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Switching from breast to bottle due to worrying lack of weight gain. Stressing!

(13 Posts)
fluffyraggies Mon 12-May-14 21:31:54

So ... i started a panic stricken thread over on 'chat' about this last week. Lovely posters suggested posting here.

DD is 3 months old. (15 weeks) In a nut shell she has failed to gain weight being exclusively breast fed, stuck at 8lbs sad However she is hitting her mile stones, growing in length, and showing no signs of dehydration or illness. She looks slim, but not 'thin'. Last Thursday, on the advice of HV and GP i began formula top ups to get her weight up. I'm not precious about BF, although i am sad to have failed.

I am keeping very careful notes of what she is taking and how often. At first i was going to do mixed feeding - but DD has taken to bottle feeding with a passion and is more or less refusing the breast since Sat., apart from a snugly early morning and late night feed.

She is taking 2, 3 or 4 oz bottles roughly ever 2 hours. (she sleeps through the night and has done since 6 weeks). The amount she is taking from the bottle is going up a little each day as she BF less. Today she has taken 28oz shock

My question is really - is this ok? It seems loads! Dr Google tells me 32oz is the max recommended per day for a FF fed baby. Also - she is getting weighed again this Wed. How much weight gain can i expect? I am terrified they'll be none.

I think i just need a hand hold really. I've been so worried about DD.

TheScience Mon 12-May-14 23:18:19

Did the HV not tell you to feed in the night if your baby wasn't gaining weight?

There's no maximum daily amount of formula as it depends on the baby's weight - an older/bigger baby could easily take more than 32oz. As a rough guide, if you multiply the baby's weight in lbs by 2.5 you get the number of oz formula they need a day, so an 8lb baby might take around 20oz. Though as she needs to catch up with weight gain 28oz doesn't seem outrageous.

fluffyraggies Tue 13-May-14 08:24:01

Thank you.

HV did talk about waking her for a feed. DD sleeps from roughly 9 or 10pm just after her last feed, until 4ish or 5ish. Then after a feed back to sleep till 6 or 7. Occasionally she'll surprise us by wanting a 1am feed. I have tried waking her to feed but she gets very cross and takes ages to calm down enough to start to suckle, she'll then go back to sleep almost immediately on the breast or bottle again. I have never been able to 'dream feed' her - when she is asleep at night she is just so deeply asleep that any amount of simple nipple or teat to mouth fails to wake her. She is a very 'awake' baby during the day. 2 or 3 short light naps of 20 mins or so, lots of play and 'chatting'.

Thank you for your thoughts on formula amounts. I must admit i haven't heard about the max amount thing before either. But i've seen it on 2 different info sites now. As you say though, she is catching up - so all bets are off really.

(Having taken in all the info about how small their little tummies are and how breast feeding is good because it doesn't overload them, i think i'm just a bit shock at suddenly seeing her drinking nearly a pint and a half of formula through the day).

She's also now pooing loads more.

ScarletFedora Tue 13-May-14 08:30:32

You've done really well to persevere with BF for so long in the circumstances. But she really is wee for 15 weeks (is 8lb correct?) so I'm not surprised she's now inhaling the bottles. Have you thought about expressing while you still have some supply so she still has some EBM? Increased pooing all a good sign, she'll definitely be gaining, don't worry! If you're feeding to hunger, keep doing what you're doing. She'll find her level.

NickyEds Tue 13-May-14 09:07:13

28oz doesn't sound like anything to be alarmed about, you (and your soft furnishings!!) will know if she's been over fed. I think a lot of the information regarding tiny tummies (walnuts,marbles etc) refers to very young babies-at 15 weeks 3-4oz is fine.

Never thought I'd say this but.......Great news about your baby's poo!

If she's gained weight on Wednesday (and taking that amount of milk she will have) I wouldn't worry too much about feeding her in the night if she doesn't wake for it.

I know it's hard and very emotive but please don't see this as "failing". You are doing the right thing for your baby and that really is the most important thing. Well done!-You've given your baby a great start.

TheScience Tue 13-May-14 10:57:40

Even breastfed babies between 1-6 months average 25oz breastmilk a day.

As for maximum amounts, I would go with NHS advice.

fluffyraggies Tue 13-May-14 12:02:14

Thanks again.

