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Newborn losing weight

(22 Posts)
ASheepLessOrdinary Sun 05-Jun-16 21:46:36

I'm new to Mumsnet and could use some advice / moral support as I am having a really hard time with our first baby. Sorry, this is likely to be long!

To give some background, she was born 11 days ago via an ELCS under a general anaesthetic. The reason for this is that I have Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome and my obstretician very much pushed me into having an ELCS, even though I was very reluctant to have one as I wasn't sure it was necessary. The hospital put a lot of pressure on me and I ended up agreeing in the end just because it seemed the most predictable option.

My baby was quite light at birth (2.9kg) and below the 10th percentile, so was monitored for 24 hours and was fine. We got discharged after 2 days and I have been breastfeeding, which was pretty hard as she clusterfeeds throughout the night (approx. 11pm to 5am). I struggle to sleep throughout the day, so barely get any sleep at all.

Since her birth, she has lost 12.5% of her body weight. On Friday, we were advised by a local midwife to start supplementing with formula milk. Baby was also referred to the hospital and they advised the same thing (as she was otherwise fine), however gave us different times and amounts for how much formula milk to give her. They recommended she should be admitted to hospital if she hadn't gained weight by today.

When she got weighed today, she had lost another 20g, however the midwife said it was our fault for not 'following hospital advice' as we did not feed her at exactly 3 hour intervals (as I said, we were given different times by the midwife and we also found it hard to feed her when she is fast asleep and doesn't want to wake up). We have been trying this today but she just won't take all of the milk and it's really hard to wake her up to essentially force-feed her.

In addition to this, I am trying to keep my supply up by pumping. I have been loaned an electric pump by the local children's centre, but have not managed to express anything using either this or a manual pump, which is incredibly frustrating. I can get small amounts (approx. 10ml from both breasts) by hand-expressing, however midwives keep on telling me I should persevere with the pumps even if I don't get any milk.

I'm getting to the point where this is really starting to wear me down, especially since the midwife we saw today made it out like everything I am doing was wrong and I start crying everytime I think about what she said. I don't know how I can keep up with the night-time cluster-feeding, forcing baby to have formula milk and hand-expressing. I am also struggling to eat as I have completely lost my appetite since the section (which I was again made to feel guilty about by the midwife as she said it can further affect my milk supply).

So, I can't eat, sleep and it feels like I do nothing but constantly express or feed my baby, yet she is still losing weight. My partner is very supportive and does all the nappy changes as well as doing basically everything else around the house. I'm not sure how much longer I can cope with this.

If anyone has managed to read all this through the end, any kind words of support would be appreciated.

FloweryTwat Sun 05-Jun-16 21:53:59

Firstly - you are doing a great job. It is very scary and very difficult when you can't get a tiny to keep their weight up, and sometimes midwives and nurses can really confuse the issue.

The less your baby eats the more sleepy they will get, so it is important to keep topping them up. I mixed fed from very early on, so I don't think boob and formula matters, but it's you we are talking about not me.

Are you happy formula feeding? Would you rather stick to just breast, or are you past caring? That's fine too - very hard to keep all plates in the air when you are tired, feel like shit and have a small person sucking on your boobs all night flowers

There are some really experienced breastfeeders on here who will help with supply and feeding baby up if that is what you prefer. I would say, keep on with the formula at specific points in the day, and breastfeed around that. Or ff every third feed for example. Make sure you have plenty of fluid to keep up your supply and forcefeed yourself if you're not peckish - you need to look after you too, this is where dad's can come in very handy smile

turtlesallthewaydown Sun 05-Jun-16 21:57:06

So sorry you're going through this OP flowers
It is so so hard to cope with all of this pressure when you are sleep deprived and not eating properly either. Well done you for writing a lucid and intelligent post despite how you must be feeling.
I also had problems feeding my second baby, and went through the thing of feeling like I was force feeding, and pumping (that does improve with time) but the midwife had put the fear of God into me too.
I can't offer much in the way of advice (except, you can request a different midwife - someone more sympathetic can make all the difference) - but hope this virtual hand hold helps a teeny bit.
Be as kind to yourself as you can. It's a weird and difficult time.

