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Slow weight gain - is ff the only course of action?

(12 Posts)
Bringbring Tue 18-Jun-13 17:37:44

Argh, after 14 weeks of crap (hospitailisation after 5 days, endless cycles of pumping, domperidone) my baby is still hardly putting on weight (only 1oz in two weeks)

So now I have the hv, dr and guessing the paediatrician I'm referred to in three weeks are all suggesting ff.

I've worked so hard to ebf, I really want to do this. It's so hard, there is no support for bf when there are difficulties. No one can offer my any explanation to why ff is "better" or suggestions for what I can do differently.

My baby is happy, wiggley and active, meeting milestones and wet and pooey nappies. I don't know what to do for my next move, I don't think I can remain positive in the face of such resistance sad

YouMaySayImADreamer Tue 18-Jun-13 20:34:43

I have just noticed that this has gone unanswered. Know exactly how youre feeling re the weight gain - have a look at my thread about the hv advising me to give baby rice, there have been some good suggestions on there.

I am not at all knowledgable especially compared to some of the people on here, but i can tell you some suggestions i have been given by my bf counsellor. She has suggested using breast compressions when feeding to ensure LO gets maximum hind milk towards the end of the feed; pumping between feeds, i think to help increase supply, but from what i know, just feeding more often would be better to increase supply; and making sure LO is woken for a night feed if he doesnt wake himself, between 12-4am, as this is optimum time for stimulating milk production.

From what i have learnt so far, GPs and HVs arent always the most knowledgable when it comes to bf, so the paediatrition may give different solutions to help you continue ebf. Other than that, someone from a bf org or group is more likely to be able to help you. Lots of people have suggested to me to look for bf groups such as a la leche league group in the area, or ringing the national breastfeeding helpline, all of who may be able to give you lots of suggestions.

Splatt34 Tue 18-Jun-13 20:34:57

Have you cobsidered combination feeding. It really doesn't have to be black & white, breast or formula. I combination feed DD1 due to weight gain issues and it worked a treat, though we pretty much made it up as we went along as could find little information.

YouMaySayImADreamer Tue 18-Jun-13 20:37:19

Sorry, made a right hash of spelling paediatrician blush

crikeybadger Tue 18-Jun-13 21:47:55

hmm This sounds tough for you.

Is there anyone that really knows about breastfeeding that you can contact? The infant feeding advisor at your hospital perhaps or someone at a breastfeeding group.

What has the weight pattern been like? Has there been weeks of better weight gain, were you in hospital for a significant weight loss?

The fact that you feel LO is happy and is meeting milestones is good and maybe you just have a slow grower.

How frequently are you feeding? Is there any space for squeezing an extra feed in? Do you offer both breasts at each feed? Are you happy that the latch is as good as it can be?

Sorry for all the questions, just a few things that came into my mind....

Don't feel pressured in to giving formula, the pads should be able to back up why they feel formula is better for your baby than breast milk. As far as I know, there are no more calories in formula than bm and rather than just throwing formula at the problem (if there is indeed one), they could explore if there is anything else that can be done first.

BeyonceCastle Wed 19-Jun-13 11:10:48

Hello OP

My son is ten days old and despite being an extended breastfeeder of two I was forced by the hospital (not UK) to supplement him as his blood sugar was low.

I was scared this would cause nipple confusion/laziness/milk drying up - not coming in adequately especially as we were talking day 3.

Luckily none of these things happened. I was to give him breast then 10-30 mls of the ready made stuff they use in hospitals then more breast.
The HIPS brand came ready made up with one use disposable bottles - they said it could be used room temp so not to bother to warm up and could be used for up to 4 hours before throwing away.

The bottles are 90 ml so 3 extra supplements.

I have only ever done ebf with my other two (to 2 1/2) and am now ebf no. 3 (touch wood it continues) BUT I do have the ready made on standby if I need it...I will use it to supplement after bf if I need to.

I hate making bottles - am very lazy - and I like bf.
But mixed feeding is a compromise if nothing else you can see how much they are getting - mine was only taking 10ml ff before coming back to the breast but it was enough to get blood sugar from 38 to 60.

Also presume you have checked for tongue tie, allergies and if yours is actively sucking/latched - and that you are resting, getting extra 500 cals, vitamins etc

One last tip - breastfeeding tea - preferably with fenugreek - the latter promotes lactation.

My mum would swear by a pint of guinness once a week wink

I am lucky I also have a toddler who helped my supply get going - has she not I would have forced my husband to suck and spit (do not think he would have swallowed somehow) -pumping has never worked for me personally.