Yes 8lb is correct! sad Long story which i can re-tell as she's asleep in my arms at the mo smile

She was 7lb at birth, lost half a pound in the first week and took 4 more weeks to get above birth weight. Then another 4 weeks to get to 8lb. So 8lb at 9 weeks. After that you could see she was gaining length. She went up a size in baby grows. I had support for BF. All seemed ok.

For the next 2 weeks her growth in length put my mind at rest about her weight. Allert happy baby. I'd been passed from pillar to post with different HVs and cancelled appt.s since her birth. There was no one individual i felt i could call and chat to. I thought she'd be weighed at immu's.

She was seen at 11 weeks by the practice nurse for imu's but not weighed although i asked for her to be. I'd still never met or spoken to 'my' HV, but i got an appt. with her through the GP surgery where she went once a week.

So baby is 12 weeks and i turn up for my appt. only to be told by receptionist that the HV was literally AWOL. No one knew where she was. No one else available to weigh baby. I was angry - i told her i needed my baby weighed. She gave me the HVs mobile no. Which was on answer machine saying dont leave a message. I went online to look for the soonest drop in clinic near me. (i live in the rural midlands)

All this time i'm getting that ''i've slipped through the net'' feeling. All this time i'm still merrily EBFing.

To get DD weighed i drove 30 miles to a drop in sure start clinic. That was last week. Now we don't know for sure if during those 4 weeks she gained past 8lb and dropped, or just stayed at 8lb. The fact she's gained length makes me think she went past 8 but lost a bit. Now, thank god, everyone's on the case.

Anyway - it's formula all the way now. Thank you for saying i've not failed. I feel crap about it all. Especially as i had to endure a hmm attitude from some family members about BFing. DH has been lovely though. Bless him.

Yes i'm feeding to hunger. I'm offering feeds every 2 hours, and she's taking what she wants then refusing any more. No forcing going on smile

Sorry for such a massive post.

NickyEds Tue 13-May-14 13:58:30

Sounds like you've been through the mill. I sometimes think health visitors are sent to try us! Hope they are of some help from here on in. Good luck with the weighing tomorrow smile

JustPretending Wed 14-May-14 08:34:56

The hospital told us this, when our DC was admitted for weightloss. Multiply weight in Kg x 150 to get the amount in mls that your baby should have per day. (divide by number of feeds). So 4kg x 150=600mls per day, for example. At 8 feeds per day, that would work out at 75mls per feed on average. As weight increases, so should intake. So 5kg x 150 = 750mls per day.

At 6 months, intake drops to 120mls per kg per day.

The mls could be ebm or formula or a mix.

fluffyraggies Wed 14-May-14 13:14:23

Thank you again.

Great news! grin

DD has put on 2lb!

In 6 days!! She's almost back on her curve.

I've to carry on as i have been - another weigh in next Wednesday.

JustPretending Wed 14-May-14 13:33:29

Fantastic! That must be a relief.

Just to add to my last post - if you think you might want to return to bfing, keep pumping. I found the more I pumped, the more my supply increased. Sadly that means through the night too. The extra hassle of pumping on top of ffing with all the sterilising etc is exhausting & though I did it, I was going slightly insane. Thankfully at that point my DC's tongue tie was fixed & sorted & we started bfing & have been ever since (6 weeks since tongue tie division).

You're doing the right thing. Feed the baby. Healthy baby & sane, happy mum are the most important thing. Bfing can be really hard & doesn't work for all, no matter what you're told at antenatal classes. I have 1 friend in around 20 who had no problems whatsoever, everyone else struggled at some point. When it works, it's great, but not worth beatig yourself up over if you & baby are struggling.

fluffyraggies Wed 14-May-14 13:55:25

Thanks. I am so relieved. Although still work to do.

My milk supply has just about petered out. Boobs feel a little tender, but unless it gets any worse i'm not going to try to feed or pump. Under the circ.s i'm going to concentrate on these 2 hourly formula feeds.

I am a bit disappointed at the BFing ending badly, but tbh, the panic and worry about DDs health has put any wistfulness (is that a word?) about no more breast feeds on the back burner.

(only now am i feeling a bit sad)

NickyEds Wed 14-May-14 21:41:55

Fantastic news! 2lb is a sure sign that you're doing the right thing by your baby. As Justpretending says bf can be so hard and it's really not worth an unhappy Mummy and struggling baby. Well done and try not to feel too sadsmile

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