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Babies with slow weight gain - support thread

(30 Posts)
Secondsop Wed 23-Jul-14 19:59:43

Hello, there are a few posts at the moment from people whose babies have had various degrees of struggle in gaining weight. I am one of them - my baby is now 8 weeks old and had tongue tie and poor weight gain; he's getting there, slowly, on the 0.4 centile, after a lot of effort with feeding and with the addition of formula top ups. I was wondering if anyone in a similar position fancied congregating on a thread - we can share advice, support each other and celebrate weigh-in successes.

Tomkat79 Wed 23-Jul-14 20:17:36

What a lovely idea second. I too thought that earlier and this thread would've been a godsend 2 months ago.
I had a section mid may and a beautiful 8lb 5 oz DD. My milk never 'came in' like it did my DS and I was anaemic and had a PPH, which wiped me. DD lost 7% week 1 and then a really slow crawl back to birth weight with pumps, pills and perseverance!
She's now almost 10 weeks and is over 10lb :-)

fionnthedog Wed 23-Jul-14 20:39:48

I'm with you! Ds is just about 13 weeks and has gained weight slowly dropping from 25th centile at birth to between 2nd and 9th. I think that's just where he's meant to be as everything else is fine, but those damn charts stress me out!!! He's currently just over 11lbs.

feeona123 Wed 23-Jul-14 20:41:38


My baby girl is 17 weeks tomorrow and is doing fine now.

She was born on the 25th centile and dropped to the 0.4th due to TT.

She only lost 7% after 3 days but she lost more and more weight until we started formula top ups. It took 6 weeks to regain birth weight!

She is fine now and has just hit the 2nd centile so is following her line fine.

Sweetmotherfudger Wed 23-Jul-14 20:45:30

Hope it gets better for you ladies. My dd took 4 months to put on 8oz. From 50th at birth to 0.4 a few weeks later. Now she's 9 months and in the 9th so there's been progress. It's horrid though!

ZenNudist Wed 23-Jul-14 20:50:10

Secondsop what TT did your ds have? Ds2 is now 6mo and initially dropped from 85th to below 25th centile ebf. I had his posterior TT excision at ooooh 8 weeks, maybe lost track. It was very hard going until that point.

What's interesting is he has climbed back up the centiles steadily since the procedure and is at 6mo above 75th centile.

Thought you'd like to hear a happy tale from someone who'd been there.

Secondsop Wed 23-Jul-14 21:41:24

It's really encouraging to hear from those whose babies have got past their difficulties and are now doing well. My son had a posterior tongue tie that was missed by a few people but diagnosed at 4 weeks in about 2 seconds by Katherine Fisher at kings who performed the procedure. He had been slowly gaining before then after losing 13% of birth weight (regained birth weight of 7lb3oz after 4 weeks) but in the week after the procedure he gained virtually nothing as he was struggling with relearning to feed. At that point after a lot of soul searching I upped the top ups. He now is doing much better with breastfeeding and I have reduced top ups a little but he's still getting between 380-500ml a day in total. He now weighs 8-and-a-half pounds.

This is actually my second experience of a poor weight hank baby as my first boy was a terrible feeder, really hated to latch and loved the bottle. He took 6 weeks to get to brith weight and we didn't do any breastfeeding beyond about 20 weeks. I would really like to keep feeding longer this time even if not exclusively, as DS2 likes to nurse and finds it very comforting.

Secondsop Wed 23-Jul-14 21:43:33

One of the things I'm finding hard to deal with (or maybe I'm being over sensitive) is when people say, innocently, "oh he's so tiny!".

BadPenny Wed 23-Jul-14 21:58:09

Not such a happy tale here: when my DS was born he was over the 75th centile line, then he lost 18% in the first 9 days. Down to the 9th. He stayed there for a couple of weeks then dropped to the 2nd.

For 6 months I was trying desperately to get milk into him to keep the HCPs happy (he wasn't too bothered)... Breastfeeding but also supplementing with EBM and formula... Having him weighed at least every two weeks (often once a week as kept being told to "bring him back next week") - oh the stress when he did a big poo just before he was due another weigh in!