calamityjam Sun 05-Jun-16 22:08:18

It is early days yet, don't panic you are doing great. Does little one look jaundiced? if she looks yellowish, she may need putting in sunlight as this makes them very sleepy. Carry on expressing, it can take a while to get a decent ammount, and tiny babies can cluster feed very often. This is just them having a tiny tummy and the cluster feeding helps to promote your milk production. Get dh to formula feed after you have breastfed on both sides for as long as she will take it. Flick her feet, strip her down and change her nappy before each feed and don't leave it longer than 3 hours from the start of one feed to the start of the next. Please don't feel bad you are doing the best that you can, she will pick up soon, it is normal for newborns to lose weight before they put it on. sending you hugs. xx

squeezed Sun 05-Jun-16 22:13:54

It doesn't sound like you've had the best support. As others have said you are doing a great job.
Dd1 dropped weight and I remember how horrible top up feeds were. If you are expressing, I found it can help if you hold baby or something that smells of her when expressing to stimulate the flow. Also a warm flannel on the breast just before expressing.
What are you feeding baby with? DD was also tired and we didn't use a bottle but we're advised to use a 1ml syringe which, took an age to feed with. It made the feeding seem even more force, but it worked.
It might be worth thinking of using formula just to give yourself a break. It is really difficult when they lose weight so be kind to yourself.

Owlytellsmesecrets Sun 05-Jun-16 22:20:42

I've had 3 kids naturally and have EDS type 3! If you have vascular EDS then I can understand the section!
I am a 3 push wonder and because I'm so stretchy it really easy !

The feeding .... It is really really hard early doors with BF ... If bubba is still living with the FF top up them maybe ask for a Higher calorie formula like infatrini.... Have you checked for tongue tie ?

As a warning ...?all 3 DC gave EDS to a varying extent!

ASheepLessOrdinary Sun 05-Jun-16 22:25:53

Thank you for all the responses, it really helps to know others empathise.

I would prefer to stick with only breastfeeding, but getting her weight up is my priority at the moment, so persevering with the formula top-ups at the moment. She is just sleepy all the time (apart from at night) so getting her to feed every 3h is really hard. She isn't jaundiced and all the checks and tests for blood sugars keep on coming back fine, it's just her losing weight that's the issue.

We tend to get visited by whichever midwife is on shift so I just hope we get a different one tomorrow, the one today was just horrible (I saw her before during pregnancy and she was awful then too) and made me feel like I'm doing everything wrong. I hate not feeling in control of the situation and am also worried about DP as he is doing so much to help, but he has mental health stuff which limits his energy as well, so I'm worried this will set him off if this stress continues. I couldn't cope without him, I've literally only changed one nappy since baby was born as he does it all. I just hope she gains some weight tomorrow as I didn't do very well in hospital on the postnatal ward so dreading having to stay in with her again.

getyourselfchecked Sun 05-Jun-16 22:28:35

Can I just say, this is VERY early days. For me, my milk was only just coming in properly by then after a bit of a traumatic time. You have had a c-section which can cause a bit of a lag.

At this stage, the volumes of milk are very small. I used to forget that.

Please try and have confidence in yourself. I find midwives (the ones I have met at least) can be condescending, scary and make things much worse and we start to doubt ourselves. Sorry to all the lovely midwives.

Have confidence that you can do this. You ARE doing this. Your baby will be fine. Please look after yourself. Force down little morsels of food, plenty of fluids. You need to optimise yourself physically after what it has been and still going through. Iron-rich foods if you can stomach it.

I don't want to sound too woo, but I read that oats can help with milk supply. I am a scientist and don't usually go in for pseudo-bollux but I think it does actually help my supply. Bit of porridge maybe?

You are doing really well x

getyourselfchecked Sun 05-Jun-16 22:33:01

Btw, what I said still applies if you decide to formula-feed only, obviously! Don't want to sound like a breastfeeding evangelist! Do whatever gets you and your baby through!

tiktok Sun 05-Jun-16 22:37:14

Sheep, this has been such a difficult start sad

Lots of info and suggestions on the thread - perhaps discuss them tomorrow with someone who you have confidence in. There will be an infant feeding lead attached to the maternity unit or a specialist midwife working in the community. Find out who this is and speak to them.

tiktok Sun 05-Jun-16 22:38:48

Your diet - quantity or quality - will have no effect on your BF. But of course eating well is good for your own well being.

getyourselfchecked Sun 05-Jun-16 23:44:15

Yes, tiktok, that's what I meant re. diet. It made a massive difference to me when I came out of hospital. And I know there is no evidence supporting the oats thing. Porridge is easy to eat with one hand though!

fruitpastille Mon 06-Jun-16 00:01:23

Oh, those first couple of weeks are so hard. It sounds like you are doing the very best you can for your baby. Don't take the midwife comments to heart if possible, especially if they're contradicting each other. As tiktok said, see if you can contact your hospital feeding coordinator for better advice. I agree with pp, keep doing the mixed feeding. Personally I would try to put baby to boob more often rather than pumping. Tickle feet, strip off, blow on face to wake. If you are pumping it can help to look at your baby or think about them. Also relax (I have been known to have a small glass of wine while pumping!).

