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Where do I go from here....advised to give formula

(48 Posts)
snowchick1977 Fri 21-Dec-12 18:06:29


After some general advice/opinions. Long long story but briefly:

- dd is now 9 weeks old and ebf. Weighed 6lb 14oz when born
- at 2 weeks contracted a virus and was in hospital on oxygen where she caught another virus
- at 6 weeks old she was "well" again
- her weight was up and down during this time (because she was so ill)
- took 38 days to regain her birth weight (she was ill)
- here we are at day 70 and she is still only 7lb 8oz

I have seen all types of health professional, lactation consultants, certified lactation consultants, pediatricians etc etc. She feeds well, no tongue tie etc. General advice is that she has been ill for 6 of the 9 weeks of her life and no-one gains weight when they are ill. However she has dropped 2 centiles and is now outside of the bottom curve.

There is talk of bulking her up with weight gain formula, but, ive come such a long way breastfeeding that I dont really want to give up or give in (more about me there I guess)

We have tried top ups, she refuses them. She is alert, smiling, plenty of wet and dirty nappies, never sick, not overly windy, sleeps well and feeds every 3 hours. I have about 50 ounces of pumped breastmilk in the freezer as they tube fed her in hospital and i pumped more than she took.

I just wondered if anyone had any advice or any similar experiences that they could share?

Thanks so much x

seeker Fri 21-Dec-12 18:08:32

Are you feeding on demand?

snowchick1977 Fri 21-Dec-12 18:17:35

Yes seeker I am x

JiltedJohnsJulie Fri 21-Dec-12 18:19:15

Think if you are happy with how alert she is and the number of wet nappies I'd try feeding her more often before doing formula top ups. How about trying to feed her at least every 2 hours instead of every 3?

When you say you are feeding every 3, are you feeding on demand? I know that this is more or less what my dd would demand but would feed more often if I offered it.

TeamBacon Fri 21-Dec-12 18:26:05

Agree with the others - DS was feeding every 2 hours at that age (and did so until about 16 weeks iirc).

I'd stick with BFing, but offer more often. Does she wake in the night for feeds?

seeker Fri 21-Dec-12 18:30:14

I would try feeding her a bit more often- offer rather than wait for her to ask. Could you spend a day cuddled up in bed with her just lettingnher feed whenever she wants? That'll boost your supply, and I bet she'll start putting on weight!

seeker Fri 21-Dec-12 18:30:51


snowchick1977 Fri 21-Dec-12 18:36:17

Yep, she cluster feeds at night, feeds on and off for hours, which I know is normal.

Sometimes she goes 3 hours, sometimes 2. I have tried offering her a feed more frequently but she isnt interested at all. ive tried stripping her off, we spent a whole weekend skin to skin and I fed her on demand, I always have. I cant really do any more I dont think.

I guess I will just have to go with their advice if I have tried everything myself.

Thanks tho x

5madthings Fri 21-Dec-12 18:38:24

I would offer more often and see how she goes. She has been through a lot so it may take her a while to catch up. If she is showing no other signs to be concerned about i would bfeed more but not top up with firmula at this stage.

seeker Fri 21-Dec-12 18:48:59

If she's alert and happy and peeing and pooing, I would give it a while. You are doing fantastically, by the way!

wewereherefirst Fri 21-Dec-12 18:54:10

Agree with the others, if peeing and pooing and generally settled keep as you are.

My DS had mega slow weight gain, dropping centiles and all sorts- it's only now at 10 months he's gaining steadily. Babies can't read the charts!

snowchick1977 Fri 21-Dec-12 18:57:47

I did manage today to get them to give me until Jan 7th before they weigh again to at least give me a chance when she is fully well

Alibabaandthe40nappies Fri 21-Dec-12 18:58:05

The thing is, that nothing is more available for babies to take nutrients from than breast milk. She isn't going to magically start guzzling 9oz every 2 hours just because it is from a bottle.

You are doing amazingly well. The virus will have absolutely taken everything she had, and she has only been well again for 3 weeks. That is not a long time really. I would give it longer before worrying and thinking of altering things. It sounds like you have a great bf relationship, everything working as it should - and I would be very reluctant to risk that when she is a healthy child.

