn't do as she would wake up hungry if she hadn't got enough during the day?

To give a bit of perspective to things, she was born a healthy 6lb 13oz, only lost 3oz and was then 6lb 14oz on her 5 day check so brilliant as a newborn. When she was weighed at 15 weeks by me at breast feeding cafe (out of curiosity as hasn't done her for about a month) she was 12lb 9oz and today at 23 weeks is only 13lb 4oz so not a big increase in 8 weeks. She's quite long as well however my DH is 6ft and lean and my dad's side of the family (women et all) are tall and have about half an ounce of fat between them (looks at 5ft 4 size 14 self and cries a bit grin) so I'm going with she's taking after that side!

Rikalaily Fri 02-Nov-12 22:36:32

It's normal for babies to lose a little/stay at the same weight for a while at this age, they are more mobile, spending less time sleeping and are growing fast.

I would quit the weigh ins and carry on EBF, if she's content, alert, lots of wet/dirty nappies and outgrowing her clothes then she's perfect. A couple of ounces could be accounted for by less poo in her gut than the previous weigh in, it's next to nothing and nothing to worry about unless she starts dropping weight by the pound all of a sudden.

My 4th had severe reflux and I was told to get her weighed weekly but I stopped going when they were telling me to stop bfing and get her onto formula and to wean her asap, she was about 16 weeks at the time and had a cows milk protien intollerance. She's just fine and I was alot calmer after I stopped weight watching. Despite her sickiness she was growing and weeing & pooing so I knew she was getting plenty of milk even after throwing most of it up.

You don't have to get her weighed, it's totally your choice, if you don't want to go just don't go, if they call you just say you'll go in a month... then forget to go.

manitz Fri 02-Nov-12 22:43:50

erm I haven't ever added baby rice to a bottle of milk, just done it in a bowl and spooned it in in the same way as a puree. i am a bit confused, I though you were ebf and that meant you were expressing, i'm guessing now that it's exclusively bf? Mine were all happy and alert and logically I knew they were ok but like you I felt I had to get them weighed as they were on the edge of skinny and because i was paranoid. It did mean that I took what I was told with a pinch of salt and i always went to a bf support group so that I could balance hv advice with that of bf supporters. advice varied so much depending on which individual you talked to - hv more bf supporters seemed to be more consistent.

Her weight has slowed down but also aroudn this time I think they get more distracted and alsomove about more. In hindsight, I might have tried more feeding in a darkened room with dd2 who would pull off the breast for anything she was so nosey. Also maybe try feeding a bit more often so go to 3 hourly and see if it makes any difference, an 8 hour gap at night seems a lot my bf supporter told me to set an alarm to feed dd in the night although it was pointless as she was too tired to do anything so I just pumped to get my supply up. Frankly having said all this I think they will take what they need and your baby is putting on weight but has slowed down which I think is pretty normal at this stage but, as i said, I am basing this purely on my experience and my memory which is shot to pieces.

ElphabaTheGreen Sat 03-Nov-12 05:37:25

manitz Adding baby rice to the milk in a baby's bottle (which I thought is what you meant - obviously not, sorry smile) is a very out of date practice, to which some people, usually with very pushy families saying 'it never did YOU any harm', still subscribe. When it's hurtling out of a bottle with a large teat to a baby in a semi-recumbant position it becomes a choking hazard. Baby rice prepared as you describe is fine AFAIK.

EBF means 'exclusively breast-fed', usually no bottles involved, or only the occasional bottle of expressed milk (EBM). MN: a great place for thoroughly confusing acronyms! grin

crackcrackcrak Sat 03-Nov-12 06:25:40

Hey op - 23 weeks is great! If you haven't done that fateful weighing in you'd think she was fine and she probably is grin

The advice about giving the purée is just bollards - sorry but it is - there are hardly any calories in purée so this won't start whacking the weight on your dd.

If it were me if hang in there until 6 months and then plough on with the blw as planned. It's only a few weeks and it sounds like there are no other causes of concern.

It seems such as shame it was going so well but that the HV has undermined your confidence over a minor point. I suspect if the baby was younger she would be strongly suggesting formula sad.

Also, the HV doesn't seem v pro blw. Some babies do just play with the food for a bit and not eat much but some eat straight away and large amounts. Dd1 ate from day one (she was a dainty 6,4 at birth) and ate enough to drop feeds and sleep through the night at 7 months - moved a centile too she piled on so much! A friends baby (ebf) was watched like a hawk by hv insisting she needed top ups for poor weight gain - mum flatly refused and pressed on with blw - she's about 8 months now, eats more than I do and is chunky and healthy and cramming chicken and rice and veg into her own mouth with gusto! She was long and lean too.

When I had dd1 I was always at the weigh in clinic because I thought I needed to go and I didn't have much to do. I was lucky as my 1st hv was great, never ever mentioned top ups, was v supportive of bf and gently told me I didn't need to get dd weighed v often. She moved to a different surgery though sad. The succession of replacements were ill informed witches and much more similar sounding to accounts given on mn about poor advice, agendas and all sorts of wrongness. With dd2 I will steer clear and stick to latch on groups etc unless the baby is doing anything weird.

Good luck - you sound like a great mum grin

Welovecouscous Sat 03-Nov-12 08:18:41

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

tiktok Sat 03-Nov-12 08:26:40

Bit concerned about OP being told to ignore the HCP she has seen sad

Squishy, on what you have said here, there is a justifiable concern about your baby's growth - there's not enough detail in your post to say whether the HCP is justified in suggesting weaning, which tends not to increase net calorie intake in bf babies of this age, and you'd be justified in asking her that question. Think about what you can ask her, so you can then judge how confident you are in her advice. This is much better than just ignoring what she has said sad

The guidance on no-more-than-monthly weighing is general - where there are concerns about a baby it is perfectly reasonable to weigh more often.

Squishy, you don't say how long you have been feeding more often, or what that actually means, and how long you have been offering both sides.

I really hope your confidence and trust in yourself stays high!

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