Then we started baby-led weaning and he just took off - at the eight month check he was already over the 91st centile and I was being told to give him less milk. Less milk? Before that everyone was impressing on me how important milk was in the baby's diet up to one year... So I just carried on letting him eat what he wanted per the BLW guidance.

But now I have a little boy who is constantly hungry. He eats so much! I'm sure all that 'force-feeding' in the first 6 months has messed up his appetite completely. Does anyone know if this can happen? I remember reading it was a risk of not feeding on demand.

Writerwannabe83 Wed 23-Jul-14 22:11:10

I'm like you fiionthedog in that the charts stress me out!!

DS was born between the 75th-91st percentile and at 17 weeks of age he is now between the 25th-50th.

He had excellent weight gain at first but it's solely been tapering off. When he was last weighed he had only put on 1oz in 5 days. I'm seeing the HV next Wednesday to have his weight checked again and I'm dreading it.

I've also had the 'isn't he tiny' comments. They are not helpful.

I don't understand why his weight gain is so slow. He is breast fed but feeds really well, taking about 7-8 feeds in a 24 hour period and usually feeding from both breasts. He has lots of really wet nappies and has a dirty nappy every two days so I don't understand why he isn't putting on more weight. Every time I get him weighed he has dropped further down the chart, little by little.

I'm sure I saw on the Kellymom website that BF babies are supposed to double their birth weight by the time they 3-4 months but DS is still 3lbs away from doing that and is already 4 months old.

I'm trying not to get stressed over it but easier said than done.

Secondsop Thu 24-Jul-14 00:09:05

badpenny I had to "force feed" my elder child and this one as neither child demanded enough feedings (and my body didn't produce enough milk therefore) to keep them gaining. My older boy is nearly 20 months now and it was only really when he went on solids that he really gained very well and he's now on the 75th percentile for weight and height after having languished off the bottom of the chart for a while at the start. So rather than the early feeding messing up his appetite, his appetite only really came into its own a bit later.

fionnthedog Thu 24-Jul-14 07:29:43

It's interesting to see how many slow weight gainers had a problem with tt in the ears weeks. Ds had tt diagnosed at birth but not divided til 6 weeks (and even then only because we paid privately). I know it's not the only reason but seems to be a factor in lots of cases...

Secondsop Fri 25-Jul-14 11:23:38

Y, fionn, there needs to be a tongue tie diagnosis revolution. I'm sure my elder boy had one too but the hospital we were referred to "didn't believe in" posterior tongue ties. For my new baby several people missed it, one saying robustly "there's nothing wrong with this child's tongue" but it was diagnosed easily by Katherine fisher at the king's clinic.

Secondsop Mon 11-Aug-14 16:29:15

Hi, am coming back to this thread to update that we had the baby weighed today after a 3 week gap and he is doing well - between the bottom two percentile lines so on the small side but tracking a line after having dropped off the bottom. Our regime of mixed feeding seems to be working, which is a huge relief.

Imeg Mon 11-Aug-14 19:07:56

A happy story here - baby was born on the 9th and then lost quite a bit by day 5, then crawled along the 0.4th centile line with a few top ups and lots of worrying from me! The HVs were fairly positive as he was always alert and active but they kept making me go back. Around 6 weeks he started feeding much better (breast compressions did the trick for us) and then between 12 and 17 weeks he shot up from the 0.4th to nearly the 25th centile! Now at 22weeks I'm struggling to get him to take a bottle at all which is irritating as I thought a silver lining of all the worrying and some topping up would be having a baby who would happily take a bottle...

NoMontagues Tue 12-Aug-14 06:54:15

I'm glad I found this thread. I had DS on Thursday last grin

He was 8lbs at birth but had lost 10.2% by Sunday which was obviously awful to hear.

I had basically had him on the boob non-stop since birth but I knew by his behaviour that he was getting nothing out of it. I pinned all my hopes on my milk coming in by end of day 4 but the community midwife who weighed him on Sun said he needed a top-up of formula which I accepted immediately.