TeamBacon Fri 21-Dec-12 19:02:08

I'd give it a bit longer I think, if she's only been well for a short time she'll still be building reserves. Hopefully you'll see an improvement by her next weigh in

JiltedJohnsJulie Fri 21-Dec-12 19:03:26

Also if they do want to do top ups, could she be topped up with BM instead of formula?

sasamaxx Fri 21-Dec-12 19:08:02

like everyone else has said, I think that it sounds as tho you are both doing brilliantly. I would really really avoid formula with her history as she needs the best stuff to build her immunity, and good bacteria in her stomach. introducing formula would definitely be taking a risk smile

AppleAndBlackberry Fri 21-Dec-12 19:10:17

Do you feed on both sides? Also how much does she feed during the night? If she goes a long time at night (e.g. 4 hours+) it might make sense to wake her for an extra feed then.

wewereherefirst Fri 21-Dec-12 19:11:01

YY to topping up if necessary with BM over formula, BM is made for babies and is full fat perfection. HCP's are blinded by formula.

Is this the HV saying that you need to top up or are you under paeds care?

BertieBotts Fri 21-Dec-12 19:24:58

I think sasamaxx makes a very good point about immunity and bacteria.

Have you tried phoning any of the breastfeeding helplines? They should be able to advise on ways of getting more milk into her without resorting to formula, if nothing else, as a first resort.

I think the fact that she is off the chart ought to be obvious that it's related to the fact she's been ill, most babies who have been ill tend to drop centiles and the centiles are so tiny to drop when they're so small. In an extreme case such as this surely there should be alternate guidance as the charts probably aren't an appropriate way of measuring how much weight she is gaining. I don't know whether there is - just saying there should be!

Loislane78 Fri 21-Dec-12 19:55:27

So how long has she been well and how much weight has she gained in that time - the last couple of weeks say? That seems a better indicator than taking the last 9 weeks gain if you know she's been unwell. Agree with others re. continuing until Jan which gives you both a good couple of weeks.

GL smile

nextphase Fri 21-Dec-12 19:56:17

If you look at the weight gain from when she was well to now, how much has she gained per week?

From regaining birth weight to now, 32 days, just over 4 weeks, she has gained 10oz. But she had a lot of catching up to do.

kellymom, my bible for bf questions, suggests 5-7 oz per week is normal.

So, i'd say its still quite slow weight gain, but she's had a tough start. I'd also agree that using some of your pumped bm would be better for top ups rather than formula, but if shes happy and filling nappies, I'd not be too bothered.

BUT I'm not an expert, and am basing this on 2 ebf kids. One of the help lines ( NCT 0300 330 0771, lll 0845 120 2918, and there are more) may be your best bet.

nextphase Fri 21-Dec-12 19:57:06

great minds Lois!

FamiliesShareGerms Fri 21-Dec-12 20:02:25

Nothing much to add, except you're doing really well and hopefully a few weeks of "normal" feeding (ie When she's not poorly) will see her start to gain weight. I'd stick with the bf

snowchick1977 Fri 21-Dec-12 20:41:43

She was free of the chest virus and "well" at 7 weeks and 3 days and she weighed 7lb 3oz and she was weighed today at 8 weeks and 6 days and was 7lb 81/2 ounces

So she has gained 5.5 ounces in 10 days when fully well.

annekins Fri 21-Dec-12 20:54:27

I'd agree with sticking with the bf. We had to start doing formula top-ups for DD when she was 15 days old as I was poorly and genuinely not making enough milk, and although she took to it so well, and we managed to combination feed to 17 weeks, I've always regretted that I didn't ebf.

Definitely give the helplines a call, I found the NCT one very good. The counsellors will come to your home too. They know all sorts of tricks to get you both back on track.

I've also been told that taking a couple of spoonfuls of coconut oil every day can really enrich breast milk. I've not tried it, but a friend has and she seems to produce gold-top jersey cream judging by her DD!

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