Anyway here is a link to the ready sterilised/ready made stuff they use in hospitals - not promoting this as an exclusive solution but to cover you for weight gain whilst simultaneously bf

it is six separate bottles of 90 with six presterile disposable bottles
so expensive but good as a short term solution - I think if you get powdered and sterilsing equipment and bottles etc you may end up giving a full feed, then baby sleeps/full, and your milk will dry up or you may be tempted to do ff full stop (nothing wrong in that of course but I got the impression you really really want to ebf but the weight gain is an issue so am trying to think of a short term solution for you)
available online tescos, mothercare,ocado

Lots of luck to you - let me know how you get on flowers
[tea] This is a link to the nursing tea I swear by (live in Germany so have a big choice here - do not know about uk so found a link with fenugreek in but maybe Hollands and barrett type shop have it)

PurplePidjin Wed 19-Jun-13 11:28:47

La Leche League and Breastfeeding Network are charities that may have someone near you.

It's frustrating that we get all this Breast Is Best shoved at us but as soon as there's a problem, the answer is formula. Bm has more calories and is more nutritionally suited to your baby. Bf babies don't follow an accurate smooth line - 7mo ds wobbled around the 0.4th until weaning and has just jumped to the 9th, much to my hv's amazement (and no surprise to the bf specialist mw at my local group!)

Try the kellymom website for excellent accurate bf info and good luck!

AlfieBear87 Thu 20-Jun-13 20:36:08

Hi there, I'm in the same boat too. Ds2 started life on the 25th percentile, at 12 weeks he is now below the 0.4th percentile. Like your lo, he is a happy, active baby with no noticeable problems.

We saw yet another doctor today. He has told me to give ds2 1 bottle of formula a day for 2 months and then to go back for a review. He was very insistent that 'breast is still best' in this situation but that he might need some extra calories.

So maybe a mixed approach can be done for your lo too.

Good luck, here's hoping they shoot up the charts soon

MsJupiterJones Thu 20-Jun-13 22:59:01

Hello, I was in the same position as you a few months ago. My baby was born on the 50th centile, dropped 10% immediately and then put on weight very gradually so he ended up below the 0.4th.

We had seen countless HVs, paeds, mws etc who all said they couldn't understand it, he was otherwise healthy, latch ok, didn't seem hungry or dehydrated. Just, small. The 6th or 7th time I saw a bf counsellor she decided to refer him to tongue tie specialists at Royal Free and at 11 wks had our appt - they said he had a severe posterior tie and had basically been sucking with his mouth instead of using his tongue. It was impossible to see with a visual check but as soon as they tested his suck it was clear. They snipped it and the change in sucking quality was immediate.

By then however he was so underweight that the specialists advised us to build up his weight with formula. I hoped this would be temporary but in fact we are still mixed feeding at nearly 8 months (solids too obv). He is thriving, has lovely chubby thighs and cheeks and chins!

If I have a second baby, I would pay for a private lactation consultant at the first sign of any prob or insist on an immediate referral but at the time I took the advice I was given.

If you do decide to supplement with formula, most drs and HVs seem to advocate their beloved "topping up". This is a fools game and will have you chasing your tail, fussy baby etc. Far better option to choose specific feeds to replace with ff. Keep them separate so the baby knows what to expect (eg bedtimes/night is always bf) If you want you can pump those feeds to keep your supply up, I used fenugreek and hired a hospital pump for a while.

Emotionally it did take its toll and I found it hard. Be nice to yourself, you're doing a brilliant job. Good luck!

PurplePidjin Thu 20-Jun-13 23:07:09

AlfieBear, there are more calories in bm than formula and it's cheaper--so you might be better off working on your supply? Oats are good, so porridge for breakfast --and lots of midmorning flapjack in nice cafes and fenugreek apparently. Also lots of skin to skin - i introduced a friend to slings and she swears that the first day we went out shopping with our babies in slings (hers 3mo, mine 4mo) she had fuller boobs! In this weather, a vest top is plenty so your baby's face is facing your bare chest if you can't manage a few days on the sofa in pyjamas and a tonne of chocolate grin

Make sure you're well fed and hydrated, 500 extra calories per day is pretty much an extra (healthy) meal!

AlfieBear87 Fri 21-Jun-13 12:20:54

Purple I've tried all of that as much as I can. But I also have a ds1 who is only 18 months and no local support so I just can't sit and cuddle/feed ds2 all day. Plus I really don't think my supply is a problem, my breasts fill very quickly and they are always quite leaky. The only time they are empty is straight after a feed.

PurplePidjin Fri 21-Jun-13 13:00:38

Much trickier with a toddler! Bosom Pals at surestart has been amazing for me, they should have stuff like that everywhere sad

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