Then just yesterday eve he was visited by a different communit midwife who took one look at my viciously cracked nipples and in DS's mouth and immediately pointed out TT.

DSIS just went through this with her DS in February so I know a bit about it but she lives in a different city so I have to get on the phone now today to try to get a private appt and gp referral ASAP (I'm in Ireland).

As I have been surviving on 1- 2 hrs sleep here and there due to the constant "feeding" this news really hit me hard last night and I was reduced to a sobbing wreck much to poor DH's dismay.

I'm just so afraid that all the groundwork (and not insignificant pain) that I've put in so far will be for nothing if DS gets too used to the bottle between now and when we get this sorted.

I BFed him all through the night last night but still had to give the top-up.

Feel a bit at sea tbh. Sorry for the massive essay.

bakingtins Tue 12-Aug-14 07:22:26

Don't panic noM it's good that the problem has been identified and can be fixed. I have had two TT babies and both have improved massively after snipping. DD was early and tiny and spent some time in SCBU being tube fed, then had EBM top ups for several weeks, she's had no problems bf as well and is now breastfeeding really well and tracking her (0.4th!) centile. My DS is 2nd centile, I spent so much of his babyhood worrying about it, but he is still 2nd centile at 4 yrs old, and he is still fine.
HCPs put so much pressure on new mums and if you are BF it's so easy to take it massively personally and feel it's all your fault if they are not gaining " enough"
Good luck with getting a TT appointment soon, turn it round so it becomes the MW's priority to get you an appointment and get the BF sorted. flowers

whitemusk Tue 12-Aug-14 09:13:16

This article may help if breastfeeding is painful and your baby isn't gaining but it can help enormously to see an IBCLC lactation consultant. Once a baby has lost weight and failed to gain for a while they can become sleepy and almost 'happy to starve'. A good IBCLC will take a full medical history (eg finding out if you are anaemic and other causes of low supply), check positioning and tongue function and help you with a plan to make sure baby takes as much milk as possible and your supply is boosted with pumping, breast compressions, offering both breasts per feed etc. There is always something to cut if you are a tongue tie practitioner but whether it needs doing requires an assessment of tongue function, watching a feed etc. Dividing the TT doesn't always make the difference if it was poor positioning or low milk supply or something else. Often it is a combination of things.

returnvisit Tue 12-Aug-14 10:12:45

This is a great thread . My dd was born and has gained weight really slowly, like half ounce a week and some weeks where he has lost. He had tongue tie which i got snipped privately because my nipples were shredded and the pain when feeding was excruciating. I have done a fee top ups here and there but i just want to breastfeed so try and avoid it although the health visitors have suggested it. However to avoid this i am feeding my dd everyhour for about 30 -45 mins so feel like i never get a break. Her latching has improved tons but it took about 5 days after the procedure to improve.

Its so disheartening to have a baby whos weight is slow/or doesnt gain.

I know how you feel NoMontagues, i feel like all my efforts are in vain and its really hard to keep going. Life would be so much easier if i threw in the towel and just bottle fed and im working really hard to keep myself positive but i have really bad lows where i keep crying.

NoMontagues Tue 12-Aug-14 10:26:36

Thanks so much everyone. I have appt with the gp this afternoon to get the referral for the TT practitioner so at least the ball is rolling there.

The midwife said that there is a session with a lactation consultant included with the TT treatment so hopefully they can sort the latch etc.

