Need advice - switch to ff or stick with bf?

(15 Posts)
mrsb26 Tue 02-Feb-16 12:46:34

DD (5.5 months) has struggled with weight gain in the last couple of months.

I always said I'd continue to breastfeed for as long as she was thriving. She's dropped almost two centiles now, so I'm considering switching to formula. She's had no issues re: tongue tie etc, has just become a very distracted feeder on the breast and won't take a lot at each feed.

I've started weaning already on advice of HV because her gain was slowing.

She will take a bottle ok sometimes - has one every so often. My question is, do I move to bottles? Do I bother faffing with them or do I try and move straight to a sippy cup of formula?

I don't want to start buying bottles etc if it will be a waste of money and she'll be off them soon anyway.

Or, do I continue bf and up her meals to two a day? For the record, I'm not doing BLW as, aside from other hesitations that I have personally, because of her slow gain, I'd rather her be getting something out of food nutritionally early on.

Thank you.

Bounced Tue 02-Feb-16 12:54:28

I'd have a look at kellymom.com for advice before you make any decisions - it's got a list of good, evidence-based articles on poor weight gain, distractible babies etc. Then you can re-evaluate and if none of that has worked then you can try ff. Personally, I'd try a doidy cup or free flow sippy cup first at 5 months, rather than bottles, as its a bit less of a faff and easier to clean.

Also, are you and your partner fairly small? It might be her natural centile, if so.

mrsb26 Tue 02-Feb-16 13:01:02

Thanks Bounced.

We are both tall a slim so she was never going to be a chunk, just a bit concerned that she's not really gaining as she should.

Micah Tue 02-Feb-16 13:02:32

How do you feel about it? If you took the scales and HV out of the picture, is she happy, thriving, meeting milestones etc?

As long as she's still gaining something, however small. It could be she's having a developmental spurt, so growth is on hold while she learned to sit up, for example.

Mine did the same, slowed right down and dropped 2 centiles. Fortunately I had good HCP who did all the tests and concluded she was just small, and entirely normal. Sure enough about 6 m she started leaping up the centiles again- which was when I stopped weighing smile

Food can actually have less calories then milk, so might not improve things if she's filling up with fruit or veg and reducing milk.

If you're otherwise happy, stop weighing her and wean as you normally would smile.

HappyHeart87 Tue 02-Feb-16 13:04:08

Obviously your choice, no shame etc etc.

But I'd stick with it. The benefits of being breast fed far outweigh the benefits of growing on a particular growth curve.

My DD was born on 2nd centile; now below 0.2nd, exclusively breast fed. She was very prem so is still under a consultant. My experience has been that HVs have freaked out as she's dropped; pushed formula and weaning etc, and when I've panicked and gone to consultant, she has calmly listed all the reasons breastfeeding is WAY better for DD than artificially fattening her up.

Theodolia Tue 02-Feb-16 13:04:48

Are there any other concerns or is it just her weight? Weight gain isn't necessarily the be all and end all. Do you want to continue breastfeeding at this point? Also, it's my understanding that milk of either type is more calorific than food anyway, so weaning won't necessarily help.

Micah Tue 02-Feb-16 13:17:43

My experience has been that HVs have freaked out as she's dropped; pushed formula and weaning etc, and when I've panicked and gone to consultant, she has calmly listed all the reasons breastfeeding is WAY better for DD than artificially fattening her up

My experience too. I got referred to paeds once DD dropped 2 centiles. First question asked was are you worried, or have you been referred by the HV. Once I said HV, much rolling of eyes, they did all the tests, and said she was fine- listed all the things I would see if there were something actually wrong, and said stop weighing, and go on the whole child. They also said if there were a real problem, it would be there whatever method of feeding I chose.

mrsb26 Tue 02-Feb-16 13:35:19

Thanks everyone.

I'm not worried about anything else. She's happy and bubbly and generally a lovely baby.

I'd ideally like to continue bf as, despite wobbles in the early days, I find it so much easier than bottle feeding, particularly at night when I just whip her out of her cot and put her straight back down again - I barely have to get out of bed.

I'm just worried I'm failing her by continuing to bf if she's not gaining enough weight. Aren't babies supposed to double their birth weight by 3-4 months? She hasn't doubled hers yet.

mrsb26 Tue 02-Feb-16 13:35:29

Thanks everyone.

I'm not worried about anything else. She's happy and bubbly and generally a lovely baby.

I'd ideally like to continue bf as, despite wobbles in the early days, I find it so much easier than bottle feeding, particularly at night when I just whip her out of her cot and put her straight back down again - I barely have to get out of bed.

I'm just worried I'm failing her by continuing to bf if she's not gaining enough weight. Aren't babies supposed to double their birth weight by 3-4 months? She hasn't doubled hers yet.

Micah Tue 02-Feb-16 13:48:07

Bear in mind much of the weight guidelines are based on formula fed babies.

Mine was 7.5 lbs at birth. She was 12lbs by one year. She was in her stage 1 car seat (generally up until 9 months) until 20 months as she didn't meet the required weight.

She's fine smile. Honestly the numbers are entirely meaningless without other things that would suggest something wrong. If you stopped weighing her would you worry?

I always suggest that if you really are worried, don't piss about with trying to make them gain by topping up, formula, weaning, or anything like that. Because if there is something wrong, it will be there whatever you do. Just go back to your GP, get a paed referral, they'll do some bloods and an examination, and tell you whether your child is healthy or not. If your child is healthy, there's nothing you can do to affect their weight, short of starving or force feeding them.

Theodolia Tue 02-Feb-16 14:18:35

Yeah, you don't have to get DD weighed at all- after six months the NHS advises no more than once every two months. Didn't stop my health visitor from claiming I should go every week though hmm until I pointed out what the red book actually says. I had a similar experience to Micah with paeds getting sick of health visitors caring about weight to the exclusion of all else.

Focusfocus Tue 02-Feb-16 14:45:08

I agree with most of ways been said excerpt that the current charts are based on breastfed babies not formula fed babies.

Sairelou Tue 02-Feb-16 14:57:07

As long as baby is having lots of wet and dirty nappies and is content after feeds then I wouldn't worry about the chart. My ebf 5 month old has dropped two centiles and my HV wasn't worried.

HeyMicky Tue 02-Feb-16 15:01:16

Echo everything PPs have said.

Both of mine have also become very distracted at this age. I took a few days with each to go right back to basics - dim room, striping us both off, lots of skin to skin - and it really made a difference to the quality of feeds. Might be worth trying

kbro79 Wed 03-Feb-16 22:11:40

My baby is the same age and having same issues - dropped to percentiles and super distracted. One HV said come for extra weighings and next said no need to bother. Both weren't overly concerned. Despite this I of course turned to Dr Google to ponder worst case scenarios however I did find this article which was v reassuring and helpful. Helped but my mind at ease drjaygordon.com/newborns/scales.html

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