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How normal is it for a breastfed baby’s weight to plateau in the first week or two?

(18 Posts)
Choirofangles Wed 25-Oct-17 14:08:44

DC2 is 11 days old and his weight is exactly the same as when he was last weighed, at day 5. He only had a 5.9% loss from birth weight at day 3, and this had improved to 4.9% by day 5, but that’s where we’ve stuck.

When I had DC1 her weight had dropped by almost 10% at day 3 so we had extra weigh ins but after the first loss she gained slowly but steadily from there so I haven’t experienced this before.

I’m a bit floored by the whole thing because feeding seemed to be going really well this time. He feeds contentedly, produces endless dirty and wet nappies, is having alert periods in between feeding and sleeping, and the midwife said latch etc looked good. He seems to go longer between feeds than DC1 ever did, but rarely more than three hours. I’m going to make sure I offer a feed as often as possible from now on, but is there anything else I can do? Should I be worried?

The midwife could see I was tearful (after feeling like I was doing really well this time) so she took pains to tell me it’s not a loss, his initial weight loss was only small, and she can’t see any issues with the feeding. I just can’t tell how normal it is not to gain anything in almost a week.

Thanks for wading through that to the end.

monkeysee100 Wed 25-Oct-17 14:13:20

I don't know the answer but wanted to offer support. My DD2 is 13 days old and EBF is hard! Don't dwell on the numbers. He sounds happy and healthy xx

DandySeaLioness Wed 25-Oct-17 14:13:28

my midwife was just happy that mine didn’t lose any weight at the weekly checkup, she said as long as he’s producing lots of wet and dirty nappies all is well.

Choirofangles Wed 25-Oct-17 14:55:58

Thanks for replying with reassuring tales. I don’t know why this has shaken my confidence so much. I just thought things were going really well and all of a sudden I’m all wobbly.

DandySeaLioness Wed 25-Oct-17 15:05:27

don’t worry OP, bfeeding is so hard in the early days but it will only get easier. I think it’s easy to start second guessing yourself when you can’t tell how much milk the baby’s had. It sounds like you’re doing great, don’t be too hard on yourself smilebrewcake the midwife would most definitely tell you if there was grounds for concern.

Choirofangles Wed 25-Oct-17 16:19:23

I can’t believe how much it’s shaken me! I’m confident I have plenty of milk and after a slow start I BF DC1 for a year with no other issues but I just assumed he would have gained today, because it’s all been looking so good sad

Chickchickadee555 Wed 25-Oct-17 17:50:32

Definitely offer more often. Make sure he feeds at least every 2 hours - you mentioned he rarely goes longer than 3, but for most babies even 3 hours is a long stretch at this stage smile Almost certainly too long if he’s not gained anything in the last week.
Does he have a dummy? Was he weighed without a nappy and on digital scales?

Choirofangles Wed 25-Oct-17 18:14:05

No, no dummy and yes he was weighed naked on a hard surface on digital scales. I’m now trying to get him to take something at least every two hours.

I knew he was on the longer end of acceptable for a newborn, with feeding every three hours or so, but he seemed so happy with it that I was enjoying going with the flow and not obsessively tracking feeds like first time round. Argh. Now I’m in a total spin about it all. I didn’t get day 3 weepiness this time round but it feels like it’s all hit me today.

tiktok Wed 25-Oct-17 21:54:55

Choir, it's great you are tackling this by feeding more often. It's not within the usual not to gain in six days at this stage but in an otherwise healthy term baby it's not a cause for panic. It does mean the baby needs more breastmilk - lots of opportunities to feed, both sides at least whenever possible, day and night. And weighing to check when the baby starts gaining as expected.

You'd be looking for the reassurance of several poos a day, too.

Choirofangles Thu 26-Oct-17 00:07:31

Thanks. I’m seeing at least six poos a day and nappies are heavy with wee as well, which is one of the reasons I was so surprised at his lack of weight gain. I’ve been responding to feeding cues whenever I’ve seen them so I don’t really know what’s gone wrong. Have I really just not been feeding him enough? I feel awful.

Bimblepops Thu 26-Oct-17 00:33:55

Just to offer some perspective from a few years on, DS1 dropped weight for the first fortnight, despite lots of feeding. Despite that, he was feeding well and regularly and producing lots of wet and dirty nappies and was a very happy newborn.

The HV at the weigh-in Clinic was starting to make noises about my needing to introduce a bottle, which I strongly resisted, because he seemed so well. I was told “some children are just naturally small, but others just can’t get everything they need from breast milk. Perhaps you should consider adding a bottle.”

I ignored them and persevered and within two weeks he had a growth spurt and went from 9th centile to 25th and less than 2 month later he was on the 95th centile.

8 years on, he’s wearing size 11yr old clothes and is strong and healthy.

I guess what I’m trying to say is to trust your instincts...your DC sounds healthy in terms of weight and wet/poo nappies from what you have described. Trust yourself and just take each day as it comes. Remember that breastfed babies don’t gain as quickly or as much as formula babies, but the gain does come!

Good luck and enjoy it.

Choirofangles Thu 26-Oct-17 00:45:03

Thank you Bimblepops, that’s just the kind of story I’m desperate to hear. I was knocked for six today because the scales contradicted everything my instincts were telling me.

He’s fed loads this evening so I hope that’s a step in the right direction.

tiktok Thu 26-Oct-17 12:51:56

Bimble just to say: bf babies don't gain more slowly than ff babies. This is only true after the first five or six months.

OP, info you have given is encouraging 😀

Dollydaydream2829 Thu 26-Oct-17 22:02:39

Hi choir

I was in exactly your position last week. The only difference was that i have a premie - my DD was Born 5 weeks early. After a very difficult first two weeks, that included a trip to special care baby unit for jaundice treatment and excessive weight loss (12%) due to poor feeding, I finally felt I made a breakthrough with breastfeeding. She was latching on well and feeding every 2-3hrs. Yet when she was weighed (more regularly than normal due to her prematurity and weight loss) she was only maintaining. No loss but no gain. For a whole week. I got myself so stressed out and felt like I was failing her by not providing her with enough nutrients etc etc. It was suggested that i top up every feed with expressed breast milk, which I was initially anxious about due to the confusion a bottle may lead to. However I was desperate and willing to try anything. Thankfully she still latched on perfectly and took a bottle... this week she gained 2oz in two days and then I dropped the top ups unless she had an exceptionally poor feed from me, and now she's gained a further 2oz in two days. For someone in her birth weight, an expected 2-3oz gain per week is the norm so I'm very happy that she's gained 4oz in four days. I'm hoping she continues as I am now solely breastfeeding.

I hope you can take some comfort in this, and I wish I'd not worried so much at the time although it's impossible not to. I reckon your DC will have a little growth spurt soon too! Keep the faith, you're doing brilliantly!

Choirofangles Fri 27-Oct-17 18:13:02

Thanks so much for sharing your story Dolly, and I’m glad things are going well with your daughter now.

DS has fed lots today and done a huge wee all over the change mat, as well as his usual nappies. I’m not getting him weighed again until Tuesday but I’m hoping that these are all good signs and trying not to worry as much.

Choirofangles Tue 31-Oct-17 11:22:00

Quick update - he was weighed this morning and he’s put plenty of weight on over the last six days. Phew! No idea what was going on before but it all looks good for now and he’s well over his birth weight. Thanks for all the support and advice.

tiktok Tue 31-Oct-17 12:46:16

That's good news smile

Bimblepops Sat 04-Nov-17 22:15:14

That’s great to hear, Choir, thanks for the update.

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