It will get better x

Glovebug Mon 06-Jun-16 00:17:56

I really feel for you. DD2 was losing weight after she was born and sleepy all the time. None of the midwives knew why. I was breastfeeding and they kept saying it looked like she was feeding ok. Eventually saw a breastfeeding specialist and she could see straight away that DD wasn't latching properly due to positioning. It turned out she was getting very little milk so had no energy and hence sleeping all the time. I felt awful and like I had failed as a mother. Breastfeeding specialist got me to change breastfeeding position to biological nurturing which helped a lot and we topped up with formula to get her weight back up. It is hard but you will get there eventually. Keep persevering with the top up feeds even if she only takes a little at a time. Is there a breastfeeding consultant in your area you can ask to see? I found that my midwives only had limited knowledge on breastfeeding and missed things such as the latch not being right. Do you have your baby with you when you express? I found it made a massive difference to me if I was looking at her - got far less milk if she was out of sight. I really hope things get better for you soon flowers

ASheepLessOrdinary Mon 06-Jun-16 07:52:31

Owly I have EDS 3 too but my obstetrician was very insistent that a C-section was necessary as she claimed there was a risk of uterine rupture with all types of EDS. The hospital refused to discuss options for vaginal delivery, so in the end I went along with the c-section, but kind of wish I hadn't now. We're aware baby may have EDS so this is something we'll look out for when she is a bit older so we can manage it early on.

Thank you everyone for all the advice and information. We have checked for tongue tie and apparently it is not an issue, I've also had what feels like 10000 different HCPs look at her latch and positioning and apparently it's fine! That's why they concluded it must be me not producing enough milk, I guess.

Baby is normally being bottle-fed the top up by DP while I hand-express, so she is usually in sight. I haven't tried the pumps again yet as it just seems like a waste of time when I don't get any milk at all with them.

Baby is feeding now and then I'll try to get some more sleep before a hot shower and porridge for breakfast. I really hope she has gained weight today, as we had a horrible experience on the postnatal ward so dreading having to stay in the hospital again,

eurochick Mon 06-Jun-16 08:11:47

Please try to eat and drink. I know tiktok has said it won't make a difference but it made a huge difference for me. I was exclusively expressing and so could see exactly what I was producing. If I wasn't eating enough my supply dwindled very very quickly.

FloweryTwat Mon 06-Jun-16 09:25:19

Ah so baby is awake lots at night but sleepy in the day? So maybe more of a body clock issue than a feeding one? Although all 3 of mine were nocturnal when that tiny.

One of my friends swore by expressing with a pump on one boob while baby was feeding on the other, not something I managed but you may be more dexterous that me!

I really believe food and drink make a big difference (sorry TikTok) for you and baby. You are doing an amazing job, and you have a very supportive partner by the sounds of it, plenty of babies have this problem initially. They are learning how to feed too!

Are you topping her up every feed with formula? Or feeding separately with formula - if you see what I mean?

tiktok Mon 06-Jun-16 10:05:25

Flowery, it really does not matter what you 'really believe', I'm afraid smile ...the biology, the physiology, and the research into the whole maternal diet & fluids and breastmilk supply connection has never shown it makes any difference at all.

This is important, because where there is a supply issue, we need to focus on helping mothers reach solutions that will work; things that don't work are a diversion.

There is enough mythology and misunderstanding about breastfeeding and how it works, and we don't need to add to it sad

Individual mothers may feel eating and drinking well made a difference to them. It is far more likely that this was co-incidental with other factors which did work.

FloweryTwat Mon 06-Jun-16 10:44:02

I think we both agree that a healthy diet where mum is getting enough food will be of benefit to her and the baby for various reasons smile

ASheepLessOrdinary Mon 06-Jun-16 13:06:35

Good news this morning as baby has gained 70 grams since yesterday, so doesn't need to be admitted to hospital and we will continue with the feeding plan for another 48 hours.

I realise eating is important as loss of appetite when I'm stressed is something I have struggled with for years, unfortunately that doesn't magically make me able to eat more. Pressure from family doesn't help either as DP's mother has bought lots of food that she thinks I like, which puts more pressure on me to get through it before the use by date (I hate wasting food). I'll mention lack of appetite to the HV who is coming over this afternoon.

tiktok Mon 06-Jun-16 13:46:26

That's a fine weight gain, sheep smile

Your feeding plan is very cumbersome and demanding, and your best way of maintaining your BF is by feeding lots smile Hopefully your carers will confirm you can ease off both the formula and expressing soon.

Owlytellsmesecrets Tue 07-Jun-16 19:25:01

Asheep.... Yes all 3 of mind has EDS to varying degrees.
What a lovely weight gain!!!
I even had an ECV .... They were really not bothered !!

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