I had terrible nipple issues with my DD and ended up giving up BF at around 6 wks or so, although that was 13 years ago and I can't remember the exact details, and TT wasn't ever mentioned back then.

whitemusk Tue 12-Aug-14 11:59:55

Hi Returnvisit if your baby is only gaining 1/2oz per week and sometimes losing, relying on breastfeeding isn't enough. For whatever reason your little one is not transferring the milk. Are you pumping as your supply may have got quite low after a poor start? If you can pump after each and every feed to drain the breasts and hence stimulate your supply and then top up your baby to satiety after each feed with the expressed milk you will see them start to catch up (the breasts and the weight gain). If you don't have enough expressed breastmilk to do this at first then you may need formula until you can build supply. It's important to get baby's weight gain up as they can become happy to starve or 'a good baby' but they do need the calories to give them the strength to work at the breast without getting tired and to meet their developmental norms. Check out this article

highlandfling10 Tue 12-Aug-14 14:12:02

NoM if you are seeing the gp get them to prescribe something for your cracked nips too, as there are wet dressings available to help healing you can get like Actiform pads. We have just been through this, posterior TT found at 17 days. Nips were destroyed, and DS was losing weight. The dressings really helped. DS has been doing so much better since TT was snipped. I do wish TT was just a standard check!! Good luck everyone smile

Secondsop Tue 12-Aug-14 15:42:42

imeg thank you for sharing your story - it has given me hope that things will continue to get better for my little boy.

nomontagues if your baby is happy to go to the breast, my best advice from my experience with this baby is to keep putting them to the breast at every opportunity (as well as whatever top ups you decide to do). That's what I did and we've managed not to keep increasing the formula. With my first baby we had no such luck and the beginning of formula meant the end of breastfeeding, but he never liked latching on and he also I suspect had a posterior tongue tie but the clinic we were referred to "didn't believe in" posterior ties. Keep breastfeeding at every opportunity whilst making sure your baby is getting the top ups he needs to remain hydrated and to get enough calories. Even if it's (eg) after a bottle and is comfort sucking without much milk, the baby taking comfort will make him less likely to go off the breast and will also help keep your supply stimulated. Ignore well-meaning friends and relatives who give you the "surely he can't be hungry again!" and "he's just tired, not hungry". I tried breast first before anything else if my baby was unsettled.

It's great that you're getting help with the tongue tie. One thing to note is that although some babies see an instant improvement straight after feeding, for others it can take a while for them to relearn how to feed with their newly freed tongues. My boy put on virtually nothing in the week after the procedure and that was with formula top ups, and it took him about 10 days before he could maintain a half decent latch and a couple of weeks before he was really doing well. So if you have similar trouble, it's normal and does get better but we couldn't have got through those days without some judicious use of top ups.

Secondsop Tue 12-Aug-14 15:53:35

returnvisit I really feel for you - when we'd had the tongue tie procedure and he'd only gained 10g in the week after it i felt awful and that I'd put him through this for nothing, and I thought how much easier it would be if I bottle-fed. In the end I thought to myself, if at any point this is making the baby miserable and when I feel myself persevering for me rather than him, then that's when I'll make the decision to bottle feed. But that day never came - I increased the formula top ups a little to get his weight gain going but he then picked up his feeding and we haven't had to increase formula again. I agree with the previous poster that your baby doesn't seem to be transferring enough milk to gain rather than to tick along. Do you have any real life help that you can see? I appreciate this can be hard as it is difficult to find someone who can give a completely agenda-free approach as feeding specialists will want to keep you breastfeeding and doctors will want the weight gain addressed by top ups.

returnvisit Tue 12-Aug-14 20:20:41

Thank you so much for the replies.

I agree with the suggestion that there appears to be an issue with the transfer of milk. At first i was putting it down to the tongue tie and then after it was snipped i was told that it would take a few weeks for the latch to be improved. I haven noticed a big improvement in the latch some 1.5 weeks later.

I spoke to the midwife who was not pro forma and she said it may just take a bit more time for my milk supply to catch up because it probably slowed down to her inefficient feedind before his tongue was snipped. So we are going to give it another week before we weigh her again and i will just feed as much as i can and also try fenugreek to up mu supply.

Secondsop, im like you i will give formula but just going to hang on a bit longer to see if i can improve things, i have seen someone who says latch is ok.

Whitemusk, pumping is the only thing im not doing at ghe monent and thats because i figure that nursing her is the best thing to stimulate supply and im nursing so much i just cant face the thought of pumping on top if the continual feeding im doing. This is all emotionally so tough!!

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