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Slow weight gain and terrified first time mum

(56 Posts)
Pushonregardless Tue 16-Dec-14 16:30:16

I feel like I need some help to sort out my state of mind. And see a path through all of the advice and opinion being shoved on me.

FTM of 9 week old DD. Born with hip displaysia and currently in a Pavlick harness (for at least until 15 weeks).

Both DH and I are quite small build. DD was 8lbs 9oz at birth which surprised the midwives. EBF from the start and I am passionate about breastfeeding. Maybe too much.

Baby lost 9% after birth. Then began my problems. It took until week 5 for her to regain birth weight. Aside from this she was clinically very well- alert, holding head up from birth, lots of wet and dirty nappies. I had a fantastic, supportive midwife who saw me twice a week and developed a feeding plan. She lent me a hospital grade pump and I expressed after every feed, giving DH this as a top up via cup (I was trying to resist a bottle at this stage). She felt that DD was simply born too big and was 'catching down'.

By week 5 this wasn't working well enough. I saw a different midwife who scared me and insisted on formula top up. I had resisted this all along and was very upset, sobbed for hours when we first did it. I wanted to EBF and still do.

Weight gain began to improve but I was only giving very small amounts of formula a day, which midwife felt wouldn't account for the gain. So I phased it out in the hope to return to EBF.

Weight gain was happening but slow. HV was happy that DD was just finding her own curve (following 9th percentile) but asked me to see GP 'just in case' she had missed something. GP agreed she was well, no tongue tie etc but said it was worth asking the paediatrician anyway. They are hell bent on intervention, so of course insisted I bring her into paeds A&E immediately. I spent four hours waiting to be seen, for them to do blood tests etc and tell me what I already knew-that there was nothing medically wrong with her. Then 2 hrs spent with the infant feeding team improving my latch and putting a new feeding plan in place. Which entailed even more expressing and supplementing with EBF. I was starring to lose it with worry and stress by this point and cried the entire time.

I had to go and move in with MIL for a week to get help as the feeding routine was so intense I couldn't look after myself as I was always feeding or pumping.

At the same time we had problems with baby being unsettled and continuing to feed every 1.5-2hrs, so sleep was very broken. I had accepted that this was normal for a newborn and that I needed to just get through it. However I don't deal with sleep deprivation well. I spent a lot of time crying on the phone to my mum. Hoping for support.

My mum is difficult. I desperately wanted love and support but due to family history of hip displaysia she is obsessed with doing anything to make sure DDs hips heal. Very long story short, she has pushed me harder and harder, saying her weight gain isnt normal. She's been downright horrid to me and she and my sister staged an 'intervention' by inviting me over and talking me down for 6 hours until exhausted from crying constantly I agreed to top her up with formula again. I'm a strong, intelligent 32 yr old woman but have been I completely bullied on this. I have been screamed and shouted at - things have happened that make me so desperately upset. I have spent weeks crying and fighting my corner.

Despite all of us being EBF as babies, my family seem believe formula to be the magic bullet that will improve weight gain and get me some sleep. They believe that from a very tiny ages babies should sleep through at night.

Of course I know this isn't the case. DD isstill only 9lbs 5oz at 9 weeks but is still following 9th centile. HV is unconcerned and wants to weigh her less. She's told me to stand up to my family and be proud I've stuck with BF despite the challenges.

I'm stuck in this rut of formula top ups now which terrifies me as I don't Want to damage my supply. I see it as a slippery slope.

At a hip appointment today they remarked that she hasn't grown much this week in length when they adjusted their harness. My mum was there and made a big scene. She is physically forcing bottles on DD and wants me to give up BF. She literally takes unfinished top up bottles and tries to make DD take them. This makes me so angry i can't speak. I am the boss here. Not her.

I am resisting her on everything and our relationship has completely deteriorated. I refuse to be pushed around by her. All the HCPs are unconcerned about her size but I can't seem to be confident because my family are making my life a misery. DH is furious and we are having to lie about weigh ins and spend less time with my family.

I'm so sorry this was such a rant. I just needed to get it all down. Would you be worried about DDs weight? Am I doing the right thing? The HV told me to be firm with my mum and I've told her that DH and I are committed to BF and that it's not up for discussion. She believes I'm starving my daughter. I'm starting to worry she's right, despite having a happy, smiley baby who is meeting milestones and sleeping 4hr stretches at night.

I'm in such a mess and I can't see a way out. I feel better when I've not seen my family for a few days and it's just me and DD doing our thing.

I just cannot give up BF. I don't believe it's the right thing for her. I am so sad. HV is watching me for PND. Please help.

Pushonregardless Tue 16-Dec-14 16:37:53

Typo, She's 9lbs 8oz, not 9lbs 5oz.

Wolfiefan Tue 16-Dec-14 16:40:04

I'm so sorry you are experiencing this stress. I tried to bf with both mine. (Tried for 4 months with DS) It wasn't to be.
Your situation sounds different to me. If your baby IS gaining weight and you are getting lots of wet and dirty nappy then I wouldn't worry.
I eventually switched to formula. Not because I wanted my baby to sleep through the night or put on more weight. He was losing weight, I was giving more and more formula, feeding constantly, never had full/leaking boobs or experienced a feeling of letdown, couldn't express (and boy did I try!)
I would be tempted to distance yourself from your family if medical professionals are not concerned. If they can't respect your decisions as a parent then you don't need the grief.
Struggling with feeding in this way was one of the most stressful periods of my life. You can only do what's best for you. X

loudarts Tue 16-Dec-14 16:44:32

You are not starving your daughter. You are doing the absolute best for her no matter what your dm says. If she is now following a centile line, is having enough wet and dirty nappies and generally content she is obviously supposed to be that size. If you truly want to continue bf I would try and cut out the formula top ups as I honestly think it sounds like she doesn't need them but it has to be your decision. She is your dd and you know best. flowers

Annarose2014 Tue 16-Dec-14 16:48:23

Your daughter sounds fine.

Your mum however, sounds completely batshit. Sorry to be rude.

tiktok Tue 16-Dec-14 16:49:39

OP, this sounds awful.

Your baby is healthy and giving no medical concern at all, apart from the hip situation, obv.

Your baby is your responsibility and your DH's. obv.

Her day to day well-being has nothing to do with your mother or sister.

You sound baffled as to how you are in the situation where they have so much power over your decision-making, and it is baffling....on the face of it. Perhaps there is history here, which when the dust settles you can explore.

Meantime, there is nothing wrong with your baby's growth which is well within normal.

The stress, however, being caused to you is very wrong, and you and your dh may want to put some distance between the providers of the stress and yourselves.

You are adult, you are responsible, you know what is good for your mental health.

Micah Tue 16-Dec-14 16:59:33

Stop seeing these people who are bullying you.

Bin the formula, hide the bottles. Repeat that the hv said she is fine and not to worry, and stop weighing! We had similar issues which all went away when we stopped weighingsmile

Bin the pump too. Expressing is a bitch and not effective.

Pushonregardless Tue 16-Dec-14 17:55:48

Thank you so much for all your replies.

I do want to wean her off the top ups eventually but I am concerned that her hip development is reliant on her gaining weight, as advised by the doc. How will I eventually do this? And thoughts ticktok?

I do need some space from them. My mistake has been asking for advice from them. They feel I don't listen or do what they say and then it escalates. I think I've let people do this because I'm nervous and I haven't done this before. It's been so stressful and it's spoiling my time with DD.

How can I show my family that she is normal? My mum is pretty dismissive of the HV's opinion.

Wolfiefan Tue 16-Dec-14 18:06:41

Your mum needs to listen to your opinion.
The medical professionals, you and your DH are happy. She needs to keep her opinions to herself or stay away.
(Tell her the advice is you mustn't be argued with as it stresses out DD and reduces your supply! grin)

tiktok Tue 16-Dec-14 18:19:25

It's not your job to convince your mum you are right. It is her job to let you be the parent. She has to butt out. Draw your boundaries and keep to them.

I don't know about weight and hip dysplasia, sorry....there are ways to increase your baby's breastmilk intake so the formula is phased out, though. Any bfc or fully-competent HV should support you in doing this.

Gunpowder Tue 16-Dec-14 18:28:07

I would definitely trust the HCPs and your instincts over your mum, she sounds incredibly anxious and I'm so sorry she is not supporting you. sad

I think I'd take a few steps back from your DM and DSis and reengage when you are feeling stronger and your supply is firmly established. Your MIL sounds great, maybe rely on her for support until DD is a little bit bigger? flowers for you. Hope things are easier soon.

Waffles80 Tue 16-Dec-14 18:35:21

Hey - not going to offer any advice as it sounds like a) others here have done a sterling job of that and b) you've got it coming out of your ears.

I will, however, say that you're doing a bloody brilliant job with a very difficult situation (with your baby - and your family). flowers

Secondly - my twins (identical) are tiny. Really tiny. I've been worried, I've been up the wall anxious, and I've had lots of unhelpful people tell me they're "too small". Twin 1 born at 5llb7, now nearly 14lb at 6 months. Twin 2 born at 3lb5 and nearly 13lb. They're small. OH and I are both tall and slim (well, I was, till, you know, twins and subsequent biscuit consumption coping strategy).

Anyway, babies moving along centile lines appropriately. Been told by excellent paediatrician to keep an eye on them but not tie myself in knots.

They were mix fed for 16 wks when moved to bottles. Weight gain hasn't been massive but has been consistent even with formula and then weaning at 5 1/2 months.

Some babies aren't huge / don't pile it on, I guess.

You're doing a great job and you sound like a brilliant mum. I hope things improve for you very soon (they will - it gets better every day). Keep posting here as the support is blinking brillaint. flowers for supportive people.

TriciaMcM Tue 16-Dec-14 18:36:50

You are being bullied. DD was also in a Pavlik harness & your DD's recovery is NOT being affected by being BF. If she's tracking centile, that should be ok for your mother. DD actually dropped a centiles with the harness initially as I found feeding difficult with it. I know you're probably relying on your mothers support as a FTM, but that is not support! It's hurtful and not helping you or your daughter in the slightest. flowers

RedToothBrush Tue 16-Dec-14 18:54:43

DS is a good sleeper. He only started sleeping longer than 4 hour stretches at 9/10 weeks. And by all accounts judging by the September post-natal thread, he was sleeping better than most at that age.

If you aren't on the October post-natal thread, why don't you introduce yourself there. I find the September one invaluable for getting a good idea of the range of different experiences for babies of a similar age.

To be blunt about it, you are being bullied by your Mum but you are making life difficult for yourself to a certain extent by allowing her to have certain conversations with you. If she's spent six hours staging an intervention and has physically forced a bottle into your daughters mouth, why are you even considering letting her over the threshold. You should not try and convince your Mum about anything. Its frankly none of her business. If SHE wants a relationship with you and your daughter it should be on your terms. You shouldn't feel like you have to have her approval - that's not how healthy relationships should work.

Pushonregardless Tue 16-Dec-14 19:13:39

I think the problem is that I'm worried she's right. Unfortunately she often is.
For example, we have horrendously fussy evenings here. Crying and pulling off the breast. DD gets so irate and it's impossible to feed her. I know this can be normal but it's happening tonight. I'm alone for the first time in the evening as DH had to work late. She has got so worked up but the minute I give up and offer a top up bottle, she has woofed the lot and fallen fast asleep. How can I argue with that? Is my supply just too low? I have very soft breasts but the slightest squeeze sends a spray out so that can't be the case?

I'm so desperate not to give in. I've been told she's a hungry baby with a fast metabolism. Perhaps I'm just not enough? I can't bear the thought that I might be denying her.

Micah Tue 16-Dec-14 19:23:28

She takes the top up bottle because it's easy and readily available compared to breast. Many babies end up refusing the breast if they get too used to bottles, purely because it's less work!

I always say think if you've just had a really lovely, satisfying meal. Then somebody offers you chocolate. You eat it, don't you, even if you're not particularly hungry, because it's nice and it's there.

You have enough or she wouldn't be tracking a centile. Trust yourself, you'll be fine!

Pushonregardless Tue 16-Dec-14 19:26:17

Thanks micha. I agree but how do I settle her if she won't feed? It's not a problem at other times when she's calm.

Who knew this would be so fraught

Swex Tue 16-Dec-14 19:33:21

I don't have a magic message. But wanted to offer a hand hold in support. Mother of two small babies who grow along the 9 centiles. It's chard when people comment on size etc. But if your child is growing along a centile - then well done! Stick to your guns.

Waffles80 Tue 16-Dec-14 19:36:55

Yeah - the madness of evenings with babies isn't in any of the books!

Found using a sling with mine really helped settle them. Would carry them round while they dozed and was able to get something to eat / use the loo.

Will she take a dummy? tiktok what's the current thinking on dummies and bf? I was told to use them with my babies who were prem to help develop sucking reflex.

ClearlyMoo Tue 16-Dec-14 19:39:34

Sending hugs. In a hurry so read most of it. Didn't want to read and run. My DD very similar story. Born on 98%ile Tongue tie. Lost 11% birthweight. Introduced top ups of EBM & Formula from 2 weeks. Final regain of birth weight by 7 weeks (down to 25th%ile)! Then took me 3 further weeks to little by little reduce formula given and since 10 weeks she's been EBF again. There was lots of pumping etc. It is possible. You can do it and in the long run breast feeding is the lazy way in my opinion! DD is now 7months and has been EBF for more than 2/3 of her little life. She's taken to solids well (we are going Baby Led Weaning started 5 weeks ago) and she has been following 50thile for a few months! Hurrah! Do PM me if you want to chat further. Well done. Keep going.

Waffles80 Tue 16-Dec-14 19:39:46

Oh - I'm an idiot. I just realised that a sling might not be possible with her harness. So sorry for stupid suggestion.

RedToothBrush Tue 16-Dec-14 19:40:30

If your breasts feel soft that's actually a GOOD thing. There is more fat content in breast milk from softer feeling breasts. Therefore its more calorific. It doesn't mean they are more empty though, it just means they are less full of milk, and that milk is more of 'the good stuff' if that makes sense.

You can argue with her woofing the bottle down - its just easier to take the bottle so she's being lazy. Its pretty normal to get more worked up in the evenings as babies tend to be more tired too.

Wolfiefan Tue 16-Dec-14 19:44:13

I NEVER got more than a drop on hand or machine expressing.
My DS had a sunken fontanelle and looked gaunt. He lost weight. Not gained it.
I needed to stop bf. You are not in the same situation. x

MehsMum Tue 16-Dec-14 19:50:24

All I can add to all the helpful advice is my own experience: DC4 was just over 9lb at birth and didn't hit 18lb till she was a year old (an older sibling was that size at 6mo). She was EBF till 5 or 6 months.

I would have panicked if she'd been my first, but since she was my third, I could see she was happy, alert, responsive, healthy and thriving, just destined to be short.

She is not best pleased about being short, but her slow growth in her first year has not held her back in any way AT ALL.

MehsMum Tue 16-Dec-14 19:53:52

My fourth! Gah!
I can count, honest.

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